Have We Become Accustomed To Dirt?


Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

A teenager writes — with his index finger — the words “Wash me” in the dust on the window of the bus. A mother asks her son what the school bathroom is like and he confirms that “it stinks so much you can’t go in there.” A dentist eats a french fry in front of her patient and with unwashed hands proceeds to extract a tooth. A passerby lets his pizza — just out of the oven — drip cheese over the sidewalk, where it accumulates in a pool of fat. A waitress cleans the tables at Coppelia Ice Cream with a smelly rag, and puts out glasses sticky with successive layers of badly scrubbed milk. A spellbound tourist drinks a mojito in which several ice cubes made from tap water are floating. A sewer overflows a few yards from the kitchen of a recreation center for kids and teens. A cockroach quickly darts along the clinic wall while the doctor listens to a patient’s chest.

All this and more I could enumerate, but I prefer to summarize what I’ve seen with my own eyes. The hygiene of this city shows an alarming decline and creates a scenario for the spread of disease. The cholera outbreak in the east of the country is a sad warning of what could also happen in the capital. The lack of health education from the earliest years of life lead us to accept filth as the natural environment in which we move. The material shortages also raise the epidemiological risk. Many mothers reuse disposable diapers several times, stuffing them with cotton or gauze. The plastic bottles collected in the trash serve as containers for homemade yogurt or for milk sold on the black market. The inadequate water supply in many neighborhoods reduces hand washing and even the number of baths per week. The high prices and shortages of cleaning products further complicate the situation. It is very difficult now to find stores selling mops to clean the floor and detergent is also scarce. Keeping clean is expensive and complicated.

Last week the media announced a new health code for food handling, an undoubtedly welcome measure.  But the serious hygiene problems plaguing Havana will not be resolved based on decrees and resolution. Educating about cleanliness,  extolling the need for cleaning from an early age, will be a critical step to achieve real results. Schools must be a model of neatness, not a place where students have to hold their noses to use the toilet. The teachers must transmit standards of cleanliness, just as they teach speech and mathematical formulas. It should also be cheaper to maintain a supply of products to wash our bodies, our clothes and our homes. This is essential and imperative in our current situation. We need urgent measures that don’t simply remain on paper but that touch the conscience, shake this acceptance of the dirt surrounding us, and return to us a clean and cared for city.


94 thoughts on “Have We Become Accustomed To Dirt?

  1. I was in London when the police was killing innocent people on the tube and people were running in hysterical panic and screaming their lungs out.

    Was also in london when the people tried to raise and police beat them like there’s no tomorrow.

    Wanna sum’ de mock racy, ye bast**ds? Get this batton instead!!!!

    Meanwhile the rest of the london was hiding in their homes, listening in terror the screams of innocent people being beaten up day and night, police and ambulance sirens filling the nights with their terifying pitch and the flames of the city replacing the sun during the night.

    For weeks…

    Just recently too.

    De MOCK RATS sorting out people and their right to revolt against opression and governmental dictatorship.

    Cuba, with all its shift, doesn’t come even close to the terror and opperssion exercised by the nazist criminals in “democratic” countries.

  2. Thanking to the post 92 for admitting that the usa is just a nazist ulag.

    bush family is well known for their close ties to nazist getmany and to bin Laden family.

    What more can we ask for.

    Ah, the firing squad for the terrorist and traitors.

  3. From 1899 to 1958 the illiteracy rate dropped from 72% (Census of 1899) to 18% (Cuba’s Ministry of Education archives) for persons older than 10 years of age, a remarkable achievement. Cubans were not just literate but also educated.

