Americas: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is dying of cancer in Havana, in a live demonstration of Cuba’s vaunted socialized medical care. He went there instead of Brazil because he wanted to make a political statement. What irony.
As party cronies hover at his bedside, Cuban officials bark orders to the government in Caracas, and red-shirted Chavistas hold vigils, all signs are pointing to an imminent exit for the Venezuelan leader who controls a huge part of the world’s oil.
He’s going out exactly as he wouldn’t have liked — helpless and at the mercy of doctors, a far cry from the blaze of heroic socialist glory he might have preferred.
Most galling for him: It didn’t have to happen this way.
His expected demise will be entirely due to his gullibility to leftist propaganda and bad choices that came of it.
“In July 2011, during (a)… summit in Caracas, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, told a few of her colleagues — in private — that Chavez was likely to die as a result of ‘his excessive paranoia rather than as a consequence of his serious — yet treatable — cancer,'” wrote Venezuelan consultant Pedro Burelli in a newsletter.
“What she meant to say,” Burelli added, “was that by choosing secrecy in Cuba over medical competence at the Sirio-Libanese Hospital in Sao Paulo (where she had been treated successfully for lymphatic cancer) Chavez had condemned himself to a shorter life.”
Burelli noted that it corresponded to his own sources, who told him that Chavez’s chosen successor, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, flew to Brasilia to meet with Rousseff and her oncologist.
He presented the diagnoses from Caracas and Havana and the Brazilian specialist “considered it treatable under world-class protocols available in his center.”
Maduro signaled interest. But the Chavista regime then demanded to pretty much take over the 400-bed hospital, which the Brazilians rejected. “From that moment on the patient was doomed,” Burelli wrote.
According to a 2011 report in the Wall Street Journal, Chavez chose Cuban medical care over the world-class treatment in Brazil for “political” reasons.
“While Mr. Chavez often lauds Cuban doctors, switching from Cuban to Brazilian care would have suggested the Cubans aren’t capable of world class care.”
And that’s pretty much the nub of it, the incredible desire of Chavez, common to all the left, to defend the myth of Cuba’s top-down health care system as superior to health care in free markets.
Praising CastroCare was a prominent feature of Michael Moore’s 2008 phony “documentary,” “Sicko,” which provided a shot in the arm for efforts to set up a socialized health care system in the U.S. — including the costly monstrosity known as ObamaCare.
President Obama’s campaign website continues to feature events that were held “to provide us with the motivation to continue the fight for health insurance reform.”
As Chavez suffers through four surgeries in Cuba, it’s instructive to note it was the Brazilian hospital — a teaching institution with top-of-the-line tomotherapy equipment, 2,000 doctors, and a record of success for beating cancer — that cured Rousseff as well as then-President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay. But it gets no recognition from the likes of Moore, who still promotes CastroCare on his Web site, while ignoring the private U.S. hospitals the Brazilians model themselves after.
Who knows, had he done so, Chavez might have lived.
Cuba by contrast, remains substandard, with average Cubans forced to bring their own bandages, water and sheets to hospitals that haven’t seen repairs in years.
Recent reports say Cuba cut medical spending from $209 million in 2009 to $190 million last year — “bending the cost curve” by giving less care. Sound familiar?
For wealthy foreigners like Chavez, Cuban officials often misstate their abilities to cure, according to Cuban dissident and top neurosurgeon Dr. Hilda Molina, while left-wing sites such as MRZine praise CastroCare because it doesn’t invest in fancy equipment.
As Chavez dies, Cuba itself may go down too if Venezuela’s energy subsidies end. Cuba’s regime, ironically, might be the last victim of its own foul health system.
A generalidade dos estatistas mundiais quando a situação aperta vão a instituições privadas de qualidade, como a Clínica de Cleveland (vejam bem a lista de pacientes que foram chefes de estado). A própria Dilma tratou-se no Hospital Sírio-Libanês de São Paulo. Foram espertos.
Chávez quis passar uma mensagem política e foi a Cuba. Já sabemos como são as condições do hospitais Cubanos para o povo. Mas também se sabe que há sectores em que são melhores… para quem paga ou tem favores. Mas cada vez menos, como Chá vez agora descobriu. Quando falta dinheiro – essa maldição capitalista – toda a sociedade sofre e este episódio providencia mais um sinal disso.
Chávez pode agora ser admirado pela sua coerência. E pela sua férrea força de vontade. Uma figura que sempre foi pouco esperta e que assim permaneceu até ao fim. Mas, pelo menos, coerente.