Friday, May 07, 2010

Green Party blindly believes a dictatorship

I have been lamblasted loudly by Green Party sympathisers because I damned Frogblog for believing reports about the Cuban health system being simply great.

Now I don't know if Cuba's health care system produces the great outcomes that it reports to the UN or to outsiders. Who does? Cuba isn't a country where you can publish anything, or say anything, or organise a non-governmental association without official approval, or criticise the government. Cuba is a one-party state, it is a dictatorship. There is no freedom of speech regarding politics or public policy in Cuba. How can you believe what the Cuban government says when it throws into prison people who criticise it?

I tell you how, you hold up your hands to your eyes and wilfully ignore that.

The responses I got from the Green supporters are telling:

"How can Cuba trade doctors for oil in Venezuela" Did that happen? You believe Hugo Chavez as well, given he hasn't exactly shown warm tendencies towards free speech?

"How can Cuba offer 5000 doctors after Hurricane Katrina" Because it knew it wouldn't actually have to deliver. Do you think the Cubans really thought George Bush would welcome them in?

"The UN Human Development Index says Cuba has the same life expectancy and infant mortality as the US" The UN gets its data from member states. The Cuban government tells the UN what it wants the UN to know, and nobody audits it.

"Cuba has been renowned for years" Yes, by leftwing activists and developing countries that know no better. Most of the developed world governments are a bit more grown up than that.

"Watch Sicko, it shows you how wrong you are about Cuba" Really? So Michael Moore talked to dissidents, talked to people who independently reviewed the Cuban healthcare system? Yes, thought not.

"Batista was worse" Ah there was a worse dictatorship before, that justifies the current one. Silly me. Tell the Burmese and North Koreans that the next governments they get will be nicer dictatorships, ones that don'[t run gulags, just political prisons, ones that don't execute on a wide scale, just torture and harass.

"Cuba is people not profit oriented" Notice the hoards flocking to live there and nobody wants to leave, and it is so people oriented, the people's freedom of speech can be completely suppressed. How easily do socialists trade away fundamental freedoms when capitalism is absent.

So there you have it.

A dictatorship, that gives its elite the best health care, that doesn't allow independent organisations to be established without state approval, that only permits official publications and broadcasting, that imprisons political opponents, can be believed for having a great health care system.

Except..

Katherine Hirschfeld has written criticising the Cuban healthcare system because:
- "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";
- "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. There is no right to refuse the abortion".
- "In Cuba, however, values such as privacy and individualism are rejected by the socialist
regime as “bourgeois values” contrary to the collective ethos of socialism.... Cuban family doctors are expected to attend to the “health of the revolution” by monitoring their
neighborhoods for any sign of political dissent, and working closely with CDR officials to
correct these beliefs or behaviors."
- There is no right to take action on medical malpractice and no sanctions, unless of course, it is against a member of the elite.

To take one quote from her article "People simply would not voice negative opinions in
the context of researcher-interviewee interactions. Questionnaire data would be similarly
unreliable. In fact, most Cubans I spoke with informally seemed to view questionnaires as tools to elicit popular reiteration of the party line. As one friend stated, "We know we're supposed to be moving toward democratic reforms and be able to speak out, to criticize. But people are still scared. Any kind of survey or opinion poll makes them afraid. No one will say what they really think."

Of course our leftwing friends who support the Greens would point a finger and say "University of Miami" "Americans" "they have to be anti-Cuban". Which is a cop out, it doesn't answer the fundamental points.

It is this simple:

Either you believe what a dictatorship says about how successful it is in looking after its subjects, or you are a sceptic.

It would appear the Green Party is willing to believe a dictatorship.

1 comment:

Spider_Pig said...

As someone who recently spent 16 days in Cuba, I can speak from experience. Do not believe a word the Government prints! I actually have a copy of Granma from the start of this year that crowns their infant mortality rate as the Cuban health system's great achievement of 2009. "Despite the impact of the H1N1 virus, the political will of the revolutionary leadership and the work of the health sector personnel produced the country's second lowest" infant mortality rate.

Need I say more...