Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Will democracies recognize that Communist China is a menace, not a trusted partner?

“In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.” - Alexander Solzhenitsyn 

Xi Jinping or Mao Ze Dong: Who will end up being the greatest mass murderer?
Original Source: Freedom Synergy

There is a willful blindness when dealing with China’s dictatorship that is now costing the world much in the way of lives and treasure.

This Communist regime took power in 1949 and to reorganize the Chinese populace, its agricultural and industrial production along communist ideological lines created a mass famine and a death toll of 30 million Chinese between 1959 and 1961that it called the Great Leap Forward

In the midst of it communist China exported 9.6 million tons of grain, that accounted for 20% of famine deaths. Seven million more were killed between 1966 and 1976 in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

During “liberalization”, another half million people were killed, including students and workers massacred in June 1989. A British diplomatic cable, declassified in 2017, revealed that at least 10,000 were killed in the Chinese army's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Despite this history, Democracies pursued a policy of empowering this regime, providing foreign direct investment, turning it into an economic powerhouse

They believed the monstrous regime would change for the better, they were wrong.

China covered up a November 2002 outbreak of an "atypical pneumonia called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)."  Officials became aware of the illness in December 2002 and in January 2003, reports were marked top secret, and anyone who broke the silence on the outbreak would risk punishment for leaking state secrets. Because of the delay in making it public, the SARS outbreak spread to 8,096 people in 26 countries, killing 774 before it was contained.

This pattern was repeated in the November 2019 SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Wuhan, identified by physicians in December 2019, and covered up by the communist hierarchy, who ordered test results destroyed. On December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang “who sounded the first alarms and released initial evidence online” was punished by the Chinese government for releasing the information. He allegedly perished from the Wuhan virus.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on March 26, 2020 that in January 2020 and continuing through February the "Chinese government-backed global property giant Greenland Group were instructed to put their normal work on hold and source bulk supplies of essential medical items to ship back to China."  This was a worldwide effort "sourcing bulk supplies of surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, gloves and [acetaminophen] for shipping." ... "According to a company newsletter, the Greenland Group sourced 3 million protective masks, 700,000 hazmat suits and 500,000 pairs of protective gloves from "Australia, Canada, Turkey and other countries"  

On January 11, 2020 the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission resumed updating infection cases of the new virus after suspending reports for several days. But the Chinese dictatorship repeated its claim that there had been no medical worker infections and that there was no evidence of human transmission, and reported that the number of confirmed cases had dropped to 41. On January 22, 2020 official Chinese TV finally recognizes that the disease was spreading from person-to-person. Two days later, Wuhan, a city of 11 million, was placed on lock down.

Antonio Regalado writing in Technology Review on March 4, 2020 reported that genetic sequencing research showed that the first cases of Coronavirus entered Europe and the United States from China as early as mid-January when both Beijing and the World Health Organization were denying the severity of the outbreak. SARS-CoV-2 has spread to over 721,903 individuals in 186 countries with 33,996 dead and climbing. 

Nevertheless on January 23rd the World Health Organization (WHO), that based its response on reports provided by Beijing, said “
novel coronavirus is not a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).” Seven days later, WHO finally declared the Wuhan Virus a PHEIC, but continued to defend the Chinese response as exemplary.

On February 1, 2020 the United States  announced that it would "deny entry to all foreign visitors who had recently been in China."  The head of WHO criticized the measure stating it, "can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies."  On February 3, 2020, China accused the United States of creating and spreading fear because it had closed entry to recent foreign visitors to China.

On February 3, 2020 news appears in Mother Jones that the Russians were engaged in a disinformation campaign charging that the United States was to blame for the Coronavirus outbreak in Cuba.

Beijing began an effort to sell aide, it had stockpiled, around the world in a highly visible manner in an effort to present itself as humanitarian. However, between 70 to 80% of  the COVID-19 test kits that China firms sold to Spain, the Czech Republic, and Turkey were defective and sparked outrage in these countries.     

