A Lesson on Cuba’s Healthcare for Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio“I have a huge critique of the current government there [in Cuba] because it’s undemocratic,” snapped de Bill de Blasio to a Cuban-American radio interviewer two weeks ago. “I also think it’s well known that there’s some good things that happened — for example, in health care.”

Does it occur to people nowadays that Stalinist regimes might lie? For a guy who presumes to run New York Bill de Blasio sure seems bereft of one of the natives’ most celebrated attributes: their “street smarts.”

Who told de Blasio that Castro’s totalitarian fiefdom has good healthcare? Maybe he saw it on CNN?

Indeed, a CNN “Special Report” on Cuba’s healthcare gushed about the island nation’s “impressive health statistics.” The show featured clips from Michael Moore’s Sicko as CNN’s Morgan Neill, on location in a Potemkin Havana hospital, reported live. “Cuba’s infant mortality rates are the lowest in the hemisphere,” he recited from the regime-issued talking points, “in line with those of Canada! Cuba can boast about health care, a system that leads the way in Latin America.”

Besides plugging Moore’s Sicko, CNN’s “Special Report” also featured “medical expert” Gail Reed, introduced on screen as “someone who’s lived and worked in Cuba for decades.” “They [the Cubans] concentrate on prevention,” she explained to CNN viewers. “When I first came to Cuba in the ’70s, I was very impressed with their efforts in building a new kind of society,” Reed explained.

Most of Reed’s companions of the time were also impressed. Bill Ayres’ wife Bernadine Dohrn for instance. Gail Reed, you see, visited Cuba as a member of the Venceremos Brigades, the starry-eyed college kids who visited ostensibly to cut sugar cane and help “build Cuban Socialism,” a volunteer Peace Corps of sorts. Or so we were led to believe.

In fact the Venceremos Brigades was a joint-venture by Castro’s KGB-mentored DGI (Directorio General de Intelligencia) and the U.S. terrorist group known as The Weathermen, that included future Obama “neighbors” Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorn.

CNN could have fluffed-up Venceremos Brigadista Gail Reed’s credentials by adding that from 1993 to 1997 she was a regular correspondent for Business Week magazine and from 1994 to 1996 she served as a Havana-based producer for NBC News, and today contributes to the Huffington Post.  When Andrea Mitchell (NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent) interviewed Gail Reed in Havana on April 2012 for a MSNBC report, Mitchell introduced her as “international director of the nonprofit group Medical Education Cooperation.”

All true. But for the past 36 years Havana resident Gail Reed has also been married to an officer of Cuba’s KGB-founded/funded and Directorio General de Intelligencia named Julian Torres Rizo. Reed is also a regular contributor to Cuba’s Communist party organ, Granma.  In 1991 she was tasked by the Castro regime with writing its official “Island in the Storm: the Cuban Communist Party’s Fourth Congress,” a not inconsiderable honor.

She served in all these capacities while working for Business Week and NBC, by the way. Not that any American readers or viewers imbibing her reports on the marvels of Cuba’s healthcare and the wicked U.S. “blockade” of her adopted country in those “mainstream” media organs might have guessed any of her background.

The above probably sounds “crackpot,” but it was recently revealed in a bombshell book —and with full-documentation.

The partnership by this future CNN, NBC and Business Week correspondent with Castro’s secret police began in 1969 with those visits to Cuba as a member of the (DGI-created) Venceremos Brigades. This was also the beginnings of Reed’s romance with DGI officer Julian Torres Rizo. The terrorist offshoot from the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) known as The Weathermen and staffed most famously by Barack Obama’s future “neighbors” Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn served as the DGI’s U.S. recruitment officers at the time, which proved easy. In that heady Age of Aquarius hundreds of starry-eyed college kids were volunteering to “help build Cuban Socialism” and “fight U.S. Imperialism,” mostly by joyfully cutting Cuban sugar cane.

Castro’s DGI had other goals in mind. “The ultimate objective of the DGI’s participation in the setting up of the Venceremos Brigades,” says an FBI report declassified in 1976, “was the recruitment of individuals who are politically oriented and who someday may obtain a position, elective or appointive, somewhere in the U.S. Government, which would provide the Cuban Government with access to political, economic and military intelligence” emphasis added.

