NY Times Helps American Students in Cuba Criticize America

     The limited water, food rations and healthy heapings of Marxist propaganda are free. The political indoctrination is priceless.

     In the December 8 New York Times, reporter Marc Lacey gave readers a look at American students taking advantage of El Jefe’s “full scholarships to poor students from abroad.” But in doing so, Lacey papered over or ignored criticism of the program as Castro’s propaganda tool, even as he relayed the students’ leftist rhetoric against America, including U.S. health care and trade policies.

     “They ask no one to be political – it’s your choice,” Lacey quoted student Jamar Williams, before launching into the leftist political attacks of other American students.

    “There is too much of a focus on the bottom line,” was the complaint Lacey heard from the students he talked with about U.S. health care, saying “most of the Americans here said they had misgivings about the health care system in their own country.”

     Others who had chosen to study in Cuba complained about the U.S. trade embargo. “The blockade, which is what the Cuban government and many of the American students call it, means no care packages, no visits from Mom and Dad, and the threat that their government might penalize them for coming here,” Lacey wrote. One student also criticized the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina.

     Although the Society of Professional Journalists has frequently criticized the Communist regime for not allowing independent journalists to exercise their craft free from government interference, Lacey gave only passing mention to the program’s controversial nature. Some students, he wrote, “cannot help responding” to a “sympathetic portrayal of Mr. Castro, whom the United States government tars as a dictator who suppresses his people.”

     But it’s not just Washington diplomats or politicians who take Castro to task for the medical training program, which Lacey admitted was “decidedly low-tech.” Doctors in other countries have complained Cuban medics are often farmed out to spread socialist propaganda.

     For example, in July 2005, about 400 Venezuelan doctors took to the streets of Caracas to protest Hugo Chavez’s “oil-for-doctors” barter deal with Cuba in which dictator Fidel Castro sends Cuban-trained doctors in exchange for Venezuelan oil.

    Trauma specialist Pedro Carvallo complained to the BBC that while “Venezuelan doctors are underpaid” or often go unemployed, the Cuban physicians were sent primarily as “political agents,” not doctors, and that many of them were not qualified physicians.

     The BBC also reported in June 2006 of a similar protest by doctors in La Paz, Bolivia. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, is an ally of Castro and Venezuela’s strongman Hugo Chavez.