lunes, 31 de agosto de 2009

Rep. Watson wrong on Castro and Cuba

Rep. Watson wrong on Castro and Cuba
Those familiar with Cuban healthcare outside of Havana, cite it as a
cautionary tale of backwards ineffective medicine
Sunday, August 30, 2009
By Felton Newell

Congresswoman Diane Watson's comments, at a August 27, 2009 health care
town hall forum, trivialize the brutality of the Castro regime and
overlook the failures of the Cuban health care system.

Cuba's so called universal healthcare system has been a private
embarrassment for the communist country as most of the nation's patients
are denied even the most rudimentary access to safe and modern
healthcare, yet, yesterday in a town hall meeting. Congresswoman Watson
heaped praise on Cuba's health care. Not stopping at admiring a system
where access to simple everyday medications is often an epic struggle,
Congresswoman Watson went on to extol Cuba's former dictator Fidel
Castro, a man who has murdered, tortured and exiled his own countrymen
as "one of the brightest leaders I have ever met". It is no surprise
that journalists and citizens alike have responded the Congresswoman's
remarks with shock and trepidation.

Most American's familiarity with the Cuban healthcare system is limited
to the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko", but to the residents of Cuba
the reality of their access to healthcare is quite different than what
Cuba allowed Mr. Moore to film for his movie. "Universal healthcare" in
Cuba is in reality a two-tiered system where, on the one hand, the elite
members of the ruling Communist party and wealthy tourists willing to
pay have access to relatively high end health care in Havana, and, on
the other hand, the rest of the country is forced to seek healthcare in
dangerously understaffed and archaic hospitals and clinics. Since
private hospitals are illegal in the country, the vast majority of Cuban
residents are forced without an option to rely on the underfunded
government run healthcare program. It is no surprise that the World
Health Organization ranked Cuba's healthcare system behind that of the
United States.

Those familiar with Cuban healthcare outside of Havana, cite it as a
cautionary tale of backwards ineffective medicine. The country is
plagued by medical shortages of hundreds of the most common and
necessary modern drugs. Important daily medications like aspirin not
only require prescriptions, but are in such short supply that there are
often waiting periods of weeks for the drug, which even when available,
is rationed to patients in envelops rather than bottles. For those
unlucky enough to require hospitalization, many of the state run
hospitals require patients to bring their own sheets, blankets and
water. The situation has recently been made even worse with one in five
health care workers being sent to work in Venezuela in return for oil,
an arrangement which has left many state run healthcare facilities
without a resident physician. Its no wonder that in a documentary shot
for ABC televisionwith undercover cameras, Cuban patients were shown
crowded in to rooms with rusty equipment, broken windows and covered in

Congresswomen Watson's remarks must also be noted for her high praise
for Cuba's former dictator. Castro has long been noted for his brutal
rule of power, even once exclaiming "revolution first, elections later".
It is estimated that during his tenure as dictator his regime murdered
tens of thousands of its countrymen and imprisoned many thousands of
others for having contrary views, lifestyles and in the case of many
journalists, for simply reporting the news. Furthermore, Castro has
imprisoned his own people in concentration camps for their politics,
beliefs and sexuality. It is therefore no wonder that the Human Rights
Watch once labeled his regime as a "abusive machinery".

Mr. Newell is the Democratic primary challenger to Rep. Diane Watson.
Rep. Watson wrong on Castro and Cuba | Spero News (31 August 2009)

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