Among the items CNN and their “medical expert” Gail Reed left out of their report is that according to those same UN figures, in 1958 (the year prior to the glorious revolution), Cuba ranked 13th from the top worldwide with the lowest infant-mortality rate. This meant that robustly capitalist pre-Castro Cuba had the 13th lowest infant-mortality rate in the world. This put her not only at the top in Latin America but atop most of Western Europe, ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Today all of these countries leave Communist Cuba in the dust, with much lower infant mortality rates.

And even plummeting from 13th (Capitalist) to 47th (Communist), Cuba’s “impressive” infant mortality rate is kept artificially low by Communist chicanery with statistics and by a truly appalling abortion rate of 0.71 abortions per live birth. This is the hemisphere’s highest, by far. Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble gets “terminated.”

In April 2001, Dr. Juan Felipe García, MD, of Jacksonville, Fla., interviewed several recent doctor defectors from Cuba. Based on what he heard, he reported the following:

The official Cuban infant-mortality figure is a farce. Cuban pediatricians constantly falsify figures for the regime. If an infant dies during its first year, the doctors often report he was older. Otherwise, such lapses could cost him severe penalties and his job.

More interesting (and tragic) still, the maternal mortality rate in Cuba is almost four times that of the U.S. rate (33 versus 8.4 per 1,000). Peculiar how so many mothers die during childbirth in Cuba, and how many one- to-four-year-olds perish — while from birth to one year old (the period during which they qualify in UN statistics as infants) they’re perfectly healthy.

This might lead a few people to question Cuba’s official infant-mortality figures. But such people would not get a Havana bureau for their news agency (CNN, NBC, ABC, etc.) or get access to the Stalinist regime’s “medical “experts.”

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  • davarino

    Ya, and there are millions of people from the western world moving to Cuba. Pretty soon everyone will live in Cuba.
    On another note, people from Canada, Europe, Cuba….etc. better hurry and get their procedures done in America before our system becomes like theirs and they have to wait in line till their dead. You see, thats how they bring the cost down, nobody to work on. Their not in line any more.

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  • Cubana casa

    Been in Cuba every winter for last 10 years and health care is EXCELLENT. Like davarino comment “wait in line” so true in Canada, like 1+ years for knee operation. Know newly married lady in Cuba who had very, very difficult pregnancy, Cuban doctors took super great care all the way to full term and a healthy girl was born. Mother and daughter doing very well, thank you. A whole lot could be learned from Cuba and the health care of people, our shelf life foods and preservatives in our food, as well as chemical farms is our problem…….I really have to laugh at organic farming, just a way to charge more for something that isn’t what they say it is. how many people have watched a farmer spraying his crop ???????????ever watch the drift from his “controlled ” spraying, please do, if you can smell it 2km away, you can bet the organic crop next door IS NOT organic any more. WHY, when in Cuba does my wife(native Canadian) and diabetic, have to reduce her medication by half when in Cuba, come back to Canada and full dosage is required to maintain a some what normal reading. Viva Cuba.

    • mendezjb

      Wow the communist party sure is paying a lot of liars to visit this site and comment on its articles.
      I’d love for someone to explain to these communist agents that it is impossible for things be so wonderful in cuba while their people are literally dying to get here. None of them get Cuban healthcare, none of them are “beneficiaries” of the wondrous Cuban labor market, none of them eat the government rations and none of them live in buildings literally crumbling onto their heads because the country is such a basket case of an economy.

      • Cubana casa

        The roof is slowly crumbling on your wonderful economy, sad part is you wont or don’t accept that fact. Ex: 78 year old man, in relatively poor health, south of the 49th is still working—because he wants to, NO, because he has to, in order to pay for health insurance for his wife—–other option, divorce her and then let her go on Obamacare. Ex: 33 year old man, married, three children. One child has fairly serious problems, his insurance for the family has been refused, he was paying approx. $1300.00 per month. On one occasion when leaving the hospital he was asked to pay for medication his daughter had received and was not covered—-the bill was $144.16 for 3 aspirins and 1 anti acid pill. Nothing is perfect, but that is beyond greed and stupidity.

      • http://www.need2.ca/ Chris Holt

        Dude, you should get your head out of the sand and actually try to see what is really going on

  • worldtraveler

    I want to challenge the assertion, “Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble is “terminated”.” Nothing could be further from the truth! ALL pregnancies that are in trouble are sent to a special prenatal unit where the mother is given FREE 24/7 care until the problem is overcome or the infant is birthed! I have witnessed this on many visits!!!!!

