Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau's Praise of Fidel Castro Gets 'Three Pinocchios'

Turns out you shouldn't trust dictatorships to provide reliable data on health care and education.


What, me woke?
DonkeyHotey/Alex Guibord/Flickr

Canadian Prime Minister and woke bae Justin Trudeau earned some well-deserved mockery for his fawning statement praising long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro upon his death last week.

Among Trudeau's more guffaw-inducing platitudes were his description of the self-declared Maximum Leader who ruled over his island nation as "a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century." Conceding the tyrant who denied his subjects any rights of free expression or the ability to leave the country without permission was "a controversial figure," Ottawa's pretty-boy-wonder breathlessly declared Castro "made significant improvements to the education and healthcare" of Cuba.

Reason contributor Marian Tupy took on this oft-repeated claim by Castro supporters and apologists, but the Washington Post's "Fact Checker" columnist Glenn Kessler focused specifically on Trudeau's statement, ultimately awarding the prime minister "Three Pinocchios" for his willful gullibility.

Kessler writes:

Trudeau appears to accept outdated Cuban government spin as current fact. The reality is that education and health care were already relatively vibrant in Cuba before the revolution, compared with other Latin American countries. While the Castro regime has not let that slip — and given greater access to the poor — it is a stretch to claim Castro was responsible for "significant improvements," especially more recently.

Many other Latin American countries made far more dramatic strides in the past six decades, without the need for a communist dictatorship; Cuba simply had a head start when Castro seized power.

Noting that "police states generally are not known to provide accurate numbers," Kessler concedes it is hard to definitively compare the Cuban government's stated accomplishments with other countries that were able to instill social welfare reforms while also maintaining a modicum of economic and political freedom.

That said, Kessler cites data compiled by Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a Cuba specialist affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, which shows that "from 1989 to 2014, the number of hospital beds [in Cuba] declined 29 percent, hospitals fell 37 percent and family doctors plummeted 61 percent." Kessler adds:

Reporters have also documented that Cuban hospitals are ill-equipped. A 2004 series on Cuba's health-care system in Canada's National Post said pharmacies stock very little and antibiotics are available only on the black market. "One of the myths Canadians harbor about Cuba is that its people may be poor and living under a repressive government, but they have access to quality health and education facilities," the Post said. "It's a portrait encouraged by the government, but the reality is sharply different."

As far as education, Mesa-Lago is quoted as saying, "Cuba probably has the best-educated population in the region, but the considerable investment in human resources is partly lost due to the low wages paid and lack of incentives that force professionals to emigrate or stay but abandon their state work and shift to private nonprofessional activities that allow them to survive."

This is a long way of saying that in impoverished communist Cuba, a great many highly educated people are better able to provide for themselves as cab drivers and cooks than as doctors and scientists.

But Trudeau, convinced of Castro's "tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people," has no time to look into how the deceased ex-dictator broke his country while living like a king. According to Kessler, the prime minister's office declined to cite any facts to back up the statement on Castro, but did offer, "Canadians have had an unwavering commitment to the Cuban people for decades" and that Trudeau's statement would speak for itself.

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  1. And when I told you people he’s the intellectually lightweight version of Obama, you didn’t believe it was possible…

    1. That’s an already really low bar being set there. Thinking that people can go lower is a hard thing to grasp…

      1. Something about Limbo and wishes comes to mind

    2. Nonsense.

      Obama was the U.S.’s “Chauncey Gardner.” Trudeau’s our version of the same.

      That’s why The Hair That Walks Like A Man? feels such an affinity for Obama ? game recognizes game.

      1. The funny thing is, there’s a scene in Being There when the black lady who worked with Chauncey’s late employer pretty much calls the media on their racism because they’d never accept such platitudes coming from a black person.

        (That having been said, I hate the movie. It’s maddeningly and tediously idiotic.)

  2. Most people view their parents through some sort of lens – either that colors them as better than they actually are, or worse than they actually are.

    In the case of Justin, he clearly sees his biological daddy through very rose colored glasses. 😉

    1. I’ll now break with tradition, and speak in favor of Trueau senior. That hair is the proof he’s the real father. Neither Margaret nor Fidel could have produced a hair so lustrous and shiny. It’s Robby Hair International.