    There is a pattern from the regime to inflate the percentage of illiterates prior to 1959, by using the illiteracy rate of the 1953 census of 23.8%. Fidel Castro on December 17, 1960, in the CMQ-TV program “Meet the Press” affirmed that “The illiteracy rate in our country is 37.5%.” In the Central Report to the First Congress of the Party in 1975, Fidel said that “on the date of the Moncada (1953), 23.6% of the population over 10 years was illiterate.” [1]. In spite of what Fidel said, the document “V Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1997, referring to the period before 1959 says “a country with more than 40 per cent of illiterates.” [2]

    The regime eventually acknowledge the real number, which indicated that in 1961 from a total of 929,207 identified as illiterates, 707,212 were taught to read and write; 221,995 did not acquire these skills [3].

    In 1961 the population over 10 years was 5.15 million, and the number of illiterates 929,207. The actual illiteracy rate based on the regime figures was 18 %, the same percentage than in 1958. It is obvious the cooking of the figures by the regime.

    [1] Fidel Castro Ruz: Informe Central al Primer Congreso del Partido. Editado por el DOR del Comité Central del PCC, Habana, Cuba, 1975, p. 27.

    [2] Granma Internacional 1997, http://www.cartadecuba.org/Doc%20PCC-97.htm

    [3] Verde Olivo (Havana), August 16, 1968, pp. 40-43 – En ese año se habían localizado 979.207 analfabetos y de ellos se habían alfabetizado 707.212; de la población cubana, entonces estimada en 6.933.253 habitantes. Quedaban sin alfabetizar 271.955

  4. Cuba Libre writes:
    “Is it the revolutionary government`s fault if the dentist doesn`t wash his hands?? Is it the revolutionary governments fault if the passerby lets the cheese fron his pizza drop to the floor and not clean it??”

    the answer is yes. you are only as good as your leader.

  5. For the info of ret .ards who don’t know what Assange IS sought for in Sweden:

    Assange had CONSENSUAL SEX with the two accusing women. When one found out about the other, she accused him of “constitutional” rape. She accused him of not having a condom, which is a “constitutional” rape in swedish law.

    Even when a woman consents to sex, like she did.

    So, EVERY DAY MILLIONS OF SWEDE MALES are raping their wives and girlfriends (and some like buffon, helpless and alike “de MOCK RATS” rape their boyfriends).

    To a ret. ard it may seem all too much to fathom. The posts below confirm my grave fears in that respect. It suffices to say that the woman who felt betrayed ended up with a nervous breakdown during police investigation and refused to testify in the court, ended up in a hospital and is now in self-imposed hiding. Both women, surprise surprise, are or were at some time recently “activists” for a “free Palestine”, but as it turned out were actually police informants and were in close contacts with the nazit gulag’s secret police. SWEDES SERVING THEIR WHITE “GODS” TOO. WHAT A DISGUSTING HUMILIATION FOR SWEDES.

    Since you are all stu **d beyond belief, read it all in the huffington post.



  6. Simba Sez: My dear Mr. Damir, Had you ever thought about starting your own blog. You could then write about all of the great and wonderful things the present Castro regime has done for Cuba, Cuba’s people, and even write about other countries with impunity. Instead of always being negative, as you always are, you could be writing positively for a change. Now wouldn’t that be a lot more desirable than penning the derogatory crap you do on here? This should be very helpful to your outlook on life, and you will begin to smile from time to time. I can see your entire life changing for nothing but the better. Please let me know as soon as you do so that I may comment on it from time to time.

  7. FYI Dumber: Assange is wanted in Sweden for two counts of sexual assault. Maybe you think that’s no big deal, or that certain special people get a pass for rape if they utter pro-form anti-American diatribes, but the British govt respects the rule of law.

  8. OTTOWA CITIZEN: Cuban defector from women’s baseball tournament identified – By Marty Klinkenber

    EDMONTON – The Cuban baseball player who disappeared overnight Monday from Edmonton in a suspected attempt to defect is Odrisleisis Pequero Del Sol.

    A 21-year-outfielder from Ciego de Avila, 460 kilometres east of Havana, Pequero appeared in just one game at the World Cup of Women’s Baseball before going missing from Lister Hall, the residence at the University of Alberta playing host to the eight teams participating in the international tournament.

