The truth about Castro’s “health care”–help spread the word

From Babalu Blog, I grabbed the video below. It includes footage of the sorry state of Castro’s “health care” for the average Cuban resident, courtesy of The Real Cuba. There’s more video at Cuban Truth, too.

If you don’t share anything else on this blog with other people, please share this video. Let the world know the truth about Castro. Thanks.

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The Cuban “health care” system exposed on Fox News tonight

I got this item from Babalu Blog.

Tonight on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes (9PM Eastern time), the Cuban so-called “health care” system will be exposed. Fox will air footage taken in Cuba without Fidel Castro’s permission, which means you’ll get to see the unvarnished truth for once, rather than the propaganda Castro spoon feeds our MSM.

As I understand it, the footage comes courtesy of the guys at The Real Cuba.

BTW, this is footage that was offered to ABC for their recent special exposing the lies in Michael Moore’s Sicko, but ABC declined to air. Oddly enough, Babalu Blog notes ABC’s Havana bureau was “questioned” by Castroite officials before the show aired. Coincidence? Ha, and I’m Santa Claus.

Meanwhile, in more news on Castro’s medical system, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting today that, as their headline puts it, “Hundreds of Cuban medical workers defecting to U.S. while overseas.” Here’s a little snippet:

The Cuban government’s plan was for Beny Alfonso Rodriguez to help lead a group of 72 Cuban doctors on a medical mission in the town of Macarapana, Venezuela.

But Rodriguez, a former soldier, lasted four months. He joined the mission with one thing in mind: to flee Cuba.

“I was born into the revolution, but I didn’t choose it,” says Rodriguez, who arrived in Miami in April.

Ah, the money quote: “I was born into the revolution, but I didn’t choose it.” There you have it, folks. So much for the socialist parasite paradise.

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“Moore” MSM lovefest with Castro’s “healthcare”

Another MSM outlet, this one from Europe, chimes in on how “wonderful” Cuba’s healthcare system is under Castro. They even manage a two-fer, including a plug for Michael Moore-on’s sick flick, Sicko:

Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko, holds up Cuba as a model. Whether it is a consultation, dentures or open-heart surgery, citizens are entitled to free treatment. As a result this impoverished Caribbean island has better health indicators than its much wealthier neighbour 144km across the Florida straits.

“There’s a reason Cubans live on average longer than we do,” Moore told Time magazine. “I’m not trumpeting [Fidel] Castro or his regime. I just want to say to fellow Americans, ‘C’mon, we’re the United States. If they can do this, we can do it.’”

Other outsiders such as Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, a United Kingdom parliamentary select committee, and an array of NGOs have also lauded Cuban healthcare. Even some senior US officials, between bouts of Castro-bashing, have ceded some plaudits.

Naturally, buried in the article, you’ll find this admission (emphasis mine):

The communist government is not transparent, some statistics are questionable and citizens have reason to muffle complaints lest they be jailed as political dissidents.

Yes, but for THAT minor detail, Cuba is a paradise, right? So, how do the Castro brothers manage to accomplish medical miracles amid a blockade from the U.S.?

There is no mystery about Cuba’s core strategy: prevention.

Ahhhhhh, prevention, indeed. You know, like preventing birth defects and childhood illnesses by pressuring expecting mothers whose unborn children show the potential for such, into having abortions.

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Is Castro (finally) dead?

Lots of rumors floating around that Fidel Castro is finally dead.

As long as I can remember, there have been rumors of Castro’s death, which have always turned out to be false, sadly. So there’s an element of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” here. But given the old fart’s age and health, the likelihood of his death seems greater this time around. Heck, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Stay tuned to Castro Death Watch for updates…

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Letter from a friend to Today’s Matt Lauer

Babalu Blog and a few others have been watching closely as Matt Lauer (of NBC’s Today Show) reports from Cuba this week. As can be expected of the MSM’s coverage of Cuba, Today’s reportage has left viewers with an inaccurate impression of the island and the 48 years of Castroite destruction of the Pearl of the Antilles.

A friend of mine wrote Matt Lauer a letter about his broadcasting the Today Show live from Cuba. She gave me permission to post the letter on my blog, as long as I maintain her anonymity, which I will. The full letter follows.