    2. “I guess when you look at [Fidel] through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”

    3. Justin clearly just took his father at face value.

      Which makes him a rube.

      My father used to say all sorts of things which we sometimes challenged and questioned.

  3. Justin, just remember. It’s not a lie… if you believe it…

    1. Isn’t that still called ignorance?

      1. No, sociopathy, psychopathy, dissociative disorder, and few other DDXs.

  4. “Castro “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare” of Cuba”

    This is a long time Democrat talking point. Once they’ve latched onto something like this and it’s taken hold, they NEVER let it go, ever.

    I remember when Obama had first started to thaw relationships with Cuba, there was a rumor circulating on the left, that Cuba had actually cured cancer. That was proven false too quickly to take hold, so we won’t hear that particular lie anymore. But the ‘Cuba has the greatest healthcare in the world’ will go on forever, and make a big comeback in popularity as soon as the GOP kills off most of Obamacare.

    1. cont…

      We don’t hear much anymore about how Canada or the UK have the world’s greatest healthcare and the reason is that Americans actually travel to those countries quite frequently and know people there. So it’s very difficult to hold on to those lies. It’s much better to claim this about Cuba, a country that almost no Americans have ever been to. Once diplomatic relations and trade has been restored between the US and Cuba, that fantasy won’t last much longer either. I suspect that next, North Korea will be the fabled land of greatest healthcare ever, since no one can actually go there to disprove it.

      1. I suspect that next, North Korea will be the fabled land of greatest healthcare ever, since no one can actually go there to disprove it.

        Notice how many fatties in North Korea? One. Alcohol and drug consumption per capita is among best in the world. Carbon footprint also world-class per capita; they hate cars, favor public transport, and never fly. Oh, zero racism against black people or hispanics anywhere.

        And they might have a kind of a wall thing going on their southern border, but they gladly welcome any immigrants who cross over from the south looking for better opportunities and are more than willing to share their socialist paradise. Dennis Rodman might be over the hill, but still waaay better celeb endorsement than Scott Baio (giggle). Tons of common sense gun control, too. Only proper authorities are armed; how many shootings in Pyongyang this year NRA? Yeah, thought so.

        1. how many shootings in Pyongyang this year NRA?

          Do executions by anti-aircraft gun count?

          1. Law-enforcement-related incident involving lawful tactical kinetic response.

            So, no.

            1. You know, after I heard that and did my best to confirm it’s true, googlin and whatnot. One can only come the conclusion that they must execute so many fucking people that they are now just looking for ways to spice up the tedium of daily executions. Firing squad? Nah, dunnit. Hangin? Nah thats shit’s old. Hey! How bout we drain their blood and sell it to Cuba? Nah they can’t afford it. DUUDE! We should test fire some old russian A.A. Awesome! Haven’t done that yet. Call dear leader tell him we have new method, maybe we get extra rations for the awesomeness.

    2. I point out that if the changes they made to education and healthcare are on par with that of their automotive state, then it is all for naught. The problem with these people is that they are always more impressed with language and abstracts than with facts. To these usual idiots the measure of a great healthcare system is one that claims to be available to everyone and is free. Forget that like all other commodities, healthcare is a resource that is scarce – because of the cost associated with getting even the lowest standard of care ? and free healthcare for anyone basically requires a level of compromise that renders the whole thing meaningless.

      That there is no medicine for the sick and/or that the hospitals, if you go by the state of their cars, are using outdated and fragile technology from the fifties, means little if you can social signal that the crappy system is free and for everyone like the collectivists feel it should be.

      Of course, that Fidel kept bringing a foreign doctor to look after him is the best indictment of this idiotic system.

      1. Pretty much.

        When I was in Cooba, let’s just say I wasn’t impressed and found people who talked it up to be disingenuous romantic retards.

  5. Pajama boy in his maple leaf onesie likes Castro’s education and healthcare programs?

    The opposite ends of the two major parties strive to become the caricatures their opponents make them out to be.

    . . . and not just in America.

