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realclearworld

Who woulda’ thunk it?

Who would have ever imagined that Cuba's murderous and repressive dictatorship could actually be a positive thing? It may seem unlikely to the naive and uninformed who still subscribe to the silly and outdated concept of freedom, but the AP explains how Cuba's totalitarian dictatorship has positive advantages, especially when it comes to dealing with pandemics such as the swine flu.

Cuban civil defense teams keep swine flu at bay

HAVANA — Cuba is ready to use just about everything at its disposal, from its well-oiled civil defense system to the soldiers of a totalitarian government, to keep swine flu cases to a minimum.

Everything but a vaccine.

As the U.S. prepares an extensive health survey for side affects from its massive inoculation plans, Cuba's No. 2 health official says relying on a shot to contain a world pandemic is risky as best — and demoralizing at worst.

"Nobody knows if it would work," Dr. Luis Estruch told The Associated Press in an interview. "How safe would it be?"

Cuba's sophisticated public-monitoring system and geographic isolation as an island have kept swine flu cases to just 435 in a country of 11 million — and no deaths to date. That's roughly one in 25,000 people, compared with one in 6,900 in the U.S. and one in 4,000 in Mexico.

Swine flu plans for the new season involve all ministries, including the armed forces. If necessary, the government will isolate neighborhoods or entire villages, shut down highways and dispatch medical teams to communities affected by swine flu, Estruch said.

Soldiers can go door-to-door to enforce mandatory quarantines and evacuations — and authorities think nothing of severing areas from all contact with the outside world.

"In a matter of hours, we can determine what resources to send," Estruch said. "We've thought it out. ... We've considered what to do if we have to paralyze a town, if we have to stop public transit, if we have to close the schools."

It works — but only at the cost of individual freedoms, said Jose Azel, an economy specialist at the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

Cuba "certainly has advantages to do what it wants to do that we can't — commanding people," he said.

Ahhh... the advantages of a totalitarian dictatorship; how has the free world gotten by for so long without it?

5 comments to Who woulda’ thunk it?

  • Larry Daley

    And why should be believe all those Walter Duranty wannabes in the Havana foreign press corps

    if Walter Duranty could lie about what happened in the Ukraine why does everybody realize

    that in a totalitarian country like Cuba it is far easier to lie about something

    than to fix it

    Read S.J. Taylor's book "Stalin's Apologist: Walter Duranty: The New York Times's Man in Moscow"

  • Melek

    Great post Alberto!

    Another example of the "relative world" of progressives ... those who more likely were up in arms with the threat of personal freedoms in the US after the Patriot Act, but have no problem with the lack of personal freedoms in Cuba ...

    What the Cuban regime is doing in controlling the Swine Flu, is an example of their way of effectively collecting and manipulating statistics that are then reported to the UN and other international agencies ... just like the "accurate" statistics on infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in the island.

    I'm sure many people are not aware of this because there's not much out there, but the Cuban government's inhumane practice of "SOCIAL EXCLUSION" for all Cubans who are either HIV positive or have AIDS, is one more atrocity committed by the Castro regime and his immoral legacy.

    Cubans who are either HIV positive or have AIDS are stigmatized. They are victims of discrimination, social isolation and rejection. Once diagnosed with either HIV or AIDS, patients are forced to leave their normal lives and are admitted into designated clinics. Patients must stay at the designated sanatoriums for a minimum of 3 months. Their discharge back to mainstream society is contingent to subjective medical and psychological evaluations by a committee, which determines if the patient is reliable and trustworthy of returning back to society.

    I wish you well :) Melek

    In December 1962, Kennedy offered a blunt summary of the Castro/Che record: "The Cuban people were promised by the revolution political liberty, social justice, intellectual freedom, land for the campesinos, and an end to economic exploitation,” he said. “They have received a police state, the elimination of the dignity of land ownership, the destruction of free speech and a free press, and the complete subjugation of individual human welfare."

  • Funny how getting a shot is supposed to be "demoralizing" but being forcibly cut off from the rest of the world isn't.

  • paul vincent zecchino

    Did the NY Slimes resurrect Herbert Matthews to pimp for castro again? Wasn't once enough?

    Isn't this a fine example of the way in which the marxist Jurassic media, rather than expose communism, instead promotes both it and the butchers who profit by it?

    How very original of the leftist media to tell us yet again why communism is supposedly good for us, and how all our troubles would be over - if only we'd trash our Bill of Rights and let commie goonsquads run our lives?

    Do they still wonder why citizens increasingly ignore them?

    Paul Vincent Zecchino
    Manasoviet Key, Florida
    04 October, 2009

  • firefly

    There is an epidemic of conjuctivitis in Cuba right now. Maybe AP can get an interview with the so called "health department" in Cuba and ask how effectively the Cuban government is handling that.