The New York Times reported on February 28, 2020 that China was spinning that it was the leader in responding to the Coronavirus outbreak, and accused the United States and South Korea of responding too slowly.  Foreign Policy reported on March 2nd that in the prior week the Chinese had also been peddling that the United States was responsible for starting the pandemic, echoing earlier Russian disinformation.  


The consequences in lives lost and wealth destroyed by this pandemic will take some time to calculate, but at this early date point to large numbers on both counts.

Will democracies learn their lesson that empowering China, a regime that has murdered tens of millions of its own people, and systematically lies about dangerous epidemics should not be legitimized or economically empowered or will short term greed triumph again?

COVID-19 Shatters Cuba's Potemkin Village: Political pilgrims disillusioned with Castroism's failings

Castro regime's malign treatment of tourists continues.

Tourists trying to get out of Cuba before they can no longer return home.
 COVID-19 may finally achieve what dengue, cholera, zika, and hurricanes could not the shattering of Cuba's Potemkin village. Chilean and Mexican tourists are loudly protesting their conditions in Cuba. Carolina Cox, a prominent Chilean social influencer took to social media to denounce the conditions there and called on the Chilean government to get her home, before she erased her social media posts and presence. One would imagine that a retraction or alteration will be forthcoming in Orwellian fashion. She blames the "blockade" for the lack of internet access, but probably never heard of Alan Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison for trying to provide uncensored internet access to a Jewish community in Cuba.


This is a translation of what Carolina Cox said in the above video, and is worth reviewing before continuing to read this blog post.
"Hello, I am one of the 290 Chileans stranded in Cuba. Here in this "hotel" there are 60 people and they are in a center of infectious disease. Foreigners are constantly going in and out, there are plagues of mice. It is not a hotel that was open but they made it available now so that we could be here. ”

“You have to pay for this on your own, which is not cheap, it costs between 25 and 30,000 pesos a day for each one of us. In the case of the Argentine embassy they are covering accommodation and everything for us nothing.”

"Every day counts, we still do not have a flight number and if we do not insist it is likely that we could stay here so I ask for help please. We are also trying not to catch it and that nothing happens to us, because if any of us has coronavirus we are not going to return to our country."

“It is super distressing to be in such a moment in another country and in a country that also lacks soap and toilet paper. We have accounts blocked by the blockade that Cuba has, connecting to the internet is very difficult. ”

"The cards don't work for us. Please, please help us share this video. There are people who need medicine. Their are children, elderly and families. We demand a return plane, that the Government do something, that Copa, AeroMexico, Latam Airliners return us to our country. ”
This is not what they were promised.

Reuters reported on March 11, 2020 the Castro regime's claim that the first COVID-19 victims were "four Italian tourists who were staying at a hostel in the southern town of Trinidad after arriving at Havana airport on Monday had presented respiratory symptoms and were taken to a hospital on Tuesday." They tested positive for the coronavirus the following day.


Panama's Ministry of Health, a day earlier, on March 10th had reported that two Panamanians, ages 55 and 29 who visited Cuba had tested positive for the coronavirus when they returned home. Denying the presence of coronavirus in Cuba had become untenable.

This wasn't the Castro regime's first rodeo. The dictatorship has a long history of attracting tourists to the island under circumstances in which their safety was compromised.  That we know of tourists traveled to the island during outbreaks of dengue, cholera, zika and now he Wuhan virus (SARS-CoV-2). But it wasn't always disease, other natural disasters were disregarded.



In September 2017 when Hurricane Irma, a deadly category five storm with 180 mile per hour winds was bearing down on Cuba and a hurricane watch already issued, tourists were still being flown into the island by British and Canadian travel agencies.The British travel agency "Thomas Cook defended itself saying the company followed the Cuban government's emergency instructions to the letter," BBC News reported.

Cayo Coco suffered the full impact of Hurricane Irma and was destroyed by the storm. They were flying tourists into Cuba to Cayo Coco a day prior to the storm's arrival, as reported by The Independent (United Kingdom).CBC News (Toronto) reported that Canadian tour operator Sunwing had elderly tourists flying into Cuba 24 hours before the Hurricane smashed into Cuba, forcing them to flee for their lives.

Returning to the current Wuhan virus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak one should also take into account the false claims that Cuba had developed a cure. Nicolas Maduro on March 11th tweeted how Cuba's interferon had saved 3,500 lives in China.

