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Gasp, It's Not Perfect
Thursday, August 25, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
No doctor for you, Cuban.
Even the Boston Globe is noticing all is not perfect in fidel's workers' paradise.
HAVANA -- Free universal healthcare has long been the crowning achievement of this socialist state, but the system is now under fire from Cubans who complain that quality and access are suffering as they lose tens of thousands of medical workers to Venezuela in exchange for cheap oil, which this impoverished country desperately needs.
The reporter is Indira A.R. Lakshmanan of the Globe Staff. Let's pass for a moment the fact that healthcare was very good in Cuba prior to fidel, and let's forget for a moment that many of the tens of thousands of medical workers are actually spies and intelligence agents. The positive thing is that even the Boston Globe is paying some sort of attention.
A 45-year-old nurse in Camagüey province said she has worked without a doctor in her primary-care clinic for more than two years since the physician was transferred to another clinic to replace a doctor sent to Venezuela.
''My patients complain every day. They want me to act as a doctor, but I can't," she said helplessly. ''The level of attention isn't the same as before. It's not fair . . . to take from us to give to our neighbors. People are now saying, 'I've got to get a ticket to Venezuela to get healthcare!'
Not fair. To take from us to give to our neighbors. I thought that was the basic premise of communism - from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Ah, even fidel can't change human nature. And he must not want the world to know just what is going on.
The Ministry of Public Health and the Cuban press center did not respond to repeated requests over a three-week period for interviews and data for this story.
The story is filled with the assumptions that people make who have only been exposed to fidel's propaganda, but it's worth reading to see the few gems included.