Is Fidel Castro The Latest Victim Of Socialized Medicine ?

According to a new report from a Spanish newspaper, Fidel Castro’s current condition may be due to failures in Cuba’s vaunted nationalized medical industry:

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban leader Fidel Castro chose to avoid a colostomy and opted for riskier intestinal surgery that led to serious complications, the Spanish newspaper El Pais said in its Wednesday edition.

The problem is that the procedure that they did in place of the colostomy didn’t go well, and has apparently caused serious internal infections.

U.S. doctors said Tuesday’s report in El Pais suggested Castro had received questionable or even botched care.

“It sounds like they tried to spare him the colostomy, which would have been the safer and more conservative approach,” said Dr. Meyer Solny, a gastrointestinal expert at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Now, of course, doctors make mistakes even in the United States, but there is some delicious irony in the idea that Fidel may be dying because of the incompetence created by his own system.

H/T: Classical Values

  • Josh

    Give me a break. You don’t suppose his advanced age and the very risky nature of the operation had anything to do with it do you? Are people dying of “delicious irony” in Canada as well?

    Socialised medicine is not your enemy, but dying from lack of proper health care IS.

    Our fellow Republican Schwarzenegger knows this, soon the whole of the US will as well! (If you’re lucky)

  • Bill Whitlatch

    Well our system cost me a heart ! Yes I was the victim of medical negligence that resulted in having to have a heart transplant @ age 44. Then the meds taken to prevent rejection recently cost me a kidney ! No I am not diabetic. At least in some countries everybody can get some sort of health care.

  • GD

    Hey Bill in a social system you would have been dead by now. Don’t think you would have received a stress test at age 40 in a social medicine system. Most the systems in Europe are two tier (Except Canada). And yes the rich get better care than the poor. Social programs do help infant mortality and some common diseases. However I do not think you would have received a heart transplant. Too much money to spend. You can spend that cost on immunizations or Pap smears and get more bang for your bucks. Sorry about your health. That really sucks.

  • JoWee

    1st timer here. The genius of this blog is a spellcheck for comments.

  • gene

    Hey Bill,

    The fact that you arte here to complain about this system is a function of the wonders of this system.
    It is expensive, bureaucratic, frustrating, etc, but if you are sick and I mean seriously so, then there no other place you would rather be!
    Your situation is more a function of rotten luck than a dismal health care system.
    That said, I am not saying nothing could be done to improve it some, but be careful what you ask for since you just might get it!
    Best wishes for your future health.

  • Kurt

    While I was in Spain a few weeks ago, it was widely rumored that Fidel had been “smuggled” into Spain for surgery. You can read more about this in the “In the News: Spain” section of my blog.

  • T

    “delicious irony”?

    Wow, glad I’m not part of your world. How can you get a ‘delicious irony’ out of someones illness?

    And for those who think this is a Fidel supporter, you’re wrong.

    I would have hoped that some of us would hold ourself to a higher moral principle. I guess not.

    P.s. There is no ‘delicious irony’ in the balls up many of experience daily in “our” medical system.

    1st timer here/last timer.

  • Jono

    But but but.. what about the wonderful utopian health care that everyone tells me Cuba has ?

    You say it ain’t so.. I thought Cuba has state of the art emergency rooms in every street !

  • Doug Mataconis


    Fidel Castro is one man whose suffering I will not feel sad about, not after you factor in all the suffering he has caused the Cuban people for the past 40 years.

    I’ve got a cigar waiting for when he finally kicks the bucket.

  • Jesse

    The Cuban medical system is world-class – not something you can say for other Carribean nations! Would you rather have an operation in Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad or Jamaica. I agree that there are loads of problems inherent in a one-party dictatorship without free speech, but let’s not be so dogmatic that we can’t admit that the Revolution improved a lot of people’s lives in a lot of ways.

  • VRB

    Castro is over 80 years old. We can’t all live forever.

  • michael

    The news said he opted to not have a colostomy. The doctor said that the colostomy would have been safer. Using Castro’s decision to attack Cuba’s medical system only illustrates motive.
    Cuba send doctors to Venezuela, we send attack helicopters and “advisers” to Columbia, and sell arms. Which do you think are more appreciated?

  • Andrew

    Well, Columbia is a very good school.

  • James

    it must be terrible for Cuba to have a lower infant mortality rate than the USA and the UK! they must hate the socialist medical system that gave them more doctors working for the WHO than any other country in the world – and the highest imunisation rate in the third world!!!