    On Tuesday morning, Pequero crossed the border into the United States and later called the Cuban delegation to say she was safe and in the U.S. Travelling on a visa acquired in Chicago, where the Cuban team had a connecting flight to Edmonton, she was able to enter the United States legally and has not yet requested asylum, but can do so while her visa remains valid.

    The Cuban delegation has not publicly acknowledged Pequero’s departure, but police were called Tuesday morning to Lister Hall when it was discovered that one of the players was gone. Police said the player was not officially listed as missing because she had also legally entered Canada, and was free to travel.

    Pequero has since been removed from the Cuban national team’s roster at the World Cup of Women’s baseball. Regulations require players to remain on a team’s roster as long as they are at the event, even if injured and unable to play.

    A handful of players have defected in Edmonton while playing at international baseball tournaments over the years, including three members of Cuba’s junior national team in 2008. A Cuban player has never previously defected from the Women’s World Cup, which is currently being contested for the fifth time.

    In its first year in 2004, also in Edmonton, a team from Bulgaria was refused entry into Canada at the last minute after authorities were tipped off that members planned to defect.

    Officials with the International Baseball Federation refused comment on the Cuban player Friday night. Earlier in the day, the team won its first game at the event by beating the Netherlands, 13-5.

    In Pequero’s only game at the World Cup, she had one hit in two at-bats in a 12-4 loss to Australia on Aug. 12.



  10. Griffin, the figures for 2000 supplied by Fidel Castro say Cuba has a literacy rate of 96%, tied with Chile and just behind Argentina.

    We can check the Chile and Argentina figures, can’t check Fidel Castro’s figures. There are many more illiterates Cubans than Fidel Castro says.

    I agree with you, even if every Cuban could read, there is nothing to read in Cuba except Fidel’s reflections, which most Cubans use for toilet paper.

  11. 99.7% literacy (an exaggeration at that) but nothing to read. No independent media, only state propaganda, empty bookstores, few libraries and many banned books. Some of Cuba’s greatest authors are blacklisted in Cuba.

  12. Oh, and how about the english govt, sorry the “great” britain (what a load of self-engranding imperialists!) putting the Ecuadorean embassy under the siege and threatening to storm it in order to get Assange?

    Some serious “demoracy” at work!!!!!!

    Imagine Cuba storming a british embassy for bribing the team “yoani” and supplying them with money and equipment for their subversive terrorist activities!!!!!

    The WWIII would break out in a second under the pretext of “bloody commies” “violating” all those imaginary “democracy” rules and “principles” not a single capitalist, self-declared “democratic” country has

    E V E R



    And my sincere apologies if I had missed any other truthful and factual definition of nazist imperialist dictatorships.

  13. I too was in London while the police was killing innocent people on the tube and people were running in hysterical panic and screaming their lungs out.

    Was also in london when the people tried to raise and police beat them like there’s no tomorrow.

    Wanna sum’ de mock racy, ye bast**ds? Get this batton instead!!!!

    Meanwhile the rest of the london was hiding in their homes, listening in terror the screams of innocent people being beaten up day and night, police and ambulance sirens filling the nights with their terifying pitch and the flames of the city replacing the sun during the night.

    For weeks…

    Just recently too.

    De mock racy sorting out people and their right to revolt against opression and governmental dictatorship.

  14. Must be PAINFUL and REALLY PAINFUL, oh and let us also mention that it just MUST BE REALLY PAINFUL to accept the fact that

    the SPANISH GOVERNMENT (that’s the country where the copy and paste “genius” comes from, yet still pretending to be a “Cuban”, even after her, sorry “his”, own admission to be a SPANIARD)




    No, no, it was a “truck”….!!!!! Says so the traitors and the terrorists the team “yoani” and their little delusional pioneers!!! So, it must be the only truth on the earth then. no?


