I got a reddened bite on my leg and yesterday I woke up with my body aching all over. The first thing I thought was that I’d become infected with dengue fever, which has reappeared—as it does every summer—in the neighborhoods of my city. Fortunately I didn’t have a fever, so by mid-morning I ruled out that I was sick with this virus, also known as “break-bone fever.” In any case I can’t be sure that I won’t catch it, since very close to my house there are several cases and in these rainy days the number of mosquitoes increases.

The most striking aspect of the presence of this disease among us is the official failure to report the number of infected or to mention the word “dengue” in the new media. If you go to the hospital with all the symptoms, you receive a treatment in which the six letters that spell the wretched word are never spoken. On television they broadcast ads about how to counteract the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but no one ever mentions that this is due to the existence of dengue among us. Without statistics or data, we citizens are reconstructing the number of infected based on rumors that come to us from friends and acquaintances. The alarm grows, because we always suspect there’s a higher incidence than that which reaches our ears.

The silence around dengue corresponds to the permanent intention to not confess anything that damages the image of the country. To say that in our tropical “paradise” the disease has become endemic and common and that tourists should be warned of its outbreaks, exceeds the bounds of honesty permitted by our authorities. However it does not acknowledge it, nor reduce the fever, nor calm the worries of the sick and their families. On the contrary. They can put the name as dengue, or hide it in gibberish like, “fever, joint pains and rash,” but this doesn’t frighten away the risk; it does not help us to forget that come July and August it is an inseparable presence in our lives.


17 thoughts on “Unnamable

  1. This one is good. The bottom commentator is “shocked” that there is dengue in Cuba. Horrible! He should know, he is from USA, where he had dengue too… And then a bunch of right-wing ignorants talk about some nonsense how revolution is good yet, when a revolution against the right-wing governments happen, that is a terrorism. Double standards. Just plain ignorance.

  2. The Cuban regime are experts in Keeping things from the rest of the world and even other areas of Cuba, thanks to the media being owned by the regime itself.
    Have anyone heard of a hepatitis Out break in Santiago De Cuba ? well there is one to the extend of Hospitals being overwhelmed , yes the free hospitals I just heard here mentioned to thank God for, with no bed sheets, no pillows and a piece of foam in an old rusty bed and then the reused needles and IV catheters, which are used over and over, yes Yoani Give thanks to God, but for your health not for the so called Free Medical, the very same one you are paying for with your sweat and allows you to make slave wages of $15 Dollars a month, yes give thanks to God the nightmare will be over soon.
    Vaya Free Medical !

  3. Sorry to hear that the American (I am American) can’t seem to find medical care when he/she needs it. Even without insurance one can ALWAYS receive treatment whether at an ER or free medical clinic. I know. I have two nurses and a physician in my family and I myself have worked in a children’s hospital that provides free care to children with orthopedic needs. Our ER’s are filled with uninsured people waiting to receive treatment for a simple cold to broken bones and more. And we have a lot of excellent Cuban physicians and other healthcare providers. God Bless them all.

  4. Julio,

    I agree with your point of view but was taken back by the reaction of all these leftist leaders to meddle immediatly in a country that is not their own, even to threaten them with military force.

  5. 291RCR:

    Let me ask you something: Do you know how a tooth was extracted in Cuba just following indications from USA?

    Let me explain it to you.

    This is a TRUE story,,,,a real case!!!!!

    A woman in Havana City, Cuba, had a very bad toothache that required the extraction of the tooth,,,,,,then, you can image how painful it is a toothache!!!!

    To do that, the Dentist was supposed to use anesthesia , but, that day, the clinic did not have availability of anesthesia, because the Government was able to supply just anesthesia for one week, which can be translated to 30 patients per week, which mean, that only 10 patients will be the lucky one to use the anesthesia, under normal circumstances!!!!!!, because the rest of the anesthesia for the other 20 patients would be distributed to solve the emergency of the friends or special cases of the doctor and his friends.

    In this case, the Dentist said “You should come back next week, then, If I did receive more supply of anesthesia I will extract the tooth”!!!!

    Then, the woman, recalled that she had a friend (that was me) who has a sister who is a dentist, but, she is in USA also, then, the woman called me and after I know the problem, I called my sister, then, my sister called to Cuba, spoke with a Dentist which is her friend, then, I told the woman what to do, then, the woman went to the clinic where that Dentist was working and there was the necessary anesthesia that the Dentist was able to use to extract the tooth, just because the Dentist wanted to serve his friend (my sister) that at the same time , if he needs anything, any help from my sister he knows that he will get it.

