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STUPID: Look to Cuba for Solutions

August 28, 2009

By Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Editor

If you’re interested in gaining a sense of what’s shaking in Cuba without actually going there you might think South Florida is the place to go to learn about happenings in Havana from people whose family members live in Castro’s fiefdom. However, there’s a better place to go, a place nearer to the island, and a place whose residents may freely travel back and forth to Cuba unencumbered by the travel restrictions imposed on even Cuban Americans.

During a trip to the Cayman Islands in 2007 my wife (a pediatrician) and I had an enlightening conversation with a Caymanian who regularly visits his relatives living in Cuba. Among the things I took away from our chat: Cuba’s health care system is anything but the colossal success it was lauded by in Michael Moore’s latest film.

In hindsight that conversation brings to mind a presentation made by South Carolina’s trade delegate to China during a South Carolina World Trade Center luncheon I attended earlier in 2007.

According to the speaker, a young man who was quite proud of having graced the cover of The Economist, China is “an ownership society” in which capitalism is thriving.

Pressed about his assertion, he noted home ownership figures were growing in China at a rate that was far surpassing new home sales in most countries. Pressed a bit harder, he unwittingly outlined the devil in the detail of his example: One may only “own” a lease to one’s home for 70 years – Chinese citizens don’t actually individually own property they may occupy as a residence, their government owns it.

It was apparent that during the years he’d spent living in China as a student, the speaker had been snowed by government-sponsored propaganda-oriented tours in which he learned about the dynamics of China’s “ownership society.” He may have know a lot about economics, but he clearly knew far too little about politics.

Much as it appears Michael Moore drank the Castro regime’s Kool Aid while filming portions of Sicko in Cuba, Congresswoman Diane Watson (D, L.A.) also suffers from a misguided notion that Cuba’s healthcare system is better than America’s. (One may access her remarks on the matter via and

Thanks in part to Michael Moore, so too do many American onlookers who perceive policies that provide Cubans tremendous access to healthcare services are a top priority for the Castros.

It’s not unusual to hear people inclined to make the same distorted assertion like the one recently issued by Rep. Watson point to the number of doctors Cuba produces each year as an indicator of how important healthcare programs are to the Castros.

One big problem there …

According to an intelligence officer who has worked throughout Latin America and the Caribbean during the past two decades, most of the so-called medical doctors Cuba is producing and sending off to “administer care” in places like Venezuela are actually intelligence officers. In most instances, the “doctors” who receive medical training in Cuba would have a hard time qualifying to work as nurse practitioners in the United States.

Sure, there may be ample access to healthcare services for Cubans. But the quality of those services is rarely in any ways similar to the exceedingly higher quality care provided to patients by American MDs.

Perhaps Rep. Watson and her pals should put a few facts in the hookah she’s obviously spending too much time sitting around.

Something else the chap in the Caymans pointed out: Naturally Cubans enjoy longer life expectations. Most of them aren’t expected to do much more than sit around all day (i.e. the stress of life is far lower than in a capitalist society). Most Cubans don’t own cars (i.e. fewer collisions responsible for premature deaths), thus they frequently have to engage more exercise than Americans if they want to go anywhere. Finally, the Castros now discourage unhealthy proclivities for smoking and drinking because they prove too costly for Cuba’s healthcare system – just imagine what the Democrats will tell you that you can and cannot do if healthcare is socialized in America like it is in Cuba!


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