    First there was a qualification from a group of foreign ambassadors, led by spanish and polish representatives, who had issued a statement confirming that there was no foul play and that the death was caused by the driver. Then the driver himself had admitted driving way too far for his skills and for the road. Then there was the witness, a man who was driving the bicycle and almost got run over by the inept spaniard just before he hit the tree, and then there was this latest admission from the top of the spanish government, and from the PP (that’s the acronim for currently governing spanish wrong wing party. Look it up. A hint: popular party)

    And let us NOT forget another dissident, Sanchez, who too had confirmed that the unfortunate death was just a result of an accident.

    The wrong wing (the world of conserves and delusional losers) world is disintegrated and in a free fall. It is hurting bad, so give them some slack for bullshifting nonsense about


    They are too brain-deprived to know any better. Just look the last 199 posts by the team “yoani”. One st****er than the other.

    They beat themselves into the pulp by their own id**cies.

    Funnily enough not one is funny.

    Just plain brainwashed delusions.

    No wonder they have become accustomed to dirt. They ARE the DIRT!!!!!!!

  15. # 54 Thanks for supplying proof for my statememnt my hermano. As your post states, none of the other countries come close to the 99.7% litteracy rate that Cuba has. Imagine that, the mean, cruel, and intolerant revolutionary government, with the little means that it has, has managed to educate every single Cuban while a rich country like Brazil has only 85% of it population who are litterate.


    MIAMI HERALD: Spanish driver in Oswaldo Payá crash to be tried Aug. 31 – It is not known if the Cuban government will allow journalists to attend the trial in the eastern city of Bayamo. – By Juan O. Tamayo

    The Spanish politician accused in the deaths of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero will go on trial Aug. 31 on a charge of vehicular homicide, according to news media reports Friday. There has been no indication of whether Cuban authorities will allow national or foreign journalists to attend Carromero’s trial, which was scheduled surprisingly quickly. Madrid’s El Mundo newspaper reported that the oral part of Angel Carromero’s trial will start Aug. 31 in the eastern city of Bayamo, near the spot where the car he was driving crashed into a tree, killing the two Cuban passengers. Relatives of Payá, a leading dissident awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2002, do not believe the government version that Carromero caused the one-car accident, saying they have reports that another car forced him off the road.
    Carromero’s defense will be in the hands of two Cuban female lawyers hired by his supporters in Spain’s Popular Party, with the unofficial help of a Spanish lawyer who under Cuban law cannot represent clients on the island, El Mundo added.

    Prosecutors are asking for a seven year sentence — 42 months for each fatality — on a charge of vehicular homicide, alleging that Carromero was driving too fast when he crashed on July 22. El Mundo reported that its sources noted the sentence could be cut to five years.

    Cuba’s penal code allows the government to decree the expulsion of any foreigner convicted of a crime. The Payá family has refused to file a legal complaint against Carromero, because they do not believe he was responsible for the crash.

    Last year, Havana expelled Sebastián Martínez Ferraté, a Spaniard arrested in 2010 and sentenced to seven years in prison for corruption of minors in connection with his 2008 documentary on child prostitution in Cuba.

    Carromero also could be sent to Spain to serve out his Cuban sentence under the terms of a 1998 agreement between the two nations, according to El Mundo.



  17. freethinker81,

    You think telling the truth is fanatical and “right-wing”? And repeating lies is moderation?

    You brought up a mythical free university in Cuba, so I thought you might appreciate the truth.

    I’m no “rightist” and never said the US education system is free.

    I just explained to you that education is freer in the USA than in Cuba in every possible way, something most Cubans know. Next time in Cuba talk to some Cubans who could never dream of going to university, it might open your eyes.

    If you’re so close-minded you won’t do that, I suggest you are the fanatic.

