PBS’s Ray Suarez can’t believe the truth about Cuba’s healthcare

posted at 9:05 am on December 31, 2010 by Fausta Wertz

Ray Suarez is having a snit about Mary O’Grady’s article,

Apparently, Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s critique of Ray Suarez’ PBS piece on Castro’s health care system stung him not only a bit, but a lot. In a rambling and disjointed rebuttal on the PBS News Hour website, Suarez attempted to defend his Castro propaganda-laden report by citing instances where opposing views were presented, but the rebuttal quickly degenerated into a personal attack on O’Grady.

Suarez claims that

Cuba has, for a country of its income, very high life expectancy. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low infant mortality. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low rates of infectious disease.

Yet Suarez forgets to mention that the statistics for any of these are provided by the Cuban government, the same government that has refused access to any independent outside organization to examine the statistics, the criteria for the data, or how the statistics are gathered. Suarez can’t seem to realize that any statistics put out by a totalitarian regime in a closed society are to be questioned.

Additionally, Suarez ignored the medical apartheid system itself.

Suarez says that “Ms. O’Grady has not gotten that memo,” which brings up the cables.

What cables?

Ah, the Wikileaks cable:
Cables spotlight health woes in Cuba
A U.S. diplomatic cable from Havana in 2008 noted the problems in Cuba’s public health system.

The U.S. cable is not an in-depth assessment of Cuba’s health system. Rather, it’s a string of anecdotes gathered by the FSHP from Cubans such as “manicurists, masseuses, hair stylists, chauffeurs, musicians, artists, yoga teachers, tailors, as well as HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, physicians, and foreign medical students.”

At one OB-Gyn hospital, the dispatch reported, the staff “used a primitive manual vacuum to aspirate” the womb of a Cuban woman who had a miscarriage “without any anesthesia or pain medicine. She was offered no . . . follow up appointments.”

A 6-year old boy with bone cancer could only be visited at a hospital by his parents for “limited hours,” the cable added.

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation get “little in the way of symptom or side-effects care . . . that is critically important in being able to continue treatments, let alone provide comfort to an already emotionally distraught victim,” the dispatch noted.

“Cancer patients are not provided with, nor can they find locally, simple medications such as Aspirin, Tylenol, skin lotions, vitamins, etc.,” it added.

HIV-positive Cubans have only one facility, the Instituto Pedro Kouri in Havana, that can provide specialty care and medications, the cable noted. Because of transportation problems and costs, some patients from the provinces may be seen only once per year.

Kouri institute patients can wait months for an appointment, “but can often move ahead in line by offering a gift,” the dispatch added. “We are told five Cuban convertible pesos (approximately USD 5.40) can get one an x-ray.”

Although the practice was reportedly discontinued, some HIV-positive patients had the letters “SIDA” (AIDS) stamped on their national ID cards, making it hard for them to find good jobs or pursue university studies, according to the cable.

The cable acknowledged that medical institutions reserved for Cuba’s ruling elites and foreigners who pay in hard currencies “are hygienically qualified, and have a wide array of diagnostic equipment with a full complement of laboratories, well-stocked pharmacies, and private patient suites with cable television and bathrooms.”

Hospitals and clinics used by average Cubans don’t come close, the dispatch added, providing details on the FSHP’s visits to four Havana hospitals:

At the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, part of which is reserved for foreign patients and was featured in the Michael Moore documentary Sicko, a “gift” of about $22 to the hospital administrator helps average Cubans obtain better treatment there. The exterior of the Ramon Gonzalez Coro OB-Gyn hospital was “dilapidated and crumbling” and its Newborn Intensive Care Unit was “using a very old infant `Bird’ respirator/ventilator — the model used in the U.S. in the 1970s.”

During a visit to the Calixto Garcia Hospital, which serves only Cubans, the U.S. nurse “was struck by the shabbiness of the facility . . .and the lack of everything (medical supplies, privacy, professional care staff). To the FSHP it was reminiscent of a scene from some of the poorest countries in the world.”

At the Salvador Allende Hospital, the emergency room appeared “very orderly, clean and organized.” But the rest of the facility was “in shambles” and guards by the entrance “smelled of alcohol.”

Of course Suarez will probably dismiss this as “anecdotal”. Since he was not free to visit any clinics/hospitals/facilities on this own while in Cuba, he ought, however, to spend some time looking at first-hand evidence and eyewitness accounts by people who are in Cuba.

Prior post here and at the Green Room.

Cross-posted at Fausta’s blog.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.

