May 10, 2012

Cuba, Human Rights and the New York Times

Ah, the land of my birth, which has not been my country since I became an American nearly 40 years ago and the liberal media seem to have the sort of relationship only a Chamberlain could love.

If you listen to “progressives”, Cuba is a true paradise under the Castro regime, with great health care, fair governance, great health care, a benign leader, great health care, liberty beyond belief and, of course, great health care.

They embrace Che as the noble revolutionary while ignoring his status as engineer of the Cuban death camps and view Fidel and Raoul with the reverence they once reserved for Ho Chi Minh.

They overlook the regime’s suffocation of human rights as a mere “detail” that holds little significance in the face of all that Fidelian benevolence they perceive on that island made miserable by what amounts to an oppressive tinpot dictator.

Can you imagine what the New York Times would say if we quarantined all of America’s HIV victims, as they began doing in the late 1980s in Cuba?

From the L.A. Times, 1988

A member of the first U.S. delegation to visit Cuba’s quarantine center for people infected with the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus Thursday described the detention facility as “pleasant” but “frightening in its implications.”

The first detailed picture of what the Cuban government calls its “sanitarium” for all identified HIV carriers was painted by Ronald Bayer, associate professor at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, in an interview with The Times.

Cuba is the only nation in the world that has mandated universal HIV testing and enforced isolation of all virus carriers. Bayer said he was told by Cuban health officials that one-third of the nation’s 10.2 million people have been tested so far and that 240 Cubans–171 men and 69 women–have been placed in the camp, where they are required to spend the rest of their lives. They are removed from their jobs but continue to be paid.

“We were shown groups of nondescript apartments that looked like typical Cuban suburban housing,” Bayer said. “It was neither barracks-like nor dungeon-like, although I have to assume we were shown the best. It was impossible to tell whether the complex was surrounded by a wall or a fence.

“But even if it all looked as good as what we saw, it does not resolve the moral justification of incarceration based on supposed future behavior,” said Bayer, a medical ethicist who has long specialized in AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

My emphasis above.

Well, that sentiment came from an L.A. Times journalist 24 years ago. That paper is a member, in good standing, of the liberal media.

How times have changed since then.

From Times Watch:

So Much for Civil Liberties: Communist Cuba’s Mandatory AIDS Quarantine Defended in New York Times, Dictator Castro Praised

New York Times “global health correspondent” Donald McNeil Jr. made a rare trip to Cuba and filed a report praising the Communist island’s handling of the AIDS epidemic for Tuesday’s “A Regime’s Tight Grip on AIDS – In Cuba, rigorous testing, education, and free condoms help keep the epidemic in check.” Conspiciously absent from that headline, especially for a newspaper that prides itself on defending civil liberties, were the involuntary quarantines of AIDS patients that took place in Cuba until 1993.

McNeil also downplayed concerns about the sanitarium prisons for AIDS patients (”life inside was not brutal”), a policy the Times would no doubt find dangerous and repellent if done in America. He also praised Cuba’s “universal health care” and free condoms and credited “socialism” for Cuba’s success.

(The same edition of the Science Times was much harder on American health policy, featuring medical writer Tara Parker-Pope talking to a doctor angry about the medical tests selfish Americans demand, a theme well-suited to the Times’ call for cost-cutting via universal health care: “Plenty of Blame in a Health System ‘Designed to Fail.’”)

McNeil opened with the case of Yudelsy García O’Connor, the first Cuban baby known to have been born with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, and downplayed the quaranatine policy.

Ms. García is alive thanks partly to lucky genes, and partly to the intensity with which Cuba has attacked its AIDS epidemic. Whatever debate may linger about the government’s harsh early tactics — until 1993, everyone who tested positive for H.I.V. was forced into quarantine — there is no question that they succeeded.

Cuba now has one of the world’s smallest epidemics, a mere 14,038 cases. Its infection rate is 0.1 percent, on par with Finland, Singapore and Kazakhstan. That is one-sixth the rate of the United States, one-twentieth of nearby Haiti.

The population of Cuba is only slightly larger than that of New York City. In the three decades of the global AIDS epidemic, 78,763 New Yorkers have died of AIDS. Only 2,364 Cubans have.

Other elements have contributed to Cuba’s success: It has free universal basic health care; it has stunningly high rates of H.I.V. testing; it saturates its population with free condoms, concentrating on high-risk groups like prostitutes; it gives its teenagers graphic safe-sex education; it rigorously traces the sexual contacts of each person who tests positive.

{rigorously traces the sexual contacts of each person who tests positive — I’ll just bet Cuba’s “healthcare” system does}

You’ll notice how the Times writer justifies (because it worked) the quarantine system.

Now, again imagine if the U.S. Government did the quarantine number on Americans with HIV. What are the odds the same journalist and, in fact, the entire body of N.Y. Times writers wouldn’t begin immediately pummeling Washington with a massive editorial crusade condemning such offensive violations of human rights.

Apparently what would constitute “dastardliness” here in the U.S. of A. is perfectly acceptible in a nation governed, as our media seems to believe, in a more enlightened way.

What stupidos these liberals are… Ooops, sorry; It’s just all those things they know that aren’t so.

by @ 9:51 am. Filed under Civil & Human Rights, Kommunism, Liberal Agendas, The Liberal Media
Trackback URL for this post:

2 Responses to “Cuba, Human Rights and the New York Times”

  1. Always On Watch Says:

    One of my students recently submitted a short research report on Cuba. The thesis of the report: the damage that Castro has inflicted on Cuba.

    Before Castro, Cuba was a much better place.

    The Left will never, never admit that fact.

  2. Mrs Wolf Says:

    Always On Watch

    I was a little girl when Castro took over, but my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents would agree with that 100% (at least they did while alone with family or like-minded friends).

    The lefties here have some kind of fixation with the “greatness” of communist societies.

    Well, let them live in one such “paradise” for a month or two and they would come crawling back to America and kiss the ground!

    Maybe that’s what they need!