By Cubadebate Editorial Staff
March 19, 2019.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The New York Times published on Sunday a report by its journalist Nicholas Casey under the headline Nicolás Maduro used Cuban doctors and health services to pressure voters.
Using, yes, the alleged testimony of 16 former members of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela, Casey points to the unusual claim that Cuban health workers were used to threaten and even coerce patients, denying them services, if they did not vote for Maduro in the 2018 elections.
According to the Times:
Many tactics were used, the doctors said, from simple reminders to vote for the government to denying treatment to opposition sympathizers with deadly diseases.
Cuban doctors commented that they were ordered to go door-to-door in poor neighborhoods to offer medicines and warn residents that they would be cut off from access to medical services if they did not vote for Maduro or his candidates.
Many said their superiors instructed them to make the same threats in closed-door consultations with patients seeking treatment for chronic illnesses.
A former Cuban supervisor indicated that she and other foreign medical workers received false voting cards to participate in an election. Another doctor said they were ordered to give precise voting instructions to elderly patients whose illnesses made them susceptible to manipulation.
The vicious New York Times report only shows photos of two of the journalist’s alleged 16 medical informants (one now living in Chile and one in Ecuador). His only other sources of information are the opposition mayor of a small Venezuelan fishing village and a notorious participant in numerous anti-Cuban plans: José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas program.
In a meager exercise in the journalism that he claims to defend, the NY Times forgets the contrast of sources and does not interview any Cuban doctor practicing in Venezuela, does not speak with any patient, does not seek the opinion of the leadership of the Cuban Medical Brigade.
Objectivity is not necessary when the clear propaganda objective is to align with the backward forces in the United States seeking, by any means necessary, the goal of regime change in Venezuela. These are the same forces that want to make Maduro’s government, supported by millions of Venezuelans, look like a regime that is only sustained by the support of the military command and the Cuban government.
They are the same forces that promoted the blatant theft of Cuban medical personnel around the world, with the brazen Medical Parole program, which Marco Rubio and others are now trying to reactivate, in their ferocious and failed anti-Cuban campaign.
It is not surprising, then, that Senator Marco Rubio rushed out yesterday to tweet Mr. Casey’s work as a sign of the “decisive Cuban influence in Venezuela. Or that Rick Scott has put on his Twitter account, in Spanish and English, “Using medicine as a political weapon to intimidate patients into voting for the @NicolasMaduro dictator is outrageous, inhumane and disgusting. Where we see chaos and instability in Am. Latina, we also see the footprints of the Castro regime. This has got to stop!
What is repugnant and what has to end is the lie as a political and communication practice in the empire. What has to end is the pretended attempt by Washington to impose its designs on the rest of the world.
No true Cuban doctor denies services and much less risks the life of a patient to achieve political ends. They don’t do it in Cuba with the mercenaries financed by the United States to try to destroy the Revolution, nor did they do it with the mercenaries that invaded us through the Zapata Swamp in 1961. Much less will they do it abroad, where tens of thousands have gone to offer their solidarity and their knowledge.
On the contrary, the work by Cuban health workers in dozens of countries around the world, where they have saved millions of lives and cured millions of patients, have been exemplary. No other nation on the planet treats so many patients outside its borders. Their work has been rewarded by governments, parliaments, NGOs and even the World Health Organization itself.
Since Cuban medical collaboration began in Venezuela, more than 140,000 health collaborators have worked there. Thanks to that effort, at the end of 2018, 127,168,000 medical consultations were carried out throughout the South American nation, and at the beginning of 2019, two thousand new Cuban doctors joined the Barrio Adentro mission to strengthen health care for the Venezuelan people.
In 55 years, Cuba has completed 600,000 internationalist missions in 164 nations, in which more than 400,000 health workers have participated on more than one occasion.
The New York Times is doing itself a disservice by publishing these pieces of propaganda in the Gobbelsian style. The extensive and admirable mission of Cuban doctors around the world is far more powerful than gross lies.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
CNN journalist Jim Acosta is in the news because he had an incident with U.S. President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House. Acosta first asked about President Donald Trump’s description of the caravan of Central American immigrants seeking to enter the United States as an “invasion”. Acosta accused Trump of demonizing them and in the exchange, a White House intern tried to remove the microphone but that time Acosta resisted and asked a second question about “the Russian investigation.”
As a result, Jim Acosta was expelled from the press conference and his White House credential was withdrawn. This has generated thousands of news dispatches. What none of those reports has remembered is that, when Jim Acosta was in Havana, “embedded” in the delegation headed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama who visited the island, he had another tense dialogue. That one was with Cuban leader Raul Castro, but no one tried to take his microphone or put him out of the room:
Jim Acosta: “Why do you have Cuban political prisoners and why don’t you release them?”
Raul Castro: “Give me the list of political prisoners now to release them. Or give me a list of names if there are political prisoners. And if there are those political prisoners, before nightfall they are going to be released.
Needless to say, Acosta did not turn in any lists, but no one expelled him from Cuba because of it.
CNN’s concern, and that of the American press in general, for political prisoners and liberties, and also its hostility toward Donald Trump, is a little selective. During his visit to Israel, which coincided with the numerous and harassed demonstrations by Palestinians in support of their prisoners in Israeli jails, nothing was asked of the Israeli President or said in those media about political prisoners in Israel.
As for the “invasion” of Central American emigrants, mainly Hondurans, neither Acosta nor CNN, nor any U.S. media has alluded to the responsibility of the United States for the state of poverty, social crisis and violence faced by the countries of the so-called Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras), who have been devastated by decades of dirty war and neoliberalism encouraged by Washington.
Particularly in the case of Honduras, when it began a path to address social needs, integrating into the education and health programs of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) was impacted in 2009 by the military coup that began the U.S. counteroffensive in Latin America aiming to re-establish its hegemony in the region. That was led by Barack Obama’s White House, who by the way has been the U.S. president who has deported more immigrants than any other in history.
In Honduras, 15 journalists were murdered after that coup supported by the United States.There is even a video in which the murder of an informant is ordered, after the uncomfortable question to a powerful businessman linked to the coup plotters (see 10:25 minutes of the documentary The Deadliest Place in the World for a Journalist: which has been on the Internet since October 2011), but neither Democrats nor Republicans demonstrated on the matter, much less CNN nor any US corporate media. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=633&v=dvg1JcvC3KM
One thing that Trump, Jim Acosta, Barack Obama, CNN and all the “free press” agree on is that the United States, unlike Cuba, is a country with democracy and freedom of expression, but more and more common things happen there in the countries classified as “banana republics,” a term coined in his volume of stories Cabbages and Kings by the American writer O. Henry to refer to Honduras, something that is the result of repeated military interventions and economic looting, along with the export of violence, armed gangs and corruption, as well as the export of violence, armed gangs and corruption.
But what is happening in Trump’s United States, with scandals over the president’s relations with prostitutes, dismissals of officials for spurious motives, and even brothel owners who win elections even after death, surpasses novels like The Autumn of the Patriarch or the Resource of the Method. Of course, these are conclusions too deep to be told by Jim Acosta or CNN, and, if they were to be addressed, it would be to say that it is the exceptional result of the management of an irresponsible madman, never of a system where he sends the money and thanks to which a tycoon who runs a country as if it were his company was able to become President.