This is the email I sent Matt Lauer, NBC the network and NBC 6 the local affiliate this morning:

Matt,
I have been waking up to the Today Show since Barbara Walters anchored; I was in my teens, I am now a middle aged woman. I have followed your career and have admired much of your work. I don’t know if this email will get to you or not, but as do all who see you five mornings a week, I feel I know you and so will speak to you as if we really did know one another: The journalistic quality of this morning’s report left much to be desired. I feel sad and disappointed. I feel you sold out.

I understand NBC’s goals of setting up a bureau in Cuba dictated the premise for your report. I understand that you work for a conglomerate who decrees rules you must follow. But you are a journalist! You could have done so much better! You did nothing more than recite what was give to you by the government. You did what most other major news media do: you pandered to the tyrant’s regime. I don’t believe you bought it. I caught a couple pf phrases here and there, “Cubans are not allowed on the beaches”; “Cubans earn the equivalent of $.50 per day”; your question: “Wouldn’t the embargo be a leveraging tool for change?” I trust you would have asked more serious questions had you been allowed, but you weren’t, right?

You know you didn’t showcase one regular Cuban. You interviewed only those selected by the nomenclature. Did you research the pro-democracy movement? Did you request permission to interview the Ladies in White? (An internal opposition movement that unites the spouses, mothers and sisters of dissidents jailed by the government of Fidel Castro. These women protest the unlawful imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white clothing symbolizing peace, and then silently walking through the streets. They received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005).

Did you make an effort to report on the sub-human conditions of Cuba’s political prisons? Were you denied?

Again, I heard little messages in your report: While standing outside the Cathedral you mentioned the word, “tourism apartheid”. I believe you weren’t fooled. I believe you slipped it in and hopefully someone in the millions of viewers caught it. Indeed, tourism apartheid is systematically practiced by the Communist regime against the people of Cuba . But why didn’t you emphasize this? Cubans are not allowed into the beaches, into the stores, into the hotels, on the plaza from which you were reporting. The grocery stores, shoe stores, clothing stores, all shops that sell the basic necessities of life do not accept the Cuban peso! The currency in which workers are paid is not accepted to purchase goods! This condition is unique to Cuba. You would have been the first US journalist from a major media source to report this! Instead of producing what could have been a journalistic coup, NBC and the Today Show chose to focus on the music, the “guayaberas”, the provocative dancing and the voluptuous shape of Cuban women.

Did you ask to visit a hospital? A real hospital for Cubans, not one for tourists? Had you done so you would have learned that while hospitals catering to tourists enjoy every comfort available in the modern world, women in delivery rooms must bring in buckets of water from home to wash themselves and their newborns! You would have learned that Cubans depend on their relatives in the US and around the world for everything from drugs to medical equipment to the light bulb for the operating room before a surgical procedure can be carried out!

If while standing in the Cathedral Plaza you could have asked how many would like to leave this Stalinist “paradise” and come with you to America, if you had offered them safe passage to anywhere in the globe, most if not all would have joined you without so much as a look back. Don’t you wonder why so many risk their lives to escape?

Matt, if after being fed the propaganda of the regime and offering the American public the innocuous pulp you presented, your journalistic soul still harbors questions about the real Cuban people, you can still do something about it:

  • You can contact Yarai Reyes, wife of an independent journalist Normando Hern�ndez. A 2007 recipient of the Pen Club International Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award which honors prominent figures who have been persecuted or imprisoned for exercising or defending the right to freedom of expression, Mr. Hernandez is languishing in a Cuban prison. (From the US you may reach her by calling: 011-5332-37564).
  • Mr. Hernandez was arrested in March 2003 along with 74 other journalists and activists considered to be dissidents by the Cuban government. He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment under Article 91 of the Cuban Criminal Code.
  • You can contact Elsa Morejon, the wife of human rights’ activist, pro-democracy leader and President of the Lawton Foundation, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, sentenced to 25 years in prison. His crime: flying the Cuban flag upside down (an internationally recognized symbol of distress) as a way of protesting the abuses against human rights in Cuba.

    A physician and a very spiritual man who follows the philosophies of Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Biscet is regularly beaten and subjected to brutal interrogations. As a black man, a non-violent activist struggling to bring democracy to Cuba , Dr. Biscet embodies the dreams of the 11 million Cubans on the island. Amnesty International has declared him a “prisoner of conscience”.