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Comments

Suarez…Another in a long line of useful government sponsored idiots

PatriotRider on December 31, 2010 at 9:08 AM

PBS is on the “defund” list for sure…
Pure socialist propaganda paid for by our tax dollars.
How effing stupid are we?

Keemo on December 31, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Maybe we should have a Cuban version of the Cosby Show…

PatriotRider on December 31, 2010 at 9:10 AM

PatriotRider on December 31, 2010 at 9:10 AM

lol

Disturb the Universe on December 31, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Sounds like Ray Suarez,was served a “Truth to Power”
moment,or sumpin similar to dat!!

canopfor on December 31, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Of course Suarez will probably dismiss this as “anecdotal”.

Of course anecdotal evidence is not the same as scientific research, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. Everyone has a story.

DrMagnolias on December 31, 2010 at 9:17 AM

If Ray Suarez is so hellbent for leather gung-ho about Cuba’s healthcare system, perhaps he should just renounce his own citizenship and go live in the Land Of Fidel to experience his own vision of paradise firsthand.

Most likely, within a year, when he has his eyes finally opened to the truth, he will be on the next makeshift boat heading to Miami for his own Wet Foot/Dry Foot moment.

pilamaye on December 31, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Cuban health care must be what the libs think we should have.

Speakup on December 31, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Another example of Liberal “magical thinking”, where credible evidence is dismissed in favor of more questionable evidence that supports the desired conclusion. Liberals are simply ill-equipped for any critical thinking. Rather than creating an argument having evidence driving a conclusion, Their desired conclusion drives the evidence they present.

You just cannot argue with them…they actually don’t understand logic.

stonemeister on December 31, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Those photos are horrendous. Y-Gen also had some really bad ones she took inside a hospital but I can’t find them. And the treatments?

Fernandez Donate, a 32 year old Cuban woman who almost died after complaining last November 27 of abdominal pain and entering one of Havana’s hospitals for Cubans. At the time, Mrs. Fernandez was six weeks pregnant and wasn’t suffering from any diagnosed illness. She entered the Hospital Nacional in Havana where she was given intravenous analgesics and was sent home when the pain subsided. A few hours later, Yamilet’s abdominal pain got much worse and she was also running a fever. She went to the Hijas de Galicia Maternity Hospital. There she was told that her pain was not related to her pregnancy and that she should see the surgeon on duty at the Miguel Enriques Hospital. In there, she was told that she was suffering from Acute Gastritis and the doctors recommended a gastric suction (stomach pumping or gastric lavage) and after the procedure she was told to go home that everything was now OK. When Yamilet got much worse, her family took her to the Julio Trigo Hospital. Once there, the doctors told her that what she really had was an Urinary Infection and said that the best thing was to send her back to the Hospital Nacional. In the next couple of days Yamilet’s health got much worse. She was in constant pain and running a high fever. She was vomiting, had muscular fatigue and even fainted several times. After the family kept complaining, the doctors decided to operate the poor woman and they finally determined that she had a perforated appendix, peritonitis and an intestinal occlusion. After the operation she spent several days in the intensive care unit and later had to have another surgery due to several complications that resulted from the first one. Several days later the doctors told her that they had to perform an abortion. At the end, and because of the negligence of her doctors, Yamilet lost her baby and also portions of her intestine and colon. She also has very ugly scars on her abdomen to remind her of the pain and suffering that she had to endure at the hands of these butchers dressed as doctors.

http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

Blake on December 31, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Maybe we should have a Cuban version of the Cosby Show…

PatriotRider on December 31, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Damn your eyes! (wipes monitor)

Extrafishy on December 31, 2010 at 9:30 AM

That’s where we are heading if we don’t have an effective voice in congress

Sonosam on December 31, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Dinosaurs waiting for the ash cloud to reach them. PBS already does like 14 days out of thirty on pledge breaks and nearly endless repeats of the Doobie Brothers and Elvis do River Dance.

Welcome to justice, PBS. The American consumer is gonna starve you out.

Limerick on December 31, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Another socialist “utopia” being exposed for what is really is. And yet, liberals still trot out the same, tired philosophy that has been proven to be a disaster for all but the ruling class.

search4truth on December 31, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Ray doesn’t, of course, have any academic background in journalism-he majored in African Studies (?) and got his M.A. in Social Sciences.

But of course he worked for CNN, so he was a perfect fit for NPR and PBS.

