Lie Extension in Cuba

Yes, "lie extension." No "f" involved. I rarely comment on any component of the ever present flow of nonsense written on the topic of longevity, "anti-aging," aging and so forth in the popular press. There's always some gullible fool - or journalist with a news hole to fill - out there repeating the latest absurdities as though cast in gold and sealed with a writ of absolute authority. So, of course, I haven't said anything about the matter of life expectancy and Cuba, for all that it's been in the news for a while.

However, I think it's worth noting those who take the time to point out the true nature of the Emperor's clothes:

In a widely distributed news story, the Associated Press last week explained why Cubans were living such long, healthy lives under their 47-year totalitarian dictatorship. Taking the word of Cuban officials, it credited the island's "mild climate," "free medical care" and "low-stress Caribbean lifestyle." Right on cue, CBS gave "thanks to the socialist island state's free health-care system" that's there so "fortunately."

But media claims that socialism lets Cubans live longer makes no sense. Cuba's living conditions portend anything but a long life. The media reports, moreover, often misinterpret the data. "The average Joe reading these stories doesn't have all the background, and can be fooled by propaganda," says Cuban author Humberto Fontova.


From sanitation to housing, "Cubans have experienced deterioration in all health indicators," Mesa-Lagos said. As a result, Cubans have seen an uptick in diseases such as hepatitis and acute diarrhea. The increase of water-borne diseases does not correlate with long life spans anywhere else in the world, he said.

Food and critical vitamin shortages, meanwhile, were also major problems in Cuba, notes Andy S. Gomez, assistant provost of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. "A deficit of Vitamin C and a lack of appropriate diet has caused Cubans to suffer eye diseases," he said.

Mesa-Lagos agreed, saying that a few years ago, elderly Cubans experienced an epidemic of sudden blindness due to vitamin shortages. Worse yet, a third of Cuban doctors had been shipped to Venezuela, leaving many with no access to any health care at all, he added.

Freedom is the root of longevity, because freedom is the root of wealth, in the broadest possible sense. Wealth is exactly technology - wealth is access to resources, and technology is the means by which new resources are made available. Life itself is a resource, forged by our actions, and freedom allows people to come together and rapidly produce that resource for all.

You'd think that knowing now exactly what horrors transpired in the former Soviet Union, people would understand what socialism really means. Socialism and other forms of jealous, centralized control form the path to poverty and suffering - they are anything but the path to longevity.

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