Exactly. Communist countries are famous for hiding the truth. Twenty years ago, when I reported from the Soviet Union, officials insisted there were no poor people in Russia, but they refused to let me look for myself.
Why would we believe the Cuban government's health statistics?
Cuba claims it has low infant mortality, but doctors tell us that Cuban obstetricians abort a fetus when they think there might be a problem. Dr. Julio Alfonso told us he used to do 70-80 abortions a day. And here's an even more devious way of distorting infant-mortality data: Some doctors tell us that if a baby dies within a few hours of birth, Cuban doctors don't count him or her as ever having lived.
Moore told me: "All the independent health organizations in the world, and even our own CIA, believe that the Cubans have a pretty good health system. And they do, in fact, live longer than we do."
But the CIA does not claim that Cubans live longer than Americans. In fact, the CIA says Americans live longer.
When I pressed Moore, he backed away from the claims his movie makes about Cuba. "Let's stick to Canada and Britain," he said, "because I think these are legitimate arguments that are made against the film and against the so-called idea of socialized medicine. And I think you should challenge me on these things, and I'll give you my answer."
Next week in this column, and this Friday on "20/20," I'll take him up on that challenge.
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