Media in mourning over Fidel Castro’s death

The American media have been an indispensible ally to Fidel Castro throughout his dictatorship.  That love affair continues into his death, as famous talking heads rushed on air to pay tribute to his supposed triumph over poverty, illiteracy, ill health, and capitalist oppression.

Do these people not know the reality of life in Cuba?  Are they witting or unwitting propagandists for a monstrously evil tyranny?  This compilation from Grabien is a hall of shame:

Forget about the murders of opponents by the thousands.  Forget about imprisoning people with AIDS, and about the persecution of homosexuals.  (Can anyone point out where the enormously powerful gay lobby has spoken out against Castro in the wake of his death?)  Forget about the millions who fled for their lives, derided as “worms” (los gusanos), and especially forget about those who were drowned, attacked by sharks, or perished by thirst during the hazardous journey to these shores.

No, celebrate Castro’s supposed victories over illiteracy and his “universal” health care.  And whatever you do, don’t compare the general welfare of Cubans before and after the revolution.  Ignore this from PBS (!) (hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford, NRO):

On the eve of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, Cuba was neither the paradise that would later be conjured by the nostalgic imaginations of Cuba’s many exiles, nor the hellhole painted by many supporters of the revolution, who recall Cuba as “the brothel of the Western hemisphere” — an island inhabited by a people degraded and hungry, whose main occupation was to cater to American tourists at Havana’s luxurious hotels, beaches and casinos. Rather, Cuba was one of the most advanced and successful countries in Latin America.

Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility….

And this from Jay Nordlinger on Cuba’s glorious health care:

To be sure, there is excellent health care on Cuba — just not for ordinary Cubans. Dr. Jaime Suchlicki of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies explains that there is not just one system, or even two: There are three. The first is for foreigners who come to Cuba specifically for medical care. This is known as “medical tourism.” The tourists pay in hard currency, which provides oxygen to the regime. And the facilities in which they are treated are First World: clean, well supplied, state-of-the-art.

The foreigners-only facilities do a big business in what you might call vanity treatments: Botox, liposuction, and breast implants. Remember, too, that there are many separate, or segregated, facilities on Cuba. People speak of “tourism apartheid.” For example, there are separate hotels, separate beaches, separate restaurants — separate everything. As you can well imagine, this causes widespread resentment in the general population.

The second health-care system is for Cuban elites — the Party, the military, official artists and writers, and so on. In the Soviet Union, these people were called the “nomenklatura.” And their system, like the one for medical tourists, is top-notch.

Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.

A nurse spoke to Isabel Vincent of Canada’s National Post. “We have nothing,” said the nurse. “I haven’t seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.” The equipment that doctors have to work with is either antiquated or nonexistent. Doctors have been known to reuse latex gloves — there is no choice. When they travel to the island, on errands of mercy, American doctors make sure to take as much equipment and as many supplies as they can carry. One told the Associated Press, “The [Cuban] doctors are pretty well trained, but they have nothing to work with. It’s like operating with knives and spoons.”

Cuba was on its way to developed nation status and, as the demise of many authoritarian regimes elsewhere in Latin America shows, likely would have progressed toward democratic rights and prosperity.  In fact, the rise of Miami as the American gateway to Latin America was accomplished largely thanks to the influx of Cubans.  If those smart, talented, hardworking people had stayed in Cuba, they would have made Havana into the crucial link between the the American economy and Latin America.

That is what Castro cost Cubans.

The American media have been an indispensible ally to Fidel Castro throughout his dictatorship.  That love affair continues into his death, as famous talking heads rushed on air to pay tribute to his supposed triumph over poverty, illiteracy, ill health, and capitalist oppression.

Do these people not know the reality of life in Cuba?  Are they witting or unwitting propagandists for a monstrously evil tyranny?  This compilation from Grabien is a hall of shame:

Forget about the murders of opponents by the thousands.  Forget about imprisoning people with AIDS, and about the persecution of homosexuals.  (Can anyone point out where the enormously powerful gay lobby has spoken out against Castro in the wake of his death?)  Forget about the millions who fled for their lives, derided as “worms” (los gusanos), and especially forget about those who were drowned, attacked by sharks, or perished by thirst during the hazardous journey to these shores.

No, celebrate Castro’s supposed victories over illiteracy and his “universal” health care.  And whatever you do, don’t compare the general welfare of Cubans before and after the revolution.  Ignore this from PBS (!) (hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford, NRO):

On the eve of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, Cuba was neither the paradise that would later be conjured by the nostalgic imaginations of Cuba’s many exiles, nor the hellhole painted by many supporters of the revolution, who recall Cuba as “the brothel of the Western hemisphere” — an island inhabited by a people degraded and hungry, whose main occupation was to cater to American tourists at Havana’s luxurious hotels, beaches and casinos. Rather, Cuba was one of the most advanced and successful countries in Latin America.

Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility….

And this from Jay Nordlinger on Cuba’s glorious health care:

To be sure, there is excellent health care on Cuba — just not for ordinary Cubans. Dr. Jaime Suchlicki of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies explains that there is not just one system, or even two: There are three. The first is for foreigners who come to Cuba specifically for medical care. This is known as “medical tourism.” The tourists pay in hard currency, which provides oxygen to the regime. And the facilities in which they are treated are First World: clean, well supplied, state-of-the-art.

The foreigners-only facilities do a big business in what you might call vanity treatments: Botox, liposuction, and breast implants. Remember, too, that there are many separate, or segregated, facilities on Cuba. People speak of “tourism apartheid.” For example, there are separate hotels, separate beaches, separate restaurants — separate everything. As you can well imagine, this causes widespread resentment in the general population.

The second health-care system is for Cuban elites — the Party, the military, official artists and writers, and so on. In the Soviet Union, these people were called the “nomenklatura.” And their system, like the one for medical tourists, is top-notch.

Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.

A nurse spoke to Isabel Vincent of Canada’s National Post. “We have nothing,” said the nurse. “I haven’t seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.” The equipment that doctors have to work with is either antiquated or nonexistent. Doctors have been known to reuse latex gloves — there is no choice. When they travel to the island, on errands of mercy, American doctors make sure to take as much equipment and as many supplies as they can carry. One told the Associated Press, “The [Cuban] doctors are pretty well trained, but they have nothing to work with. It’s like operating with knives and spoons.”

Cuba was on its way to developed nation status and, as the demise of many authoritarian regimes elsewhere in Latin America shows, likely would have progressed toward democratic rights and prosperity.  In fact, the rise of Miami as the American gateway to Latin America was accomplished largely thanks to the influx of Cubans.  If those smart, talented, hardworking people had stayed in Cuba, they would have made Havana into the crucial link between the the American economy and Latin America.

That is what Castro cost Cubans.

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