    • mendezjb

      Another lying liberal. You’ve never been to cuba or gotten the healthcare the average Cuban gets. If you did you’d know there are dollar clinics and clinics for everyone else. You’d know that in non-dollar clinics they reuse unsterilized equipment on their patients. You aren’t a Cuban who had to endure their healthcare system. You just like to lie in the comfort of the evil west and wax romantic about a dump of a country driven into the ground by stalinists

  • glpage

    If Cuba’s health care system is so wonderful why did Fidel have to go to Spain for surgery for diverticulitis?

  • http://www.need2.ca/ Chris Holt

    After just returning from touring Cuba, talking with average Cuban’s about their healthcare, free education and social system and seeing clinic after clinic, including several dedicated maternal clinics I find this article to be propagandistic and misleading. Cuba has fantastic doctors and hospitals, but lacks hi end machines and drugs because of the illegal and cruel US embargo. Cuba would have been ( could be) an example for the rest of Latin America if not the world in the provision of basic human services for their populace based on very humanitarian values…something the US severely lacks with its gun violence, homelessness, pharmaceutical drug addiction promotion and ridiculous healthcare system which leaves so many bankrupt or dead. Yes, Cuba has a secret police, what country doesn’t? And guess what, they need it to protect them from the consistent threat by US based terrorist groups that threaten to assassinate Cuban leaders, poison crops through bringing in pests and diseases, bombing tourist destinations to undermine that industry, and spread discontent.
    Cuba is poor, but far richer in values than the US. Note the present government shut down and who suffers.

    • mendezjb

      Chris, we’re all glad that your kgb minders took you on a tour of the right hospitals and clinics. When people aren’t taken to those clinics, they see what the average Cuban has to endure.
      If cuba has such a miraculous health care system, why does it even matter that we have an embargo that you call cruel? If they were so great, they wouldn’t need what we’re selling.
      I’m calling BS. You toured no clinic, you never set foot in Cuba. And you enjoy living in a free society while making excuses for a country having a secret police. News to lying liberal, their secret police aren’t there to protect the nation from outsiders, they are there to protect the regime from the people.

      • http://www.need2.ca/ Chris Holt

        Sorry, but yes I did spend time in Cuba and had no minders whatso ever but travelled independently. Cuba is seriously hampered by an illegal blockade. The US interferes in its ability to trade equally with other nations. What is the US so afraid of? A country that actually has values which it lives by, that believes in its people…what’s wrong with the values of free education, free healthcare, no homelessness, or violent crime. They are poor, not because of political philosophy, only in that the US could never allow a socialist country to be successful. The US is no shinning example with a broken government, more gun deaths than anywhere in the world, more incarnation than any other country, people going bankrupt from medical bills, and the creation of wars for profit. Cuba is not perfect, but get off your high horse because there social values are far more humane than the hypocritical values of freedom and American exceptionalism which is all propaganda. America’s wealth comes from the exploitation (it’s interests) around the world propped up by the military and CIA. Look at the true history of US involvement

        • Alastair_Gordon

          “social values are far more humane than the hypocritical values of freedom and American exceptionalism which is all propaganda”

          And is that why you will be shot or jailed for trying to LEAVE Cuba’s socialist paradise? And is that why most of the world’s migrants risk everything to get INTO the United States?

          • http://www.need2.ca/ Chris Holt

            People risk everything to get to the United States because they believe the hype and yes there may still be some opportunity. But reality also hits them, hence check out the prisons, the bad neighbourhoods, the gun violence, the drug war, the lack of medical care. No one is getting shot leaving Cuba. I know lots of Cuban immigrants and while they came wanting a better future they also are shocked by the homelessness and racism, and greed. No one said Cuba was a paradise..they have lots of problems like most countries, but what i was saying is that they do a great deal with very little and have a stronger vision of helping all their people not just rich people. They provide the basic Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs for their people…something which the US does not, and that is a value based decision I respect. Also Cuba is part of ALBA which is a collection of Latin American countries who trade together and put all the savings earned through mutual trade into social programs. You can believe propaganda if you want, but I like to check it out for myself.

          • Alastair_Gordon

            So if it’s all propaganda, why do the migrants STAY in the United States after they experience the reality? Any why do Cubans risk death to get OUT of Cuba? And why do virtually none of the world’s migrants GO to Cuba? And why the heck are you not LIVING in Cuba?

  • dad1927

    Have you been to Cuba and seen the system? Are you someone who rails against the Canadian system and never used it?