  18. CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice. Our primary work is advocacy, which we use to influence the legislation, policies, attitudes and behaviours which reinforce religious discrimination and persecution. Through this, we aim to bring about lasting cultural, social and political change.
    SUNDAY: Heavenly Father we pray for the authorities in Cuba, in particular Raul and Fidel Castro, and ask You to transform the hearts and minds of those in authority, in order to bring Your good purposes for Cuba into being.
    MONDAY: Pray for the courageous ‘Ladies in White’, who have faced beatings, arrests and harassment in order to attend religious services and pray for prisoners of conscience and other victims of injustice.
    TUESDAY: Pray for Pastor Omar Gude Perez and his family, who have been granted asylum in the USA. His wife Kenia and their two children have been granted exit visas, but at the time of writing, Omar has still not been granted his.
    WEDNESDAY: Pray for Catholic dissident Caridad Caballero and hundreds like her who were imprisoned during the Pope’s visit and subjected to brutal treatment. Pray that they will be allowed to attend religious service free from government interference and harassment.
    THURSDAY: Pray for leaders of all religious groups, including Cardinal Jaime Ortega and leaders of Protestant denominations in and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches. Ask God to give them wisdom and integrity in all they do.
    FRIDAY: Pray for strength and protection for Baptist pastors Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, Yuri Castellanos, and Francisco Rodriguez and their churches which have all been targeted for persecution by the authorities. Praise God for the support of their denomination despite government pressure.
    SATURDAY: Pray for CSW’s advocacy work on Cuba, that those we lobby will truly listen and take action to bring religious freedom in Cuba.

  19. Freethinker,

    I too have been to Cuba and met some wonderful people. I also saw Havana police beating a man while the crowd walked by pretending not to notice.

    You want dialog with the government of Cuba? How wonderful. How about permitting the Cuban people to have a free and open dialogue with each other and to chose their own government? That is something that has been denied to them since 1952.

    I lament the great future that Cuba could have had if they had avoided the disaster that was Fidel Castro. The revolution could have swept Batista out of power and held democratic elections. That it did not is entirely due to the betrayal of the Cuban people by the Castros.

    The US is not going to intervene in Cuba. The Bay of Pigs is not going to happen again.

    If you think a liberal democracy for a truly sovereign Cuba, one that respects human rights & freedoms, is “right wing extremism”, then I would be curious to hear what you think is “fair and balanced”.

    Fidel Castro stole the revolution and grabbed all power for himself. He executed, imprisoned or exiled all political opponents, including those who had fought along side of him if they dared to question him. And at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Fidel Castro sent a letter to Kruhschev demanding that he start a world wide nuclear war against America!


    What’s the fair and balanced position of Fidel Castro? That the crumbs he allowed the Cuban people, “free education & health care” are worth all the deaths, suffering and loss the Cuban people have endured? Well, that’s mighty sweet of you to decide for the Cuban people that their suffering was a price well worth paying for your pampered Western psuedo-socialist conscience.


  21. Freethinker81 said: “At the very least in Cuba you can go to University for free.”


    The Wall Street Journal’s Joel Millman reports on Cuba’s program of sending doctors abroad as missionaries—and the doctors’ attempts to stay abroad for good: The video tells the story of one Cuban doctor working in Gambia who took nine months to escape and now lives in Florida. His wife and child are still in Cuba and she lost her job at a hospital as a result of being blacklisted for five years because of his defection. Another downside is that, without their medical records and certifications (held by the Cuban government), Cuban doctors in the United States can only work as nurses or surgical assistants.
    Cuba has been sending medical “brigades” to foreign countries since 1973, helping it to win friends abroad, to back “revolutionary” regimes in places like Ethiopia, Angola, and Nicaragua, and perhaps most importantly, to earn hard currency. Communist Party newspaper Granma reported in June that Cuba had 37,041 doctors and other health workers in 77 countries. Estimates of what Cuba earns from its medical teams—revenue that Cuba’s central bank counts as “exports of services”—vary widely, running to as much as $8 billion a year. Many Cubans complain that the brigades have undermined Cuba’s ability to maintain a high standard of health care at home.


