Walter Duranty is Alive and Well

From the WSJ, about a recent "documentary" on PBS's Newshour

Mr. Suarez's report, by contrast, is like a state propaganda film. In one segment, an American woman named Gail Reed who lives in Cuba tells him that the government's claim of its people's longevity is due to a first-rate system of disease prevention. He then parrots the official line that Cuba's wealth of doctors is the key ingredient. What is more, he says, these unselfish revolutionary "foot soldiers" go on house calls. "It's aggressive preventive medicine," Mr. Suarez explains. "Homes are investigated, water quality checked, electrical plugs checked."...

As to doctors checking on water quality and electricity outlets, the PBS reporter might be surprised to learn that most Cuban homes have no running water or power on a regular basis. This is true even in the capital. In 2006, Mr. Botín says, a government minister admitted that 75.5% of the water pipes in Havana were "unusable" and "recognized that 60% of pumped water was lost before it made it to consumers." To "fix" the problem, the city began providing water in each neighborhood only on certain days. Havana water is also notoriously contaminated. Foreigners drink only the bottled stuff, which Cubans can't afford. In the rest of the country the quality and quantity of the water supply is even less reliable.

This is particularly ironic since, at the same moment this show was airing, state department reports leaked by Wikileaks revealed that the Cuban government banned the showing of Michael Moore's "Sicko" in Cuba, despite the film being wildly propagandistic in favor of the Cuban government.  Why?  Because the portrayal of the Cuban medical system, as in Mr. Suarez's PBS report, was so unrealistically favorable that ordinary Cuban citizens would immediately recognize it as BS.


  1. thebastidge:

    The Guardian retracted the story about the movie being banned, and I can't tell if it was from pressure from Michael Moore's lawyers or if it was simply bullshit. But it does look as though themovie was shown in Cuba.

  2. marco73:

    I apologize for not giving much detail, but I cannot give away too much or secrets may be found out.
    My wife has quite a few extended family members in Cuba. They don't live in Havana, but in the eastern, more rural end of the island. We recently received a couple Christmas pictures of some of her cousins and their families. The people are all smiling, but what we saw in the background of the pictures brings tears to our eyes.
    One of the older relatives has a chronic condition, and requires fresh clean water. They have some sort of Rube Goldberg device in the kitchen that takes in a bucket of water and filters it. The device looks like it has a power supply, but in another picture we see that the power is from an old car battery, and there is a hand crank to provide power to the battery.
    First rate disease prevention my butt. How in the world can these "useful idiots" sleep at night?

  3. Jens Fiederer:

    Here is Moore on Huffington on that topic:

    Mind you, if this were really an attempt to discredit him by "the Bushies", I think it would have seen light of day well before the leak. I have no way of checking up on what was actually played in Cuba, but this is one rare time where I will actually believe Moore.

    Not that this makes "Sicko" any more balanced.

  4. Walter:

    Where I now hang my hat, you don't have to be alive to be well, thanks.

  5. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    Yes, Warren, I noted that the Guardian had retracted that story when you first wrote about it several weeks back (see that entry for link, which explains the likely origination of the faulty meme).

    I was rather surprised then that you didn't correct it with at least an update calling attention to the retraction, I'm a heck of a lot more surprised you've now repeated it verbatim as though it was still likely to be correct. It appears you don't even take the time to read your own comments section.

    It's one reason I don't trust you on the whole Arizona immigration thing at all. You apparently ignore anything that doesn't fit your own beliefs -- for example, the very visible difference between immigration waves shown by this (set the clock back to 1880, pick a nation other than one of the Latin Americans, slide forward to see how the waves behaved... do this for at least 3 or 4 of the national groups. Now do the same for Mexico -- I DARE anyone to claim that the difference isn't almost certainly a qualitative one)