Only the BBC could possibly publish a full-page editorial about the 50th anniversary of Castro’s revolution in Cuba without once mentioning the word ‘communism’. Not overlooked, however, is a bit of fawning over the Beard himself:
Mr Castro, then a 26-year-old revolutionary, led about 120 fighters in a raid on the Moncada barracks – with a garrison of about 800 soldiers – on 26 July 1953.
So brave! So dashing! So bold! Our hero! (swoon).
Still there are some brief, grudging but nonetheless damning admissions:
His country has gone from being the third-richest in Latin America to one of the poorest.
Its economy now relies heavily on funds sent from Cubans abroad and on tourism.
Untold numbers of Cubans flee the island every year, trying to cross to nearby Florida – including via a truck turned into a raft this week.
Grim reading indeed but completey overshadowed, of course, by Castro’s laudable ‘humanitarian achievements’:
Cuba boasts the highest life expectancy in Latin America and one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
It has one doctor per 166 people and one of the most extensive free public health systems in the world.
It also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with just over 95% of the population being able to read.
Makes you wonder why so many Cubans are so hell-bent on getting the flock out of Cuba. Perhaps they are all ‘extreme right-wingers’.
In any event, I wonder if those oft-touted statistics actually bear any resemblance to reality? Or are they, like Soviet grain harvesting figures, a mere device to provide Western leftists with a tool of apologia. The ‘best healthcare in the world’ schtick is now such familiar copybook mummery that it is even accepted by people who should know better. Perhaps somebody should ask those fleeing Cubans what life is really like.