    1. Pajama Boy, upon learning of no escape from the Trumposaur, crawled back into mom’s womb and is currently protesting for a free abortion paid under Obamacare because he’s not yet 26.

  6. …Trudeau’s statement would speak for itself.

    Well, it did. And it didn’t say anything complimentary about Trudeau.

  7. Looks like that hoser doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking aboot, eh?

  8. Looks like that hoser doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking aboot, eh?

    1. The squirrelz agree, guy.

  9. “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century.”

    That word “serve” is what really grinds my gears, and always has. Slaves serve. Conscripts serve. But people earning 6 figure salaries like Trudeau are not f*cking serving anyone. Hillary did not spend her entire adult life in “public service” either, despite what her hubby repeatedly told us this past campaign season.

    Castro didn’t serve his people. His people served him — and suffered on top of it.

    1. What ground (?) my gears was that AND him saying ‘on behalf of all Canadians…’

      1. They’re on a Responsible Government Westminster system. He’s just flexing the royal prerogative.

        1. Fuck that.

      2. You folks elected him as your leader, so anything he says counts for all of you. Didn’t you know that?

  10. That caricature is way better looking than JT actually is. As sick as I am over all the journalists and facebook friends gushing and virtue-signalling about their crush or “man crush” on this doofus, at least he has earned it with the kind of silver-tongued empty prog demagoguery that Obama has long suggested was a winning strategy. His reputation for physical handsomeness, though, is totally unearned. He looks OK, maybe about as good as Obama. Maybe I am just upset because Pena Nieto is not getting the same love despite being 100 times as good looking and as a short Latino I know his pain.

    1. My wife says I’m hotter.

      1. Same here!

        Truth be told, I suspect she’s bullshitting us both.

        1. Looks like Mrs. Rufus is getting around!

        2. Heh.

    2. That caricature is way better looking than JT actually is

      Beat me to it.

  11. “but did offer, “Canadians have had an unwavering commitment to the Cuban people for decades” and that Trudeau’s statement would speak for itself.”

    I hate the Liberal party of Canada.

    1. It is the “natural governing party of Canada”! In fact, it’s the party for which the phrase “natural governing party” (i.e. the UK Conservatives) was coined. And I have to say I am convinced. Only an election ago it was on everyone’s lips that they were going to go the way of their UK counterparts and lose the center-left slot to the socialists (NDP). Then they come back suddenly stronger than ever. Impressive!

      1. They have ruled most of the time. But they never were this bad!

      2. Trudeau has decided to flip the Liberals further to the left, which I was on the record (as an actual party member) as being a bad idea. I wanted a return to the slightly-dumb-but-still-moderately-well-managed centralist Liberal Party of the 90s, Trudeau wants a Liberal party that caters to the NDP and social justice crowd. Hopefully it’s not a permanent shift and their movement dies when his career does.

        1. But how did the Liberals, strengthened as they were by all the old Red Tories, lose to a united Right led by an Alliancer who supposedly is considered to be a very offputting American style conservative? And hadn’t the Liberals been kept in power that whole time anyway by the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives and the disunity on the Right? And then the Liberals lose three elections as soon as the Right unites, the last of which has them suffering the most humiliating collapse since…well, the Progressive Conservatives? What makes you think that you have the winning formula, since it was Trudeau’s strategy that pulled off this amazing comeback?

          Obviously I do not know much about Canadian politics; I’m just curious if you can shine a light on it.

          1. I’d argue the two switches (Lib -& Cons and Cons -& Lib) were both precipitated by the incumbent accumulating stupid policies and scandals, confident opposing voters would continue to split their votes between the opposition parties. Which is a strategy that works right up until it doesn’t.

          2. A little late, but the Liberals ran two god-awful party leaders after Martin lost in 2006 (and a lot of that had to do with Martin’s general lack of charisma and a bunch of scandals). First they ran St?phane Dion, who was a generally unlikable French environmentalist who half the country couldn’t stand, then they ran Michael Ignatieff, a guy who taught in British universities for over two decades and almost deliberately came off as ‘not Canadian’, which killed his appeal. For the last decade the Liberals have been seen as having no idea what they’re doing and no idea what they really wanted to represent, other than the fact that they were ‘Canada’s historical ruling party’.

