Cuba banned Michael Moore’s “Sicko” for fear of public backlash

The latest revelation from Wikileaks shows that Michael Moore may have been a bit too good at making agitprop even for Cuban authorities to handle:

US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show that the government of Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, “because it painted such a ‘mythically’ favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a ‘popular backlash’, according to US diplomats in Havana.”

It continues:

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room.” Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”

  • procopius

    That’s odd, wasn’t Sicko supposed to have presented a pro-socialized medicine case?

  • Russ

    This has been proved false. Didn’t the idea of doctors storming out of a government showing of the film in protest raise any red flags for you?

  • tarran

    Yes, in fact the Cuban government showed Sicko on TV.

    Apparently the notion that the propaganda was too crude for Cuba, was actually based on a review of the film written by a Cuban ex-pat doctor, who speculated that even the Castro regime wouldn’t dare to put such a blatantly false rosy picture of the Cuban health care system. Unfortunately, this speculation was converted to ‘fact’ by some other bloggers who then fooled a few tens of people, including whomever wrote that cable.

    This item does, however, point out how utterly worthless governments are; this is the same tripe that Russian spy ring here in Mass were sending to their masters back in the capital in an attempt to justify their pay.

    That the Cuban govt might ban it is somewhat plausible to those of us who are aware of famous propaganda blunders; back in the 40’s (I think) the Soviet Union decided to show a movie version of the Grapes of Wrath in an attempt to show how heartless capitalism was. It backfired; the Russians learned that in the U.S. the poor had cars, something that even the relatively well off couldn’t afford in the workers paradise.

    On the other hand, as Russ pointed out, storming out of a meeting with the party is a great way to earn a one way trip to a prison in Cuba. That was a the reason why I thought the story was a bit fishy when I first heard it.