PBS's Rosey Goggles

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
PBS's Ray Suarez spent the better part of this month in Havana, hosted by the Castro regime, reporting on the "marvels" of Cuban health care.

As the Wall Street Journal's Mary O'Grady effectively debunks:

In his memoir covering four years in Cuba as a correspondent for Spanish Television, Vicente Botín tells about a Havana woman who was frustrated by the doctor shortage in the country. She hung a sheet on her balcony with the words "trade me to Venezuela." When the police arrived she told them: "Look, compañeros, I'm as revolutionary as the next guy, but if you want to see a Cuban doctor, you have to go to Venezuela."

That story was not in the three-part report by Ray Suarez on Cuban health care that aired on PBS's "NewsHour" last week. Nor was the one about the Cuban whose notice of his glaucoma operation arrived in 2005, three years after he died and five years after he had requested it. Nor was there any coverage of the town Mr. Botín writes about close to the city of Holguín, that in 2006 had one doctor serving five clinics treating 600 families. In fact, it was hard to recognize the country that Mr. Suarez claimed to be describing.

Make sure to read O'Grady's whole editorial, "A Cuban Fairy Tale From PBS," here.

Furthermore, today's Miami Herald reports:

In one Cuban hospital, patients had to bring their own light bulbs. In another, the staff used "a primitive manual vacuum'' on a woman who had miscarried. In others, Cuban patients pay bribes to obtain better treatment.

But what about the elite Cuban hospitals -- the ones Ray Suarez toured -- where foreigners and government officials are treated?

Not so great either.

Otherwise, why would Cuba's Vice-Minister of Health, Abelardo Ramirez, travel to France for cancer treatment?

Or why would the head of Cuba's most propagandized hospital, CIMEQ, travel to Britain for surgery?

Or why was Fidel Castro treated by a Spanish doctor for his recent health woes?

Time to remove the goggles altogether.