Del Dolemonte on December 31, 2010 at 9:36 AM

“for a country of its income”

Cuba should be rich and its people healthy.

tmitsss on December 31, 2010 at 9:45 AM

PBS… the gift that keeps on giving…

D-E-F-U-N-D

N-O-W

Khun Joe on December 31, 2010 at 9:47 AM

We could have a Healthcare system just like Cuba’s if we:

Put all the doctors on a state salary of 22 dollar a month.
Stopped all medical research.
Stopped using all these new expense medical machines.
Kept our drug cabinets very understocked
Only provided very basic care.

It’s really just that simple.

esnap on December 31, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Cuba has, for a country of its income, very high life expectancy. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low infant mortality. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low rates of infectious disease.

…Well of course everything is so great in Cuba…that is why hundreds of thousands have risked their lives paddling to America.
Are we supposed to believe that a country that can’t even supply toilet paper has a superior Health Care System.

This is even to much for some liberals to swallow:
From Fareed Zakaria:

“Just two weeks ago, Raul Castro vowed yet again to keep communism alive in Cuba, to make sure capitalism doesn’t return. In a world of flux, I suppose it is comforting to know that some things stay the same. Cuba’s disastrous economy would be a joke were it not for the poverty it has perpetuated among millions of Cubans. The whole country is stagnating. Fifty percent of its arable fields are going unfarmed. First and second year college students now work one month out of the year in agriculture. Its insane farm policies lead to frequent shortages of fruit, vegetables and other basic food needs, shortages even more serious than toilet paper. And all those programs that held up for years as successes of the communist revolution, free education for all through college, universal health care, well Raul Castro just announced they’re going to have to make cuts in all of these. Meawhile the average Cuban still earns the equivalent of less than $20 per month. Now, capitalism has its problems as we have all seen, but at least we are not running out of toilet paper.”

This is the supposed socialist paradise that liberal icons like Micheal Moore want everybody to live in but themselves.

As with all things liberal….don’t believe the facts on the ground….just believe what we say.

Baxter Greene on December 31, 2010 at 10:02 AM

.
It’s a neat little assist to the Progressives that dissenters in Cuba are imprisoned. Moreover, those who have attained first-hand knowledge of true conditions of the pharmacies and clinics of Cuba are hampered by the fear that giving solid proof of their investigation could bring harm to those left behind in Cuba, with unsavory consequences. Another little bonus for the Leftists, who will sneer and say, “Oh yeah? Prove it!”

One daren’t prove it from the comfort of their homes back in Canada or the States, lest it cause reprisal in Cuba. The Socialists and Communists will not play fair in this debate.

Joan of Argghh on December 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM

“Ray Suarez is having a snit about Mary O’Grady’s article”

Suarez doesn’t appear to be very open-minded. Neither does he appear to be inquisitive, skeptical, or observant, all marks of being a good reporter.

It’s almost as if he is more comfortable being than a toady than he is being a reporter.

Dusty on December 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM

As a Canadian, all this has a depressingly familiar ring about it.

We aren’t there yet, because we are still capitalist, and only capitalist countries can afford a degree of socialism.

I like Americans, so I promise to spend some time arguing against you guys adopting a system like ours.

Johnny 100 Pesos on December 31, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Commies and socialists in positions with influence and power…

albill on December 31, 2010 at 10:18 AM

You know, I’ve never heard of anyone risking their life to leave America.

darwin on December 31, 2010 at 10:21 AM

If you get rid of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of opportunity, and freedom of belief, you get great health care, is that the basic theory Ray?

Which means that a PBS Cuba would be shut down the minute it disagreed with the Communist government line.

For the good of the collective’s health, of course.

profitsbeard on December 31, 2010 at 10:26 AM

This, of course, is the same Cuban government that has reported that 100% of the Cuban people voted for Fidel Castro for president.

And in every other “election”.

And states that there’s complete freedom of religion in Cuba.

And on and on and on….

Yet, Mr. Suarez uncritically accepts the government’s figures on healthcare and mortality rates.

SteveMG on December 31, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Now, capitalism has its problems as we have all seen, but at least we are not running out of toilet paper.”

Heh. When I traveled in the eastern block, you got two 2″ x 4″ pieces of paper. If you were lucky, it was newsprint. If you weren’t, it was cheap magazine quality.

Blake on December 31, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Maybe, Ray Suarez needs to watch the documentary, Nobody listened! (Nadie escuchaba).

Fallon on December 31, 2010 at 10:36 AM

and got his M.A. in Social Sciences.

