In “Useful idiots, PBS edition” I wrote about Ray Suarez’s paean to the glories of the Cuban health care system on the PBS NewHour. My post was prompted by Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s Wall Street Journal column “A Cuban fairy tale from PBS.” I piled on Suarez together with O’Grady.
Cuba is a national museum of Communism, and Suarez is a museum-quality specimen of the phenomenon of useful idiocy. Suarez has now responded to O’Grady’s column here. If he has any friends, it’s time for an intervention. The guy requires Communist detox.
Suarez cites statistics supporting the glories of the Cuban health care system: “Cuba has, for a country of its income, very high life expectancy. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low infant mortality. Cuba has, for a country of its income, low rates of infectious disease.”
Drawing on the field work of Katherine Hirschfeld and other knowledgeable sources, I criticized Suarez precisely for his reliance on Cuban health statistics. Fausta Wertz says it all in her brief comment on Suarez’s response to O’Grady: “Suarez forgets to mention that the statistics for any of these are provided by the Cuban government, the same government that has refused access to any independent outside organization to examine the statistics, the criteria for the data, or how the statistics are gathered. Suarez can’t seem to realize that any statistics put out by a totalitarian regime in a closed society are to be questioned.” Alberto de la Cruz has more.
Ray Suarez presents a serious case of useful idiocy. When we say “idiot,” we mean idiot. When we say “useful,” we mean useful to Castro and those whom he admires in the promotion of nationalized health care. And you know who they are.
UPDATE: Reader Scott Lucado piles on with an excellent point:
Thanks for exposing the blockhead Suarez (though I’ve seen enough of his work to have drawn this conclusion already).
What makes me laugh is his constant repetition of “for a country with its income,” as though Cuba’s low income isn’t despite its communism, but precisely because of it.
It’s sort of like writing about Titanic, “For a ship with a massive hole in its side, the lights worked remarkably well.”
How do dolts like this keep their jobs?
We can answer that question. At PBS, Suarez’s idiocy is a bona fide occupational qualification, but we take the point.