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‘America lied about Cuban ban of my film’ – Michael Moore

America said ‘Sicko’ had been banned in Cuba, so as to discredit its damning portrayal of the US’s healthcare system.

THE UNITED STATES made up a story suggesting that Michael Moore’s documentary movie ‘Sicko’ had been banned in Cuba, in hopes it would discredit its portrayal of the American healthcare sector, the director has claimed.

Writing on his blog, the award-winning documentary maker – best known for his films Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine – poured scorn on the claims of a leaked diplomatic cable in which the United States said the film had been banned in Cuba.

The cable in question, published by the Guardian yesterday, read:

[A doctor, whose name is redacted] stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” as being subversive.

Although the film’s intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.

When the [Foreign Service Health Practitioner] showed Sicko to a group of [redacted], some became so disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room.

Moore believes that the official who authored the memo, Michael Parmly, had relayed a “made-up story”.

Such was the warmth of the genuine response in Cuba, Moore wrote, that the national broadcaster aired it on television in April 2008 – an airing that was so well received that the film was then distributed in cinemas, a rare feat for a US film in Cuba.

“I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of ‘Sicko’ were set up in towns all across the country. In Havana, ‘Sicko’ screened at the famed Yara Theatre,” Moore wrote.

But the secret cable said Cubans were banned from seeing my movie. Hmmm.

The publication of the leaked memo containing what he said was a false story was “a stunning look at the Orwellian nature of how bureaucrats for the State spin their lies and try to recreate reality”.

Moore said he assumed this was done “to placate their bosses and tell them what they want to hear”.

Sicko was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2007. Moore had previously won that award for Bowling for Columbine, a film which dealt with the easy availability of firearms, in 2002.