According to the Guardian (!):
Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.
Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
Back in 2007 I mentioned a milder version of the same reaction among British people to Moore’s depiction of “empty waiting rooms and happy, care-free health workers” in the NHS.
UPDATE: Hat tips to commenters Jock and Alisa. The Guardian story has now been corrected to say that Sicko was shown in Cuba, confirmed on Michael Moore’s own website. Pity. That was a fun meme while it lasted, but truth must prevail. Moore says that the cable was purely a lie. Not necessarily: indecision as to the “line to take” is not exactly unknown in totalitarian regimes. Both showing the film and forbidding it have their dangers from the point of view of the Cuban rulers.
This round to Michael Moore, but I shall defiantly repeat something I said in 2008:
When the history of Fidel Castro’s rule in Cuba comes to be written all that stuff about the excellence of the healthcare system will turn out to be lies but the claim of high literacy rates will be more or less true.
Communist education gets results because force is near to the surface. I acknowledge but do not approve … A further advantage of communist education is that the wishes of the teachers are given almost as short a shrift as those of the pupils.
Force works well in education because the forcers can look at the forcees all the time they are doing the forcing. It works less well in healthcare and very badly indeed in agriculture.