Castro's military run tourism company, Havanatour, continued to pitch Cuba as a travel destination and posted a tweet on March 13, 2020 claiming that Coronavirus does not replicate at high temperatures and that the island is now 29-32 degrees Celsius.

On March 14, 2020 the general director of marketing of the Ministry of Tourism, Bárbara Cruz, indicated that Cuba had a strong health care system with which the regime would be able to attend to all the inhabitants and tourists who wish to visit Cuba, with the condition of abiding by preventive measures.


 Steve Sweeney, writing for the MorningStar for Peace and Socialism on March 15, 2020 made the following claim:
"So far it is known that one of the drugs manufactured by Cuba, Interferon alfa-2b, has managed to effectively cure more than 1,500 patients from the coronavirus and is one of 30 drugs chosen by the Chinese National Health Commission to combat respiratory disease."
 The left wing press claims Cuba has a cure for the coronavirus, but the reality is that Interferon alfa-2b is not a cure, and has not even been confirmed to be a treatment for COVID-19.

The testimony of the left wing Chileans and Mexicans stuck in Cuba and their descriptions of what they are experiencing: lack of water, soap, basic hygiene, lack of medicines, and inability to communicate by phone or internet demonstrates the crude reality that exists in Cuba that does not correspond with the images and statements provided by Cuban officials.

Word of warning to these youth, you are no longer in Chile or Mexico.  Freedom of speech does not exist in Cuba, and there are consequences for making the dictatorship look bad.  

It is also important to recall that on March 29, 1997 a soldier of the Castro regime using an AK-47 gunned down a Danish student, who was studying Spanish at the University of Havana. He had crossed to the wrong side of the street, and a soldier fired a warning shot, but the official explanation was that the gun jammed and fired several rounds killing the young man. His name was Joachim Løvschall and he was just 27  years old.

Joachim Løvschall: December 7, 1970 - March 29, 1997


Sunday, March 29, 2020

23 years without justice for Danish student gunned down in Havana by a soldier

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture 1986

Joachim Løvschall: December 7, 1970 - March 29, 1997
Joachim Løvschall was studying Spanish in Havana in the spring of 1997. He was gunned down by a soldier of the Castro regime in Havana, Cuba twenty three years ago today on March 29, 1997. The identity of the soldier has never been revealed to Joachim''s family. No one has been brought to justice. Joachim's family is not satisfied with the official explanation.

The last time they saw Joachim 
 
On March 28, 1997 Joachim Løvschall ate his last dinner with white wine in a little restaurant called Aladin, located on 21st street in Havana. He went to the Revolutionary Plaza and bought a ticket to the Cuban National Theater. Following the performance he went to the theater's bar, Cafe Cantate, and met up with two Swedish friends. They each drank a couple of beers, but soon left because Joachim did not like the music. At 23:30, they said good bye to each other on the sidewalk in front of Cafe Cantate. 


Joachim was never seen alive again. 

The Castro regime's version of what happened

On September 28, 1997 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published an article by Kim Hundevadt titled "Dangerous Vacation" that outlined what happened to Joachim Løvschall and presented the Castro dictatorship's version of the events leading to this young man's death:


Around 23:30, a person matching Joachim Løvschall's description was in a bar named Segundo Dragon d'Oro. The bar lies in the hopeless part of town, around the Revolutionary Plaza which is dominated by ministry and other official buildings of harsh concrete architecture, and lies empty in at night.
At 2:45am he left the bar, after becoming intoxicated. Around 20 minutes later, he was walking down the Avenue Territorial, behind the Defense Ministry.

Joachim Løvschall walked, according to the Cuban authorities, first on the sidewalk that lies opposite the Ministry. Midway he crossed over to the other sidewalk, considered to be a military area, though it is not blocked off.