    This situation is the daily bread in the life of each Cuban!!!!!

    Did you know that?

    What is your opinion about it?

    Be honest!!!,,don’t be a loyal licking hand dog of the System and let us know your feelings about it!!!!!


  6. Well done Honduras!!!!!,,,there is a point where the people have to decide, taking to the left or to the right,,,, there is not any other choice, because if you stay in the middle, then, the best example during more than 50 years has been CUBA!!!!!

    Honduras has been under Zelaya’s Government for several years, then, Honduras people, has been able to see that the way for Honduras’s Government was right to be a Communist System or whatever you wan to call it,,,,,,but, there is not doubts that Zelaya was sucking Chavez boots, licking his hands and following the indications and expertise of the Cuba’s Government.

    Then, it will be better to get one big “eruption” just in a few days than to get thousand of little eruptions for so many years!!!!.

    At the end, just Jesus Christ was the only one who put his cheek over and over,,,,without protest,,,and what happened?,,,he was crucified!!!,,,that is why Honduras now, is doing exactly the right thing, after been debating, getting agreements, etc, etc, to reject the bad policy of Zelaya.

    That’s it,,,well done Honduras I wish Cuba would have done the same thing 50 years ago,,,just God knows how much suffering would have been avoided!!!!!


  7. Dengue is a problem here too,and the auothortie’s,though try their best,ca’nt always beat the mosquito’s.Reading about how authoritie’s fail to give a precise number remind’s me of our IDP’s,and their number’s.

  8. Yoani this night before you retire please say a short pray of thanks for the free medical care you receive in cases that you have described. Here in America the number one worry is the lack of medical care and the fear of going to a hospital for the cost is overwhelming. Twenty per cent of Americans suffer the fiat of no medic care.

  9. Capiro
    Ok I guess I have to say this
    Just because we think that the president of Honduras was going on the same direction as Chavez does not justify the means.

    There should be a way to get people like this off power by constitutional means.
    Without having to get into a military take over.
    Democracy suffers when something like that happens even if it happen the guy we do not like I believe we should still supporting him.

  10. ARTICLE: International Intervention in Honduras

    “Venezuelan ruler, Hugo Chávez, with an extraordinary deployment of influence and financial resources, including military threats, has backed with aggressive vocabulary the installation in Honduras of a government similar to his in Venezuela and Castro’s in Cuba. The international intervention has reached the extremes that the President of Argentina, Cristina de Kirschner, was going to land in Tegucigalpa with the President of Paraguay, former Bishop Lugo. At some point, it was also said that the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, was going to Tegucigalpa. All these presidents are also chiefs of the Armed Forces of their countries. This must be emphasized because they risked a military action against them by the constitutional army of Honduras. These rulers should be in their own countries instead of being personally intervening, in Honduran soil, in the affairs of that Central American country. For several days, they have been absent from their respective capitals where fundamental duties require their presence.”


  11. Dengue
    I was not concise in my earlier post. I should have said that after you have had one of the 4 types you have greater risks if you then get a infection from one of the other 3 types

    Air conditioning in itself does not exclude mosquitoes, but the effort put into sealing air leaks is a major step in cutting down exposure. Keeping infected people out of contact with more mosquitoes is a critical part of preventing epidemics. I do not think that the Cuban government does nearly enough in this regard.

  12. I too have had Dengue. I was really sick, barely getting out of bed for most of a week. After 3 or 4 days it went into a cyclical phase where I was feeling better for a few hours and then, bam, it would hit and down you went. While not as bad as the initial onset, with rocketing fever, the cyclic phase is bad because you think you are over the worst and you try to go back to work only to get hit again. three weeks after onset any mildly strenuous physical activity resulted in the rapid onset of a splitting headache. West Nile almost killed one of my friends and my other friends who have had Malaria describe some of its symptoms as worse than what I experienced. I hate mosquitoes. In Cuba they have neighborhood patrols that come by and check your house and yard to see if you have any standing water in flower pots ect. Dengue has 4 serotypes, or variants. If you contract a case of one type you have immunity to that type for a number of years. If you contract a case of one of the other types, or 2 types at once you are at much greater risk for comming down with DHF dengue hemmoragic fever. deadly. The mosquitoes that carry dengue are closely associated with man, they like disturbed areas and can breed in little stagnant waters they like to come out in the early morning and at dusk and bite your ankles. They are not the tiny mosquitoes that buzz around your head all nite, nor the swarming monsters that are so thick in the coastal marshes of gulf states.
    Having personally experienced the quality of drinking water available in rural Cuba I know that there are a lot of health statistics that the regime touts that must be total fabrication.

