posted on Wednesday, 02.02.11
OUR OPINION: Cuban medical system exposed as fraud, failure
Cuba’s public health system is held up to the world as one of the
glories of the revolution. It’s supposed to be a major achievement of
the Castro dictatorship, consistently used to justify the deprivations
Cuba’s people are forced to endure every day.
Most Cubans, if not all, know that’s an exaggeration, to put it mildly.
Yes, Cubans get free medical care. But it’s neither quality care nor
particularly good. Indeed, a form of healthcare apartheid exists in Cuba
that offers a higher level of medical treatment for foreigners and
anyone else who can pay for it, but doles out aspirin to everyone else
(if they’re available) regardless of ailment.
That hasn’t kept the Cuban propaganda mill from extolling the virtues of
the state-run healthcare system. But the latest events surrounding the
horrific findings at the Havana Psychiatric Hospital, known as Mazorra,
where electroshock “treatment” for political dissidents has been
commonly used, are eye-opening and disgusting.
Pictures of the cadavers of 26 patients whose deaths were officially
attributed to cold and malnutrition were widely circulated on the
Internet. They looked like victims of a concentration camp, an
embarrassment that forced the dictatorship to put some of the medical
personnel on trial. Thirteen were convicted, with sentences ranging from
15 to five years in jail.
Cuba’s healthcare system, like so much of Fidel and Raúl Castro’s
revolution, stands exposed as a fraud and a failure. The scapegoats are
headed for prison. The real criminals are still at large.