The Cubans have explained that Joachim Løvschall was shouted at by two armed guards, who in addition fired warning shots, which he did not react to. Therefore, one guard shot from the hip with an AK-47 rifle. The first shot hit Joachim in the stomach and got him to crumble down. The second shot hit slanting down the left side of the neck.
Joachim Løvschall gunned down in Cuba in 1997
Thirteen years ago
 
On June 12, 2007 Christian Løvschall, Joachim's father, at a parallel forum at the United Nations Human Rights Council spoke about his son's disappearance and the struggle to find out if Joachim was dead or alive:
"Although the killing took place on the 29th of March, we only came to know about it on the 6th of April - i.e. after 8 days were we had the feeling that the Cuban authorities were unwilling to inform anything about the incident. Only because of good relations with Spanish speaking friends in other Latin American countries did we succeed in getting into contact with the family with whom Joachim stayed and the repeated message from their side was that they could reveal nothing, but that the situation had turned out very bad and that we had to come to Cuba as soon as possible. At the same time all contacts to the responsible authorities turned out negatively... Only after continued pressure from our side on the Cuban embassy in Copenhagen, things suddenly changed and the sad information was given to us by our local police on the evening of the 6th of April. We are, however, 100% convinced that had we not made use of our own contact and had we not continued our pressure on the embassy in Copenhagen, we might have faced a situation where Joachim would have been declared a missing person, a way out the Cuban authorities have been accused of applying in similar cases."
 Ten years later Christian Løvschall outlined what he knew concerning his son's untimely death:
We do feel we were (and still are) left with no answers except to maybe one of the following questions: Where, When, Who, Why Starting out with the where we were told that Joachim was killed by the soldiers outside the Ministry of Interior.
Where
What we do not understand is why no fence or signs did inform that this is a restricted area? I have been on the spot myself, and the place appears exactly like a normal residential area. So you may question whether this in fact was the place of the killing? Contrary to this the authorities keep maintaining that the area was properly sealed off, and the relevant sign posts were in place.
When
As to when Joachim was killed we only have the information received from the police because of the delay informing one might believe that this is another forgery made up to cover the truth.
Who
The who was in our opinion has never been answered by the Cuban authorities. We understand that a private soldier on duty was made responsible for the killing, and also it has been rumored that his officer in charge has been kept responsible. This is of course the easy way out, but why can't we get to know the whole and true story?   
Why
Why did the soldiers have to fire two shots, one to his body and one to his head, to murder him? Was Joachim violent and did he, an unarmed individual, attack the armed soldiers? Or is it simply that the instruction to Cuban soldiers are: first you shoot and then you ask? But again: Who can explain why two shots were needed?
Despite the claims made by the travel industry there have been other travelers to Cuba who have been killed or gone missing under suspicious circumstances.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Setting the record straight on the Cuban healthcare system and medical missions program

Debunking the Castro regime's healthcare claims

3 patients who died in Cuba of exposure at a hospital facility due to neglect in 2010
There are many myths that the Castro regime has successfully propagated over the years. The international community deeply believes one of the biggest and most dangerous whoppers, that Cuba’s healthcare system under the current communist system is a success that turned the island into a medical super power. This fabricated fiction needs to be addressed to save lives both inside and outside of the island at this critical time. 

These are some of the facts that Havana has spent decades covering up.

The healthcare system that existed in Cuba prior to 1959 was superior to what came after. Professor James W. McGuire and Laura B. Frankel in their paper published in the Latin American Research Review, “Mortality Decline in Cuba, 1900-1959: Patterns, Comparisons, and Causes” found that “Cuba's progress relative to other Latin American countries at reducing infant mortality was even greater from 1900 to 1960 than from 1960 to 1995. During the earlier period, Cuba led all Latin American countries for which data are available at raising life expectancy and reducing infant mortality. From 1960 to 1995, by contrast, it came in fourth and fifth respectively.”

Healthcare in Cuba is not free, nor are the medical missions sent around the world, and at times can be expensive, and unforgiving. Tourists visiting Cuba who have become ill found that they were presented expensive bills for medical care received.

