Thursday, March 17, 2005

No Wonder It's Free

Liberals, the MSN and even small-town papers defend communist Cuba and Castro by reciting "but the people have free healthcare!" As does the Cuban government, buttressed by mortality statistics from the UN's annual rankings. I've always answered with this hypothetical: "You've just been diagnosed with cancer, and must choose medical treatment in one of two places: 1) the best hospital in Cuba; or 2) the Mayo Clinic. Do you buy an airline ticket to Havana or Rochester, Minnesota?"

A more scientific response is available, thanks to Val Prieto at Babalublog, who notes "none of these Free healthcare! cheerleaders have ever been to a Cuban hospital. They've never been to a Cuban clinic. Hospitals and clinics serving the average Cuban." Prieto translates a March 6th article in Gentunio, which includes photos inside the Clínico Quirúrgico in Havana. According to Captain Ed, Castro himself bragged about the facility:
Now, the old hospital has turned into one of the most modern and best ones in the capital. I should explain that this hospital provided services to a large number of people who live at the other side of the Almendares River. . . Not only did the number of beds increase, with blocks and civil construction spreading throughout almost 30,000 square meters of construction, but the power unit is totally new-boilers, electric power generators, etc.
The actual quality and reality on the ground is horrific: cockroaches on swarming the floor of the emergency room, unfinished ceilings, dirt floors, and a "shocking" electrical system. Look at the pictures (more here), and Prieto's conclusion:
This is a hospital strictly for the Cuban people. Foreigners are treated quite differently and their facilities are state of the art and, at least, sanitary. But thats the dichotomy of Cuba. fidel castro's revoution was for the people, the very same people that are now substandard in the eyes of their government.

My family is from a very small town in Oriente province. We were not rich. We were not middle class. Ours was a blue collar family in Cuba and whenever someone needed medical attention, they got it. Babies were born, broken arms were set, appendixes were removed, surgeries were performed. In other words, they had access to pretty darn good medical attention before castro fixed the healthcare system.

Yeah, fidel castro and his revolution built clinics and hospitals and all of his people have access to "medical care." Yet these photos are an example of it. The revolution's healthcare may be free, but it surely isn't proper.
Visiting NGOs, Western doctors and tourists are funneled to Potemkin Village facilities. Meanwhile, ordinary Cubans appear neither nourished nor healthy. And Fidel's mortality numbers, repeated by UNESCO, are an officially-sanctioned work of fiction. I agree with Whither the Fool: "what is hampering Cuba is Communism. The Left doesn’t get that, and never will."

Clinton forced Elian Gonzalez back to the Marxist healthcare hellhole that repeatedly misdiagnosed his mother, resulting in two miscarriages. If the Clínico Quirúrgico is Cuba's best, anyone free to choose will book a flight to Minnesota. Cubans would too, though they can't go non-stop. Their trip begins on a rubber raft.

(via The Captain's Quarters)

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