  13. The only thing that the Government was ready to publish and disseminate everywhere has been anything against the USA, trying to use it as a shield and excuse for every mistake done by Castro and his mafia gang.

    With that objective in mind, Castro used any of his failures to excuse it, with arguments such as : “The dengue is here, because the USA was in charge of introduce the virus”, “The Pig Fever is here , because the USA, was the one who introduced that virus in Cuba”,,,,,and like that, there are millions of charges against the USA.

    However, all Cubans should remember :

    That every time that Castro was playing to be a Doctor, or Engineer, or Veterinarian, or Architect , or Scientific ,or “Babalao”!!!!, or anything he wanted to be, he had thousand of followers all around him supporting his little games cheering each of his alleged achievements, does not matter is he was totally wrong, the slogan was “If he wants it , then, it was all right , because he is a genius”!!!!.

    Based on that, he destroyed the forest all around Havana City with his famous “Cordon de la Havana” (Havana shoelaces)when he wanted to sow cafe where there were larges forest and plantations of mamey, mango, and hundred of other kind of threes.

    He did the same thing in other towns, cities and provinces, he wanted to convert plantations that were use to produce rice, as sugar cane areas, or mining areas, or anything he wanted to do, without any kind of experience, or any kind of scientific or technical basis, just because was “his brilliant idea” was suppose to be done.

    He wanted to produced 10 millions of tons of sugar cane in 1970, with the intention of exceeding the previous mark achieved before his Government, but he never was able to reach the 10 millions,and the amount of sugar that he was able to produce, 9 millions tons,,,, yes, was new record!!!!,,,bud, 10 times more expensive than the amount reached before.

    Those 9 millions that he was able to reach in 1970, were done based on sacrificing a lot of areas that were converted to be sugar cane areas without the real conditions to it, and using 10 times more peoples during the period of time that lasted the harvest, which started in October 1969 and ended in June of 1970, on the contrary, the harvest of 1957 lasted only the normal 4 months and was done with the usual work force to be able to reach close to 8 millions.

    One of his little games, was fill the Island with holes, digging trenches all over the Island to defend it against the alleged USA invasion.

    Most of the times, those holes were done without the proper cares, and generated accidents, contaminated groundwater, and finally were forgotten , to be reopened later, whenever he wanted to create a new panic state against USA and his paranoic
    idea about the USA invasion!!!!

    The list of his crazy ideas is very long, but it is longer the list of abuses, and mandatory commands to do anything he wanted to do, which has included, killing, prison, marginalism , etc, to anyone who made a minimum warning against his idea.

    Now, that the Genius is partially out,,,,I don’t know who will be the new “brain” creating that kind of monstrosities!!!!!,,,we will see!!!!


  14. The same way that the “dengue” word can’t be mentioned in these days, happened when hundreds and hundred of Cubans were killed on those African wars from the end of 70s until the middle of the 90s.

    All Cubans knew that a lot of them were killed or badly injured , but, most of the times the dead one was buried in African soil, just to avoid the “physical witness of a corpse” and his funeral in every Cuban town, and, the wounded ?, most of the times they were “war heroes” that after short period of time were totally forgotten.

    Then, the prohibit phrase or words were “there are many Cubans dying in Angola,Ethiopia, etc”.!!!!!!

    That was a secret that everyone knew!!!!!,,,this is just one more example in the long list of crimes, oppression and brutality that the Cuban’ s Government has been done in more than 50 years,,,,,and this situation has been repeated stage by stage in each necessary period,,,without any hesitation,,,,Castro and his mafia gang don’t care about Cubans human life,,,that’s it!!!! very simple!!!!!!!!!!


  15. I never would have thought of the existence of Dengue Fever in Cuba…just proves how the media manipulation of the presence of this illness is effective. I personally have had Dengue Fever (confirmed for me by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta after my blood sample was tested in several labs) and it is quite a miserable affliction.

Comments are closed.