In a statement following the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, President Barack Obama spoke of “the countless ways in which (Castro) altered the course of individual lives, families and of the Cuban nation.”
That’s an understatement as the thousands who have risked their lives over the years to escape from Cuba have testified. For six decades the left has lauded Castro as a secular savior, seeing only what they wanted to see and reporting only what the Cuban government wanted them to report.
Examples are legion, but this one is typical: In February 1988, the State Department named Cuba one of the world’s biggest human rights oppressors. NBC News reporter Ed Rabel visited Havana to check it out. Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center, the conservative media watchdog, writes: “NBC’s conciliatory approach allowed Castro to spew lies about his drug connections and the wonderful achievements of the Cuban revolution.” Rabel reported, “There is, in Cuba, government intrusion into everyone’s life, from the moment he is born until the day he dies.
Over the years, celebrities made pilgrimages to Havana. Each time they marveled at the supposed excellence of Cuba’s medical care and quality of education. In the immediate aftermath of Castro’s death, the pattern was repeated. Typical was Andrea Mitchell, who gushed on MSNBC: “(Castro) gave his people better health care and education.” Mitchell and other Castro disciples apparently never read a July 2007 article in National Review titled, “The myth of Cuban health care.” The magazine was among many publications that destroyed the notion of outstanding health care in Cuba, noting that the country offers three medical tiers. One tier is for celebrities and tourists, requiring payment in hard cash to help bolster the regime. The second tier is for Cuba’s top government officials. The third tier is for everyone else, and the magazine called it “wretched. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do go to the hospital, they must bring their own bed sheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs, even toilet paper. And basic medications are so scarce that finding an aspirin can be a chore. An antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.”
The left, so concerned about human rights in America and other noncommunist countries, ignores their violations in Cuba. As Human Rights Watch noted earlier this year, “The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists and other critics have increased dramatically. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming and the termination of employment.”