In the summer of 2013 Sheila Dumbleton, age 57, fell ill six days into a birthday trip to Cuba was hospitalized before passing away. “Sheila was left to die because we had no money to pay for treatment, it’s as simple as that. If she had fallen ill in this country she would still be here,” said her husband Ray Dumbleton, who is from the United Kingdom, adding, “As soon as the hospital knew we couldn’t pay, they just left her to deteriorate. All the doctors kept saying to us was ‘payment, payment’ but we simply didn’t have that sort of money to give them.” He wasn’t even allowed to bid farewell to his wife when she died. To add insult to injury, the Cuban hospital wouldn’t release the body, and threatened the husband with prison if he didn’t come up with the $26,700 bill.

Ray and Sheila Dumbleton
Cuba's health tourism effort has roused bitter reproach from the nation's critics, who accuse the Castro regime of creating an apartheid system of health care, in which foreigners - and Cuban party elite - get top-class service while average Cubans must make do with dilapidated facilities, outdated equipment and meagerly stocked pharmacies.These greatly contrast with Cuban elite hospitals promoted by "health tourism" enterprises such as SERVIMED.

Hilda Molina, one of Cuba 's most noted scientists, founder and a former director of Havana 's International Center for Neurological Restoration broke with the regime and resigned both from her high-level position there and as a member of Cuba 's National Assembly to protest the system of medical apartheid.


In a long document smuggled out of Cuba after her resignation, Dr. Molina describes a campaign by Cuba to present itself as a "medical superpower" attractive to foreign patients looking for bargain-basement health care. Instead, she writes, these patients have often found themselves subject to substandard, sometimes fraudulent medical care: "The lack of adequate professional qualifications, the absence of medical ethics, and the drive toward financial enrichment characterize Cuba 's medical system and often yield unfortunate results."

According to Dr. Molina, "Foreign patients are routinely inadequately or falsely informed about their medical conditions to increase their medical bills or to hide the fact that Cuba often advertises medical services it is unable to provide." 

"Free" healthcare in Cuba is characterized by a lack of resources and often times neglect. On January 15, 2010 The New York Times reported the confirmed deaths of at least 20 mental patients at the Psychiatric Hospital in Cuba, known as Mazorra, due to "criminal negligence by a government characterized by its general inefficiency," a day later the Cuban government confirmed that 26 patients had died due to “prolonged low temperatures that fell to 38 degrees.”

Cubans that express disagreement with their political leaders, and government policy have been known to be punished by having medical care denied.

Human rights defender Sebastián Arcos Bergnes, in 1992 was charged with "enemy propaganda" and "inciting rebellion," he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison. Sebastian was transferred to Ariza Prison in  Cienfuegos Province,  more than 130 miles from Havana, where he was imprisoned alongside dangerous criminals and systematically denied medical attention. In 1993 the regime offered Sebastian a deal: He would be released immediately if he only agreed to leave the island for good. Sebastian rejected the deal, choosing prison in Cuba over freedom in exile.



Sebastián Arcos Bergnes in front of his home on May 31, 1995 following his release
Following an international campaign that included his designation as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and a request by France Libertés, the organization founded by former French first lady Danielle Mitterrand, Sebastian Arcos was released in 1995. A few weeks after his release, Arcos was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in the rectum, for which he had previously been denied medical care in prison. After a Cuban doctor was fired from his post for diagnosing Arcos, he traveled to Miami for further care. Sebastián Arcos Bergnes died in Miami on December 22, 1997


Sirley Avila Leon.  Sirley was a true believer who grew up in the revolution and was a member of a local municipal assembly. She believed the claims that free education was a right for all Cubans. This belief left her an invalid and nearly led to a violent death. She lobbied and agitated for a school to be opened in her municipality so that the children there would not have to trek 5.6 miles to go to class and then trek the same distance back to get home.


Sirley Avila Leon
On May 24, 2015, Sirley Ávila León was the victim of a brutal machete attack that cost her her left hand and also left her right upper arm nearly severed and knees slashed, leaving her crippled. She was denied adequate medical care and was told quietly by medical doctors that if she wanted to get better she would need to leave Cuba. The regime had been embarrassed by a campaign she organized to keep a school open. She arrived in Miami on March 8, 2016 unable to bend her legs, or use her remaining had.Thanks to a team of medical doctors treating her, by September 2016 Sirley had regained the use of her hand, and was able to walk short distances.