            Then they changed the way they vote for party leader and Trudeau comes along, the son of their ‘greatest leader’, and he criticizes the other candidates for “working too hard to make good policy and not enough on connecting to Canadians”. He wins largely due to the new voting rules basically allowing anyone to sign up and vote. He leads a massive emotional appeal to the voters, where he basically treated them like they were idiots. Oh, and legalized weed. But that appeal worked for a lot of people and the Tories just had constant scandals going on up until 2015. So they lost, Trudeau gets his majority in Parliament, the Liberals swing left (but I think the Old Guard are still a lot more pragmatic than Trudeau’s inner circle) and now we’re stuck listening to this moron.

            1. In regards to whether I have the ‘winning formula’: Trudeau’s strategy didn’t pull off this comeback, it’s mostly the Tories’ incompetence and corruption gave the Liberals the victory. Trudeau did present a new, ‘youthful and positive’ face for the Liberals, and there is a percentage of the population that will suck up his social justice and ‘legalizing weed’ positions very positively, but it can’t last. The man is fundamentally a narcissistic moron who is going to push policies that will alienate the ‘average Canadian’. The carbon tax is going to get people bitching and moaning, and if the economy continues to get worse the Tories can run on an ‘I told you so’ platform, considering one of their chief arguments was that Trudeau is an economic illiterate. A lot of the next election depends on who ends up Tory leader, but I think that the Liberals will at least lose their majority next cycle. We could honestly see a Trump-style rejection of his positions sometime down the road.

      3. Whenever I see ‘NDP’ I chuckle, because that’s the acronym for Germany’s modern Nazi party.

  12. I too would have an unwavering commitment to the people whose prosperity I’m pilfering, right up until my jet takes off for friendlier shores just ahead of the lynch job.

  13. Never mind that what health care Cuba did have, and that was so strongly favored for being egalitarian and accessible [sucked for everyone, equally] it was propped by the USSR and for a time after that implosion by Hugo C before he died and his country imploded…eureka, I see a pattern here.

    And of course praising a communist dictator remains “cool” in a liberal sense, in that is does not conform to boring conventional wisdom and has that certain gene se qua of controversy about it, like the speaker is not afraid to speak it, so he must be cool…as an independent thinker not tied to conventional wisdom. It pretty much goes around and around that way.

    Hard to believe we as a society cannot outgrow this adolescent bullshit, and continue to elect guys with hair and not much to support it, but it looks and sounds good.

    1. …and I just learned that “bae” means poop, in Danish.

      1. Dude, “liberal” is not the preferred nomenclature. “Progressive,” please.

        1. Self proclaimed “liberals” were admiring communism long before some of them morphed into what is now called “progressive.” So if the foo shits…

          1. They called themselves progressives 100 years ago, then that word became tainted by the deeds of radical progressives like Hitler and Stalin so they decided to start calling themselves “liberals”. They destroyed that venerable term by being outright illiberal, and pulled “progressive” back out of the memory hole.

  14. The comments are awful.

    What is wrong with people who defend that piece of shit?

    To me, anyone who make apologies for him is an asshole. Simple really.

  15. From the linked WaPo article:

    “In particular, gaps between the rich and poor were narrowed after the revolution.”

    Yep, they printed that. As if it were something to be proud of.
    Steal all the money from anyone with enough to eat, and you’ll get a very ‘equal’ population very quickly.

    1. A society where the top capitalists have private islands, mansions, and sports cars, while the bottom live in reasonably comfortable apartments with Internet access and multiple TVs is really, really unfair. It would be way more fair if everyone had to live in shantytowns and eat dirt.

      Why won’t you pay your fair share?

  16. The reality is that education and health care were already relatively vibrant in Cuba before the revolution, compared with other Latin American countries. While the Castro regime has not let that slip ? and given greater access to the poor ? it is a stretch to claim Castro was responsible for “significant improvements,” especially more recently.


    Even in its condemnation of Castro, WaPo still manages to spread the lie that healthcare is the same everywhere. I wonder if these people truly thinks there is parity between being treated in Havana and Miami, and that the only difference is the incurred personal cost.

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