Originally posted at American Thinker blog
The President of Venezuela’s dependence on Cuban healthcare obviously failed him, because Hugo Chávez is dead. In a July 16, 2011 New York Times article entitled “Chávez Puts His Trust in Castro for Care,” Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, was quoted as saying “For Chávez, questions of trust, political loyalty and control trump all other considerations. Fidel is one of the few people in which Chávez has utter faith and trust. He is prepared to entrust his health to Fidel, even if he could get better treatment elsewhere.”
Notwithstanding Chávez’s “utter faith and trust” in Fidel Castro and the Cuban National Health System, the Venezuelan dictator has now officially assumed room temperature. America should pay heed, because if Hugo could speak from the grave it’s likely he’d say that caution should be exercised before placing all your healthcare eggs in the wrong basket.
For political reasons and in order to maintain the type of secrecy propagandists require in order to retain power, Chávez chose La Habana’s Centro de Investigaciones Médico Quirúrgicas (CIMEQ) and its incompetent doctors to treat his cancer. The hard truth is that according to some, the cancer that killed Chávez, had it been diagnosed correctly, was treatable.
The curious thing about all this is that Michael Moore’s Cuba wasn’t Chávez’s only choice for healthcare. It is alleged that at a summit in Caracas, Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff told colleagues that Chávez would die as a “result of his excessive paranoia rather than as a consequence of his serious – yet treatable – cancer.”
Rousseff should know; she herself was successfully treated for lymphatic cancer at the Sirio-Libanese Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. When Chávez refused the invitation to come to Sao Paulo for treatment, the Brazilian president even offered her country’s best doctors come to Caracas to assist with his care. Chávez declined the offer and stuck it out in Cuba.
Over the years, Hugo Chávez has subsidized Cuba with $5 billion annually and sent them 115,000 barrels of oil a day, both of which should have ensured him top-notch medical care. The problem is that the best that socialized medicine had to offer the ailing dictator turned out to be not quite good enough, because from the looks of things, not-quite-good-enough is the best socialized medicine has to offer – even to billionaire dictators.
A Venezuelan pulmonologist living in Naples, Florida named Jose Rafael Marquina with “first-hand sources and information about the president’s health,” called Chávez’s Cuba-care “complete disorder.”
Dr. Marquina explained that Cubano doctors originally misdiagnosed the nature and location of Chávez’s tumor and subsequently botched two surgeries. Then, an already dire situation was compounded when Chávez was given high doses of the wrong chemotherapy drugs and steroids, which caused the tumor to “mutate,” making it impossible to treat. This is how Cuban socialized medicine cared for an important bigwig?
Yet, even after all that, Chávez insisted on going back to Cuba for a third surgery. That type of allegiance can only be likened to Americans going through a disastrous first term with Barack Obama and then, rather than refusing further treatment, inviting the Mad Dr. O to continue administering high doses of the wrong medicine for another four years.
Marquina claims he repeatedly suggested to Chávez that he travel to the US, since in Cuba “they have no experience in these cases.” Unmoved by such logic, Chávez chose to return to Cuba and the ramifications of that choice resulted in protracted suffering from an untreatable cancer, a severe respiratory infection, septic shock, mechanical respiration, excruciating pain, and premature death at 58 years of age.
To this, most would say hallelujah; the world is down one socialist dictator who surely won’t be missed. But what Americans should really pay heed to is Hugo Chávez’s loyalty to Fidel Castro’s Cuban healthcare system and what it ultimately got him. Obama loyalists might not want to admit it, but Chávez’s blind faith in something that failed him bears a striking resemblance to the ‘Hope and Change’ crowd’s unwavering faith in both the president and his vision for Obamacare. The latter group may not realize it just yet, but because of their lapse in good judgment everyone is now at risk to meet the same painful, chaotic end as Hugo.
In the wake of Chávez’ death, what is worth noting is that the deceased Venezuelan president reigned over a South American country, had $2 billion squirreled away, and had unlimited access to doctors Cuba considered their finest. Yet despite those formidable perks, Hugo is still very much dead – which should prove to Obamacare believers that socialized medicine couldn’t even save one of the world’s most dedicated socialists.