Your response to Ann on the fact that Elian Gonzalez’ family has not seen him since his abduction: “this divide between Cuba and the US”, sadly demonstrates that you don’t get it: The issue is between Fidel Castro and his murderous cronies and the Cuban people.

To save you or whomever reads this from speculation: I was born in Cuba , and have lived in the US for 48 years. I know of no one whose interest in the freedom of Cuba is based on “taking back properties”. What drives me as any other freedom-loving individual is the wish to see an end to this bloody and despotic regime whose only legacy after almost half a century is lack of basic human freedoms, thousands of political prisoners, forced exile for hundreds of thousands of its people, systematic government corruption and a “surveillance society”.

Sadly Matt, you are just as misinformed as everyone else in the US . As I write this I am overwhelmed not only by a feeling of indignation but more by the sadness of realizing that no one understands the tragedy of Cuba. Cubans living in Cuba have no voice. The world turns a deaf ear to the Cuban diaspora. Your report today only pandered to the basest desires of capitalism. You ignored the Cuban people’s tragedy and repeated scripted nonsense. I am angry and heartbroken. You report could have been a light in the darkness.

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Useful idiots, eh?

Just when we thought the issue of how Castro manipulates his life expectancy numbers to make Cuba look better than it really is, had been settled

Along comes some Canuck news outfit parroting the Castro talking points:

Fidel Castro may be ailing, but he’s a living example of something Cubans take pride in – an average life expectancy roughly similar to that of people in the United States. They ascribe it to free medical care, a mild climate, and a low-stress Caribbean lifestyle, which they believe make up for the hardships and shortages they suffer.

“Sometimes you have all you want to eat and sometimes you don’t,” said Raquel Naring, a 70-year-old retired gas station attendant. “But there aren’t elderly people sleeping on the street like other places.”

Sounds like food is optional in Castro’s fantasy land, eh?

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He could feed half the island by himself

Michael Moore is back in the Cuba news spotlight this week. This time, the feds are after him for breaking the Cuban embargo law:

The U.S. government has launched a probe into whether maverick director Michael Moore, whose 2004 documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” skewered the Bush administration, broke laws when he went to Cuba for a new movie about U.S. health care.

U.S. citizens face “civil and/or criminal penalties” for unauthorized travel to the communist country, the U.S. Treasury Department warned in a letter to the Oscar-winning director that was posted on Moore’s Web site on Thursday.

Now, why would Michael Moore-on go to an island filled with people starving to death, you ask? Oh, it’s because the useful idiot wanted to take some of the people who got sick helping out at the World Trade Center during and after September 11, to Cuba for the “wonderful” health care they have there. In other words, he wanted to use these folks as pawns in a political game to embarrass his country for his new movie, appropriately named “Sicko.”

What a Moore-on.

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A close look at recent stories about Cuba’s life expectancy

La Nueva Cuba has an excellent piece on the recent fawning news articles about Cuba’s impressive-sounding life expectancy, or, as they put it, “Cuba’s Long Lie Expectancy.”

It seems the MSM was quick to jump on any news that makes Castro’s dictatorship look good, especially if it makes the U.S. look bad by comparison. But if they had had a shred of honesty and they’d have taken a closer look, it wouldn’t have made Castro look so good.

And they can’t have that, now, can they?

Media: Communist regimes are known to falsify and distort statistics, but they rarely get away with it unless Western media play along. They scored a big hit recently with data about Cuba’s storied life expectancy.

In a widely distributed news story, the Associated Press last week explained why Cubans were living such long, healthy lives under their 47-year totalitarian dictatorship. Taking the word of Cuban officials, it credited the island’s “mild climate,” “free medical care” and “low-stress Caribbean lifestyle.” Right on cue, CBS gave “thanks to the socialist island state’s free health-care system” that’s there so “fortunately.”

But media claims that socialism lets Cubans live longer makes no sense. Cuba’s living conditions portend anything but a long life. The media reports, moreover, often misinterpret the data. “The average Joe reading these stories doesn’t have all the background, and can be fooled by propaganda,” says Cuban author Humberto Fontova.