    In reply to GD, Europeans have a one-tier system, either a national health system or a compulsary national insurance system… in the UK private medicine has been declining, and you DO receive heart transplants. Someone i know had the worlds best heart surgeon preform an operation on her, it was funded by the state, it cost nothing! The USA’s health system is catastrophic and evil.

    And “delicious irony” – you disgusting person!!!

  • Pingback: Right Mind : Oh, the Irony of it all()

  • James

    how great is the right-wing – how many iraqi’s have you killed today?

  • James


  • Adam Selene

    Jesse wrote:

    but let’s not be so dogmatic that we can’t admit that the Revolution [in Cuba] improved a lot of people’s lives in a lot of ways.

    Oh please. This is like arguing that other dictators were good because of some single aspect they improved. For example, Mussolini’s Fascists really did get the Italian train system to work significantly better than before they were in power. That doesn’t change all of the truly disastrous outcomes and decisions made by them, nor that they were authoritarians who made the the entire lot of the Italians (and the Ethiopians, Albanians and Greeks) much worse.

    The real question is how much better off Cubans would have been without Castro and a Communist revolution. It’s quite likely that they would have been much better off had their history proceeded other than it did.

  • VRB

    The Cubans that would have been better off are here in the US.

  • mick

    The real question is how much better off Cubans would have been without Castro and a Communist revolution. It’s quite likely that they would have been much better off had their history proceeded other than it did.

    That’s nonsense, Adam. Batista was running a police state complete with Death Squads, and on the point, to all intents and purposes, of selling Havana to Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Life in Cuba may not be perfect now, but it must be paradise compared to what it would have been like if Batista had remained in power.

  • Adam Selene

    It’s nonsense to assume that Batista would have stayed in power forever. Or even much longer. Life in Cuba now is no better than under Batista. Castro and his thugs run a police state, with death squads and political prisons. So, the Cubans got to replace a tyrant with ………….. another tyrant.

    VRB, when people in a free market get wealthy, the market increases the wealth of everyone.

    It is simplistic to portray Cuba in 1959 as an either/or situation and it would have been bad if Batista stayed in power, but not bad with Castro. Or better with Castro.

  • VRB

    A lot of people waited a long time for what you say to be right. I wasn’t implying who would have been ruling Cuba better. I just know that colorism and racism play a more important role, than most people would like to believe no matter how free markets are.

  • Adam Selene

    free markets are the equalizer. Jim Crow laws, for example, were passed because markets were providing blacks in the south with opportunities that some whites didn’t want them to have.

  • VRB

    In Cuba, tradition substituted for the Jim Crow laws here. If Batista’s government had succeeded in Cuba, it was not like the US, nor was their economic system. The one thing that the Civil War and the industrial revolution did do was to break up the plantation. The plantation system was alive and well in Cuba.

  • Adam Selene

    *sighs* yes, in 1959 there were all sorts of problems holding a group of people in economic peonage. That does not mean that the only solution for them was Castro’s revolution. Nor does it mean that Castro’s revolution was the best outcome of the ones that were possible. We have this tendency to view the past as inevitable and immutable. That leads us to view the “good” or “bad” outcome as either best or worst.

    Unfortunately, I see some very minor improvements economically, that were more than offset by the new Communist plantation system, being touted as a good outcome, even as the best possible outcome.

  • VRB

    Was I making an argument for Castro’s government?

    “VRB, when people in a free market get wealthy, the market increases the wealth of everyone.”
    Has this been true for the lowest caste in India?

  • James

    “VRB, when people in a free market get wealthy, the market increases the wealth of everyone.” this is an oxymoron, for example venezuela liberalised its markets in the late 1980s and watched the poverty rate increase from 50% to 80%! hence the election of socialist hugo chavez!

    basically the free market is built on competition… we compete until someone loses, hence the free market sees the rich get richer and shrink in number and the poor get poorer and grow in number. trickle down economics has failed EVERYWHERE – latin america, the united states, europe – the american empire is dying, neoliberalism has failed, now it invades countries like iraq enforcing these ideals on them as a last refuge before the global tide of rejection to free market rampant capitalism washes over them too.

  • Brad Warbiany

    James, you’ve got that backwards. In a country with property rights and the rule of law, the rich get richer and the poor get richer.

  • Adam Selene

    James, you are so deep in your ideology that you have lost touch with the actual real world.

  • VRB

    Did I have a comment that got eaten?