Rich Lowry

But the routine medical care, we're supposed to believe, is superb. The statistic frequently cited for this proposition is that Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America. Put aside that the reflexively dishonest Cuban government is the ultimate source for these figures. Cuba had the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America prior to the revolution and has lost ground to other countries around the world since. It also has an appallingly high abortion rate, meaning most problem pregnancies are pre-emptively ended.

Other countries in Latin America have made advances in health without Cuba's vicious suppression of human rights (which, no doubt, contributes to the island having the highest suicide rate in Latin America). The way public health works in Cuba was nicely illustrated by the case of Dr. Desi Mendoza Rivero, who complained of an outbreak of dengue fever that the regime preferred to ignore in the late 1990s, and was jailed for his trouble.

As is always the case with Cuba, anything that's wrong is blamed on the United States. If there is a shortage of medicine, well, that's because of the U.S. embargo. But the United States is not the only country in the world that sells drugs. Cuba could buy them from Europe or elsewhere, and the U.S. embargo makes an exception for medicines.

The only reason to fantasize about Cuban health care is to stick a finger in the eye of the Yanquis. For the likes of Michael Moore, the true glory of Cuba is less its health care than the fact that it is an enemy of the United States. That's why romanticizing Cuban medicine isn't just folly, but itself qualifies as a kind of sickness.


Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
 
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