The MSM misinterpreting data?!?!?! I’m shocked, shocked!

In an interview with IBD, he (University of Pittsburgh professor Carmelo Mesa-Lagos, a Cuban demographics expert) explained that Cubans often do live long lives, but not because of balmy weather, good health care or any other reasons cited by Cuba’s propagandists.

From sanitation to housing, “Cubans have experienced deterioration in all health indicators,” Mesa-Lagos said. As a result, Cubans have seen an uptick in diseases such as hepatitis and acute diarrhea. The increase of water-borne diseases does not correlate with long life spans anywhere else in the world, he said.

Food and critical vitamin shortages, meanwhile, were also major problems in Cuba, notes Andy S. Gomez, assistant provost of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. “A deficit of Vitamin C and a lack of appropriate diet has caused Cubans to suffer eye diseases,” he said.

Mesa-Lagos agreed, saying that a few years ago, elderly Cubans experienced an epidemic of sudden blindness due to vitamin shortages. Worse yet, a third of Cuban doctors had been shipped to Venezuela, leaving many with no access to any health care at all, he added.

But, but, but, what about Cuba’s outstanding infant mortality rate?

“…How do you achieve this?” Mesa-Lagos asks. Countries differ, for example, in how they count births. If a newborn doesn’t live more than 24 hours, it often doesn’t show up in infant mortality statistics. The figure is depressed even further by abortion, he said, noting that Cubans are often pressured into abortions if there is a chance a baby might require extra medical care.

At seven in 10 pregnancies, Cuba’s abortion rate is Latin America’s highest, said Fontova. Cuba also has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, which also doesn’t show up in expectancy data.

Gee, I wonder why Cuba has such a high suicide rate? Maybe the lack of hope?

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He’s a sicko alright

“Documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore-on is showing the free world that he’s such a sicko, no cheap publicity stunt is beneath him.

His latest: he’s offering to take 9/11 responders from New York to Cuba for “healthcare.” But at least some of the responders refuse to be used as pawns for the self-promoting Moore-on:

“He’s using people that are in a bad situation and that’s wrong, that’s morally wrong,” railed Jeff Endean, a former SWAT commander from Morris County, N.J., who spent a month at Ground Zero and suffers from respiratory problems.

A spokeswoman for the Weinstein Co., the film’s distributor, would not say when the director’s latest expose would hit cinemas or provide details about the film or the trip.

Responders were told Cuban doctors had developed new techniques for treating lung cancer and other respiratory illness, and that health care in the communist country was free, according to those offered the two-week February trip.

Cuba has made recent advancements in biotechnology and exports its cancer treatments to 40 countries around the world, raking in an estimated $100 million a year, according to The Associated Press.

In 2004 the U.S. government granted an exception to its economic embargo against Cuba and allowed a California drug company to test three cancer vaccines developed in Havana, according to the AP.

Regardless, some ill 9/11 workers balked at Moore’s idea.

“I would rather die in America than go to Cuba,” said Joe Picurro, a Toms River, N.J., ironworker approached by the filmmaker via an e-mail that read, “Joe and Mike in Cuba.”

After helping remove debris from Ground Zero, Picurro has a laundry list of respiratory and other ailments so bad that he relies on fund-raisers to help pay his expenses.

He said, “I just laughed. I couldn’t do it.”

Oh, there’s Moore:

Another ill worker who said he was willing to take the trip ended up being stiffed by Moore.

Michael McCormack, 48, a disabled medic who found an American flag at Ground Zero that once flew atop the Twin Towers, was all set to go to.

The film crew contacted him by phone and took him by limo from his Ridge, L.I., home to Manhattan for an on-camera interview.

“What he [Moore] wanted to do is shove it up George W’s rear end that 9/11 heroes had to go to a communist country to get adequate health care,” said McCormack, who suffers from chronic respiratory illness.

But McCormack said he was abandoned by Moore. At a March fund-raiser for another 9/11 responder in New Jersey, McCormack learned Moore had gone to Cuba without him.

“It’s the ultimate betrayal,” he said. “You’re promised that you’re going to be taken care of and then you find out you’re not. He’s trying to profiteer off of our suffering.”

Calling Michael Moore-on a “useful idiot” is an insult to true useful idiots, like Walter Duranty.

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