Cuban health care
Luckily for him, he is among the privileged few, so he has access to the best doctors in the country and to whatever medication or equipment is required, including special valves flown in from Korea. South Korea, that is.
When all else fails, the 80-year-old dictator can even call on a Spanish surgical expert, flying him from Madrid to Havana in a government jet, regardless of cost.
Spare a thought, then, for ordinary Cubans.
A story in The Thunder Bay Source, in Ontario, reports that a group of volunteers have spent the past few days un-packaging medicines “that no longer meet Canadian Medical Standards”. The medicines are then re-packaged and sent to “underprivileged hospitals” in Cuba.
The paper quotes a spokesman for the volunteers, Dr. Jerome Harvey, saying his group have been collecting the medicines from local doctors for the past two and a half years, including blood pressure pills, asthma medication and antibiotics.
Dr Harvey said this was because the Cuban government “can't afford to buy a lot of medications”, which is a nice bit of spin, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
“You go into a pharmacy in Cuba and the shelves often are almost empty,” he added.
However, he said, the Cuban government only allowed each person to bring into the country 20 pounds of pharmaceuticals with each visit. So, the volunteers were "consolidating the overly-packaged medications” into different bags to save space.
And so, there you have the sad reality of health care in Cuba today.
Foreign specialists and state of the art medical equipment and medications for Castro while everyone else has to rely on well-meaning volunteers sending in medicines that have been deemed not suitable for Canadian patients.
As my father would say, Le ronca los cojones ...