Lady in White Xiomara Cruz was arrested on April 16, 2016 for speaking out during a human rights demonstration in Havana's Central park. She was placed on parole in January of 2018. She was re-arrested in mid-September 2018 under the charge of being "threatening." On September 19, 2018 she was tried and sentenced to one year and four months in prison. She was sent to a prison 400 kilometers from her home. This was an added hardship for her family to visit her, and keep an eye on her well being.
Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda before and during her jailing.
Over the course of one year in custody of the Castro regime her health radically declined. Rashes that appeared on her body in June 2019 that Cuban medical doctors in Ciego de Ávila claimed to be unable to diagnose. In mid-July she was returned to Havana to La Covadonga hospital

On August 8, 2019 she was transferred to intensive care. Cuban dissident Angel Juan Moya posted videos of interviews from August 6th and August 7th with doctors at the hospital. Family members complained that they are receiving differing diagnoses and her situation continues to worsen. Xiomara was in intensive care and doctors were saying that it could be lung cancer. A doctor refused to update the family saying: "that he did not want to see those people."


Near death she arrived in Miami on January 21, 2020 on a humanitarian visa, and was immediately placed in intensive care.

Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda arrived in Miami on January 21, 2020
This practice of rationing care based on political fidelity has also been practiced overseas. Nicholas Casey’s article “‘It Is Unspeakable’: How Maduro Used Cuban Doctors to Coerce Venezuela Voters” published in The New York Times on March 17, 2019 interviewed Cuban doctors haunted by what the Castro regime required them to do in their overseas assignments.

Dr. Yansnier Arias “had been sent to Venezuela by the Cuban government, one of thousands of doctors deployed to shore up ties between the two allies and alleviate Venezuela’s collapsing medical system. But with President Nicolás Maduro’s re-election on the line, not everyone was allowed to be treated, Dr. Arias said. A 65-year-old patient with heart failure entered his clinic — and urgently needed oxygen, he said. The tanks sat in another room at the ready, he recalled. But he said his Cuban and Venezuelan superiors told him to use the oxygen as a political weapon instead: Not for medical emergencies that day, but to be doled out closer to the election, part of a national strategy to compel patients to vote for the government.”

Dr. Yansnier Arias spoke out on abuses on Cuban medical missions
Casey reported that “16 members of Cuba’s medical missions to Venezuela — a signature element of relations between the two countries — described a system of deliberate political manipulation in which their services were wielded to secure votes for the governing Socialist Party, often through coercion. Many tactics were used, they said, from simple reminders to vote for the government to denying treatment for opposition supporters with life-threatening ailments.”

Not all the Cuban personnel, dressed up as doctors to treat patients around the world, are in fact doctors. Raúl Manuel, a Cuban doctor now in Brazil described in the same New York Times article how in 2015 on Election Day “he was sent to an opposition stronghold. When early returns showed the opposition ahead, a gun battle broke out. … After the shootout, Dr. Manuel said he returned to the clinic, shaken, only to learn that government officials from other departments — including the sports and culture agencies — were going out, too, posing as doctors. ‘We, the doctors, were asked to give our extra robes to people,’ he said. The fake doctors were even giving out medicines, without knowing what they were or how to use them.”

But it was not only for the votes. Sending doctors to work abroad in other countries is Cuba’s biggest export bringing in $11 billion per year to the dictatorship. The Cuban government signs secret agreements with these countries and in the case of Qatar, keeps 90% of Cuban doctors’ wages.

Cuba’s Communist dictatorship, like their Chinese counterparts, covered up epidemics endangering the lives of many. This was most recently revealed in 2019 when Yale School of Public Health’s Nathan Grubaugh and his colleagues estimated that the total cases of Zika in Cuba in 2017 alone would have been 5,700, and added that the “2017 Zika outbreak in Cuba was similar in size to the known 2016 outbreaks in countries with similar population sizes.”

Duane Gubler at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore on January 8, 2019 said “Cuba has a history of not reporting epidemics until they become obvious.” Doctors and journalists who had spoken out warning about past outbreaks of dengue in 1997 and cholera in 2012 have been punished and some were jailed. Elderly Cubans have borne the brunt of revolutionary responses to crises. Between 1982 and 1993 during the “special period” according to a letter published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on July 29, 2008 in Cuba the death rate among the elderly increased by 20% from 1982 to 1993.”

