Michael Moore Propaganda Too Much Even for Castro

Via the Guardian.  No commentary really necessary (via Q&O)

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.

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."

In continues:

The cable describes a visit made by the FSHP to the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital in October 2007. Built in 1982, the newly renovated hospital was used in Michael Moore's film as evidence of the high-quality of healthcare available to all Cubans.

But according to the FSHP, the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. "Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is 'off-limits' to them," the memo reveals.

According to the FSHP, a more "accurate" view of the healthcare experience of Cubans can be seen at the Calixto Garcia Hospital. "FSHP believes that if Michael Moore really wanted the 'same care as local Cubans', this is where he should have gone," the cable states.

A 2007 visit by the FSHP to this "dilapidated" hospital, built in the 1800s, was "reminiscent of a scene from some of the poorest countries in the world," the cable adds.

The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006. The vice-minister of health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for gastric cancer surgery.


  1. Mark:

    I know that Coyote uses the "Coke and Pepsi" analogy to describe the political parties, but think about what type of suspension of reality that a person needs to have believed the Michael Moore claim in the first place. You can disagree with the "right's" position on social issues; you can show that when the Republicans were in office they did not act as true fiscal conservatives; but nowhere does a Republican believe in such fairy tales.

  2. John:

    I read your blog faithfully each day (time permitting). Generally I find your posts to be pretty accurate ... But,

    You really should take the source (US "diplomat" in Cuba) into account before accepting the cable as factual, i.e. "No commentary really necessary."

    It seems the movie Sicko was in fact playing in Cuban theaters when the cable was written. And, was shown to the Cuban public on national TV April 25, 2008.

    We are all busy, but we should not be too busy to apply a little common sense before posting about items from Cablegate.


  3. Rob T:

    Yeah, the brouha now is that it was shown repeatedly in Cuba, and Moore is using that as an example of how everyone's against him.

    One of the issues with cables is that they are akin to gossip. Some truth, some heresay. Funny how Moore doesn't address the allegations that he used an elite hospital as an example and that VIPs routinely get their treatment outside of cuba, tho. Conveniently ignores the other aspects of the cable.

  4. John Moore:

    John, are you saying that Wikileaks might not be reliable?

    Let's pull this string a little further. Perhaps US intelligence seeded Wikileaks with false intelligence - an old trick in the intelligence game, but Wikileaks folks are no doubt suckers for such things.

    In any case, there is no doubt whatsoever that Michael Moore, the real sicko of the story, puts out nothing but leftist propaganda.

    I wonder if he knew about this cable *before* he provided bail for Assange today?

  5. Michael Haley:

    Very few people have accurate information from Cuba because the government there controls all visitors and what they can see. It is a totally impoverished country and it is highly unlikely that they can afford world class health care for most of their people.

  6. WhiteSnow:

    @John, you are so right, "...take the source (US “diplomat” in Cuba) into account...". Do any of us really trust our government not to lie to us?

  7. markm:

    "but nowhere does a Republican believe in such fairy tales."

    Most Republicans believe that the police and DA's are magically free of the inherent incompetence and corruption that describes most government.

  8. milton:

    Michael Moore is a naive fool, but his lame film "Sicko" was not in fact banned in Cuba. The Guardian has admitted their mistake and published a retraction: http://tinyurl.com/28x79tg

  9. morganovich:


    a bit of a quibble, but that is not a retraction. they are reporting on what moore said, but not retracting what they said previously. astoundingly, they appear to have made no effort to do any fact checking. i have no idea who is telling the truth, but that is some amazingly shoddy jouralism.

    how hard is it to verify what was on TV?

  10. Violi Lesson:

    This is a great post. i will bookmark this page fur reference

    violin lesson

  11. Chris:

    Good grief folks. Moores defense consisted of citing the Cuban Health Minister and their equivalents of Pravda. Looks like the old useful idiocy towards the USSR is alive and well today still.

  12. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    Umm, The Guardian appears to have withdrawn the piece.

    Reason appears to have come up with an explanation where it got started.

  13. Dan Smith:

    Waiting for a diligent reporter to talk to people in Cuba to confirm or refute the story. MM is the last person who should be interviewed. Does Cuba allow internet access or is it like Iran, China and other freedom loving places?

  14. Lorenzo from Oz:

    If it was broadcast, do we know if it was the full version?