Del Dolemonte on December 31, 2010 at 9:36 AM

With a specialty in Head in A&& studies.

chemman on December 31, 2010 at 10:40 AM

You know, I’ve never heard of anyone risking their life to leave America.

darwin on December 31, 2010 at 10:21 AM

I have never thought of that. It really puts things in perspective.

Mord on December 31, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Baxter Greene on December 31, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Are we supposed to believe that a country that can’t even supply toilet paper has a superior Health Care System.

==========================================================
I would rather have a good US trained Paramedic or EMT provide care for me than a Cuban doctor.Ray must think he will be exempt when Obamacare gets us to the Cuban level in a few years.

docflash on December 31, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I like Americans, so I promise to spend some time arguing against you guys adopting a system like ours.

Johnny 100 Pesos on December 31, 2010 at 10:08 AM

You know that most of us don’t want your system. We’ve just been too stupid to vote for those who oppose it…until recently. BTW, I recently learned that my mother’s father was a Canadian (he fought in WWI before the US got involved) who became an US citizen. I never knew that before, so I promise not to sing Blame Canada anymore (but I refuse to listen to Anne Murray…just won’t do it).

Extrafishy on December 31, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I spoke to a guy last week who was absolutely incredulous when I said that PBS was a liberal outfit. Huh?

Mojave Mark on December 31, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Cuba has, for a country of its income, very high life expectancy. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low infant mortality. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low rates of infectious disease.

But Suarez will never ask why Cuba is so poor because the answer is too obvious and painful for him. He also will never ask why, if Cuba is so great, no one is allowed to leave and its citizens risk life and limb to escape on leaky rafts in shark infested waters.

Here’s some photos and commentary on Castro’s wonderful health care system from The Real Cuba.

No matter what the reporter writes, he or she is going to make somebody mad.

Why would Suarez care what the hell defenders of Cuba think? Is there another side to this brutal gang of psychopaths that’s actually defensible? Suarez must think so since he, despite protestations to the contrary, bends over backwards to find something good to say about them.

RadClown on December 31, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Reminds me of the American “journalists” who visited Stalin’s Russia in the 30s: We’ve seen it and it works.
Randy

williars on December 31, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Dear Ray,

Which way are the rafts heading?

Regards,
Reality

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on December 31, 2010 at 12:47 PM

The Cuban regime is vile, the healthcare system is deteriorating because Cuba is flat broke, but things weren’t any better for most of the Cubans regarding healthcare under Batista. The poor were screwed then and now. When the Castro regime finally collapses, maybe then they’ll have it better.

audiculous on December 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I like Americans, so I promise to spend some time arguing against you guys adopting a system like ours.

Johnny 100 Pesos on December 31, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Too late, we’re there already.

angryed on December 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM

PBS needs to get rid of the “P” and just call it “B.S.”

gullxn on December 31, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Back in January 1991 at the start of the air campaign in the first Gulf War Suarez was a reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Chicago. He was doing a report on a few dozen hippies protesting against the US at Daley Plaza. There were about 20 of us counter protesting. I said to him, “hey Ray, how about some equal time?” He looked at us with complete contempt, rolled his eyes, shook his head and walked to his van. The man does not care to give both sides of the story.

Ted Torgerson on December 31, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Hey, what did you expect ?
This is the same Ray Suarez who said after 9/11 that this wasn’t his war (I’m sure there were about a thousand folks at the WTC who thought the same thing when they woke up that day, but who thought differently when the whole damn building came down around them).
The guy is a worthless tool.

J_Crater on December 31, 2010 at 5:27 PM

I wonder if he saw the break-though work the Cubans have been doing with magnets.
Since they have little or no medicine, the Cuban doctors have become experts in the “Art of the Placebo.”

J_Crater on December 31, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Ray is a fellow traveler who sincerely believes that his role is to convince Americans that socialized health care works in a third world shit hole with negative GDP, therefore S.H.C. would be peachy-keen in the rich old U.S.A.

Just one problema, senor Ray. It no work in Cuba.

BigAlSouth on January 1, 2011 at 8:00 AM

audiculous on December 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

A prosperous middle class under capitalism is always the best hope for the poor. This was lacking under Batista, unfortunately.

BigAlSouth on January 1, 2011 at 8:04 AM

I think that when the PBS commentator uses “of its income” over and over as justification for the quality of care, and never questions WHY there is such a low income (communism anyone??) from a country which could produce so much more, you might as well stop trying to convince him. He’s gone. Just like those who swear Elvis is still alive. Any argument about it is a non-starter.

archer52 on January 2, 2011 at 7:16 AM