In 1997 a Cuban doctor was silenced for warning about a deadly dengue epidemic. Dr Desi Mendoza Rivero, married with four children at the time, was arrested on June 25, 1997. On November 28, 1997 he was sentenced to eight years in prison for "enemy propaganda." Amnesty International declared Dr. Mendoza Rivero a prisoner of conscience and campaigned for his freedom. He was released on November 20, 1998 due to health reasons following the visit of the Spanish Foreign Minister, under the condition that he leave Cuba for exile in Spain.

First official report to the World Health Organization of the dengue outbreak was six months after initial identification made by the jailed and later forcibly exiled physician. Mendoza Rivero's reports were eventually confirmed. This episode would have a chilling effect on other doctors coming forward.

News of a cholera outbreak in Manzanillo, in the east of the island, broke in El Nuevo Herald on June 29, 2012 thanks to the reporting of an independent reporter in the island. Calixto Martinez, the independent Cuban journalist who broke the story was jailed. The state controlled media did not confirm the outbreak until days later on July 3, 2012. The BBC reported on July 7, 2012 that a patient had been diagnosed with cholera in Havana. The Cuban government stated that it had it under control and on August 28, 2012 said the outbreak was over.

They are doing it again now with the Coronavirus outbreak
Havanatour, tourist agency owned and run by the Cuban military, continued to pitch Cuba as a travel destination and posted tweets in mid-March claiming that Coronavirus does not replicate at high temperatures, that the island is now 29-32 degrees Celsius, and that it was safe to travel there.


On March 20, 2020, The Sun published "WHERE CAN I TRAVEL? Coronavirus travel advice: The full list of holiday destinations Brits can and can’t travel to" by Lisa Minot with a long list of countries either banning or putting strong restrictions on travel, but Cuba was still open for business:
"Cuba - No restrictions on entering the country. Screening on arrival, if presenting symptoms you may be taken to health facilities in Havana." 
This at a time when Cuba is suffering from shortages of soap, and toiletries for Cubans in the island, and conditions in hospitals that do not meet minimum hygiene standards.

Translation:“Cuba is bathed in the rays of the sun all year and taking pertinent measures we have greater strengths to face COVID-19. From the #Caribbean it’s #Cubaisasafedestination. Come visit with #Havanatur.”
Cuban dictatorship officials confirmed that a 61 year old Italian tourist had died of SARS-CoV-2 on March 18, 2020 and a 45 year old Russian tourist with diabetes died of SARS-CoV-2 on March 25, 2020. The true scope of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Cuba is still not known but at a minimum numbers in the tens of thousands, and people are dying. On March 24, 2020 the doors were officially closed to international tourism amidst rising dissent in the population. Mark Fitzpatrick, an American tourist, has gone missing. According to Cuban official media there are 9,000 tourists stuck in Cuba, and being called to quarantine.


 
Without human rights, healthcare is compromised.
Sherri L. Porcelain, an adjunct professor who taught Global Public Health in World Affairs at the University of Miami for more than 30 years, wrote an important analysis titled "U.S. & Cuba: A Question of Indifference?"  Dr. Porcelain's analysis revealed that Cuban healthcare system is not the panacea that it is billed as:
"Investment in the health of people includes protecting human rights. This means allowing the health community to speak out and not to be jailed for releasing information about a dengue epidemic considered a state secret, or not sharing timely data on a cholera outbreak until laboratory confirmation of travelers returning from Cuba arrive home with a surprising diagnosis. This causes me to reflect upon my personal interviews where the remaining vigor of public health actions in Cuba exists to fight vector and water borne diseases. Sadly, however, health professionals are directed to euphemistically use the vague terms of febrile illness in place of dengue and gastrointestinal upset for cholera, in contradiction to promoting public health transparency."
Cubans today are outraged that officials waited until March 24th to take substantive measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and they fear that the dictatorship is preparing to cover up a humanitarian disaster at home while exporting their doctors abroad.