Humberto Fontova

“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 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.”


Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.