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Monday, August 31, 2009

Rep. Diane Watson Loves Cuba?

During a town hall held at the Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church this past Thursday, California Congressional Representative Diane Watson (CA) continued the standard rebuttal to critics of President Obama’s health care overhaul, charging them as “racist." She then offered her praise for both the communist Cuban socialized medical system and Dictator Fidel Castro; calling on her constituents to disregard what they may had heard in the past about the Communist dictator, and she referred to him as one of the brightest leaders she has ever met. What in the world is Representative Watson thinking? Her comments are often offhand and offensive. She is the reported the biggest liberal in Congress.
Thanks to KABC, there’s audio of Watson heaping praise on Castro, Guevara, and the Cuban health system at her town hall meeting last night — as well as injecting her usual racial poison into the health care debate. Here is a transcript of some of her rhetoric:

"And lemme tell ya, before you say “Oh, it’s a commu–”, you need to go down there and see what Fidel Castro put in place. And I want you to know, now, you can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met. [APPLAUSE]

And you know, the Cuban revolution that kicked out the wealthy, Che Guevara did that, and then, after they took over, they went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new nation, and they found…well, just leave it there (laughs), an attorney by the name of Fidel Castro…"

In a measure of defense for the Cuban Health Care system, Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan stated in 2000 that "Cuba should be the envy of many other nations" adding that achievements in social development are impressive given the size of its gross domestic product per capita. "Cuba demonstrates how much nations can do with the resources they have if they focus on the right priorities - health, education, and literacy."

One may find numerous other glowing reports of the success of socialized medicine in Cuba.

Here, however, are some faults in the Cuban Medical System:

1. The Canadian Medical Association Journal states, "In its population statistics, the Cuban government has hidden for the past 49 years the fact that 2 million Cubans have emigrated or have died as a result of political executions, wars fought overseas, unsafe emigration and poor health care for adults." ("Health Consequences of Cuba's Special Period") 2. Katharine Hirschfeld ("Re-examining the Cuban Health Care System," July 2007) reports criticizing the government is a crime in Cuba, and penalties are severe. She notes that "Formally eliciting critical narratives about health care would be viewed as a criminal act both for me as a researcher, and for people who spoke openly with me." 3. According to Hirschfeld the Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP) sets statistical targets that are viewed as production quotas. The most guarded is infant mortality rate. The doctor is pressured to abort the pregnancy whenever screening shows that quotas are in danger. Once a doctor decides to guard his quotas, patients have no right to refuse abortion. 4. Marxist "revolutionary" efforts have included such practices as "deliberate manipulation of health statistics, aggressive political intrusion into health care, decision-making, criminalizing dissent, and other forms of authoritarian policing of the health sector designed to insure health changes reflect the (often Utopian) predictions of Marxist theory." These practices are well documented for the former Soviet Union and China. 5. Cuban doctors defect to other countries because their salary in Cuba is only $15 per month. Therefore, many even prefer to work in different occupations, generally in the lucrative tourist industry (e.g. taxi drivers), where earnings could be 50 to 60 times more. (Katherine Hirschfeld. "Re-examining the Cuban Health Care System") 6. There is no right to privacy, patient's informed consent, or right to protest for malpractice in Cuba. The patient has no right to refuse the treatment, including for religious or ethical reasons. 7. Many of the medical facilities in Cuba are poor, offering buildings in poor state of repair and mostly outdated. 8. The Canadian newspaper National Post, based on interviews of Cubans, finds that in reality even the most common pharmaceutical items, such as Aspirin and antibiotics are conspicuously absent or only available on the black market. Surgeons lack basic supplies and must re-use latex gloves. Patients must buy their own sutures on the black market and provide bedsheets and food for extended hospital stays. (The Official Site of the Finley Medical Center) 9. Cubans often rely on sociolismo (eciprocal exchange of favors by individuals, usually relating to circumventing bureaucratic restrictions or obtaining) and corruption. (Sergio Díaz-Briquets, Jorge F. Pérez-López. Corruption in Cuba) 10. A recent 20/20 television report (John Stossel, September 7, 2007) addressed the quality of care available to Cubans by arguing that patient neglect was a common phenomenon. 11. Human Rights Watch complains that the government "bars citizens engaged in authorized travel from taking their children with them overseas, essentially holding the children hostage to guarantee the parents' return. Given the widespread fear of forced family separation, these travel restrictions provide the Cuban government with a powerful tool for punishing defectors and silencing critics." (Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 - Cuba, January 11 2007). Doctors are reported to be monitored by "minders" and subject to curfew. The Cuban government uses relatives as hostages to prevent doctors from defecting. Well, back to Representative Diane Watson and her active mouth, here are a few other fine comments she has accumulated over the years: She that the only opponents of Barack Obama and his move to socialize America are those who object to socialism because, in her words, “[Barack is] the first President who looks like me.” She attacked Ward Connerly for marrying a white woman. She bragged about Washington, D.C. being a “chocolate city.” She polluted the Hurricane Katrina aftermath with race card-playing nonsense. By the way, Chequevara stated in 1961: “The United States is the great enemy of mankind. Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination.” Castro's chief assassin, Che signed his letters "Stalin II." Thousands of innocent Cuban peasants were murdered by Che Guevara himself. Their crime? Opposing socialism. Does anyone seriously think that Representative Watson would exchange her current health care service for a Cuban national program?
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