December 2, 2016

Hypocrisy and lies against Cuba: A letter to Tory MP David Anderson

TJ Petrowski

The following is a letter to David Anderson, Conservative MP for Cypress Hills-Grasslands Saskatchewan. It exposes Mr. Anderson and the hypocrisy of those politicians who have put forward a deceitful campaign against the Cuban Revolution in the wake of Fidel Castro's death.

Dear David Anderson,

I am writing to express my disgust with your false and outright disgraceful polemic in the House of Commons recently about the death of Fidel Castro and the revolutionary government of Cuba.

I’d like to respond to some of your criticisms of Castro and of the Cuban “communist regime.”

Quoting an unnamed ‘Cuban friend’ of yours you claim that Cuban healthcare, far from being the ‘model of the world’ like that pesky organization called the United Nations says it is, is unable to provide the most basic services. According to this ‘friend’, Cuban hospitals don’t even have any aspirin!

Did it ever occur to you or this ‘friend’ that Cuba’s economic difficulties could be attributed to the U.S. embargo on this small island nation rather than being indicative of the failure of the Cuban social system? U.S. policy has been to make life as unbearable as possible since Batista, the 'good dictator'. Does Operation Northwoods or the Bay of Pigs Invasion sound familiar to you? Those operations certainly were in no way intended to benefit the masses of Cuban people. According to a 1997 report by the American Association for World Health, the 54-year-old U.S. embargo “has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens,” causing “a significant rise in suffering-and even deaths-in Cuba.” The same reported applauded the Cuban government for averting a “humanitarian catastrophe” by maintaining “a high level of budgetary support for a health care system designed to deliver primary and preventive health care to all of its citizens.”

Your ‘friend’ claims that Cuban hospitals lack basic medicines and medical supplies, and this you use as evidence of the failure of Cuba's healthcare system. Yet, despite the Cuban healthcare system’s apparent inability to provide its people with such basic medicines like aspirin, Cuba has managed to achieve a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S.! Impressive for a country devoid of painkillers, wouldn’t you say? A case could be made that if Cuba's healthcare system is as you and your 'friend' describe and it has nevertheless achieved a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S., then this is indicative of the failure of the U.S. healthcare system, which by the way your Party and its former leader Stephen Harper have enthusiastically supported that country's health system, not Cuba's.

Your criticisms of Cuba’s human rights record and lack of Western-style democracy are about as laughable as yours criticisms of Cuba’s healthcare system. With all due respect, you are far from being qualified to lecture the Cuban government about democracy and human rights! Let me remind you of the democratic and human rights achievements of the former Harper government, which you so dutifully served in as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Foreign Affairs: First government in the whole Commonwealth to be found in contempt of Parliament. Largest mass arrests in Canadian history. Passed the most repressive security legislation. A Canadian citizen can now be arrested on the mere suspicion of future dangerousness! Your government cozied up to apartheid Israel. Regardless of what you might think of Cuba’s human rights record, in no universe has Cuba committed a fraction of the heinous crimes the Israelis have committed against the whole Palestinian nation. Nobody, not even you with your flawed and distorted logic, can accuse the Cubans of genocide. Your government systematically undermined Indigenous rights, medicare, environmental protection, democratic debate, and the right to collective bargaining. Your government formed a majority government with 38% of the popular vote! On what planet is that a democracy? The Foreign Minister you served couldn’t even provide an answer to a Jordanian reporter that asked how a government could hold all the power with 38% of the popular vote? With a record like this you are hardly in any position to be criticizing the Cuban political system.
David Anderson and friends campaigning against women's rights. Cubans won the right to choose in 1965, more than 20 years before Canadians.

As for Cuba's human rights, are you aware that at no time under the rule of the man you called a "tyrant," Fidel Castro, was Cuba's incarceration rate as high as that as the U.S.?  Neither has Cuba, unlike the U.S. and Canada, been bombing countries back to the stone age and torturing people abroad in U.S. run torture camps. There wasn't a war in the world your government didn't like, and your government aided and abetted the illegal incarceration and torture of one of its own citizens. Finally, the United Nations slammed your government for "increasingly serious violations of civil and political rights in Canada." Among these were your government's refusal to take action on the 1,200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women, repressive security legislation, and the use of the CRA audits to shut down charities not in line with your government's ideology, among many other serious violations. I hope that you do some research and fact-checking next time you decide to fulminate in the House of Commons.

Best Regards,

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