  22. @Griffin, Hey, I’m not complaining about Canada. I love it, actually. It’s a wonderful place to live. But I guess I can’t argue with you because like most other people in this forum, you only want to see the negatives in Cuba. I’ve been there and have friends there who I stay in touch with regularly. They are some of the most warm, friendly, and caring people in the world. They do complain about the current state of affairs and want more economic and social reforms, but in spite of everything most people are very patriotic. They aren’t especially fond of the regime, but they are wary of US intervention as well.

    And so I try to look at all the shades of grey when it comes to Cuba, because either extreme seems ignorant, fanatical, and certainly doesn’t help to foster productive dialogue. So let’s agree to disagree.

    It’s a shame this blog attracts either the anti-Castro camp that spouts off the same right-wing platitudes and propaganda over and over, or the pro-Castro camp that can barely write in English, let alone put together a coherent thought. I was hoping to find some moderate voices here, but I can see there are none to be found in this space. I only hope that that for Cuba’s sake, those who are sane and rational will eventually be able to drown out the kinds of extremists found here.

  23. Freethinker81,

    Not only what Griffin said.

    You have to prove your good political background to go to university in Cuba.


    I don’t think your Canadian schools ask for proof you went to Conservative party rallies all your life? That your parents never criticized the government?

    Not just that, if you’re poor in Cuba you have little chance to go to school. Poor in Cuba means a hungry family, and getting out of school and working as young as possible.

    It also means you can’t afford to bribe your way in.

    In the US, poor means our best universities will give you financial aid. There is so much aid, scholarships and quotas for low-income students here, I wish I were young again.

  24. And then there is the intellectual freedom in education. The Cuban curriculum, from kindergarten to university, contains a large component of political propaganda. Any book critical of Fidel, or the Cuban system is banned. All political activity on Cuban campuses are monitored by State Security.

    Intellectually, American and Canadian education systems are much more free than Cuba’s education system.

  25. Freethinker,

    Cuba’s don’t pay directly out of there pocket for their education, but it sure as hell isn’t “free”. They pay for it by working for the rest of their lives for $18 a month at whatever job the government tells them to go do. That’s a hell of a lot worse than paying off a $30 thousand debt over 10 years. If a Cuban is fortunate enough to get a degree in medicine, he can look forward to working for 4 years in a village in Venezuela or Nicaragua, under the watchful eye of the Cuban State security agent just to be sure they return to Cuba when their term of indentured labour is up.

    Don’t confuse Canada’s very limited social democratic programs with Cuba’s Stalinist “Socialism”. These are very different policies and structures.

    You are very, very optimistic in hoping the next generation of rulers in Cuba will make any improvement to the system. The current top leadership insist there will be no political change while the few economic reforms are designed to channel money into the state coffers and to the pockets of the ruling clique.

    The most likely path for Cuba after Fidel & Raul are gone is to evolve into a military-corporate oligarchy, as in China, Belarus, Russia or Vietnam. Those with power will not risk losing it through anything so foolish as free elections or a truly liberated economy.

  26. I’ll nitpick a bit, Freethinker81

    University education is freer in every way in the bad ‘ole USA and Canada than it is in Cuba

    Ask a few Cubans who can’t go to university or spend the rest of their lives imprisoned in Cuba trying to pay back their debt to Castro

  27. @Griffin, #52, just to nitpick a bit – Canada has free education, but only up to high school, same as the US. Post-secondary schooling is definitely NOT free here and students are developing the same debt problems as those in the US, where tuition rates have been skyrocketing year after year. It poses a big dilemma to those kids whose families are of modest means. Do you really want to be 30 thousand or more in debt when you graduate?

    At the very least in Cuba you can go to University for free. Of course we know that even with that higher education, there is little incentive for many young people to go into their field of study if they can make more money working in tourism or being a taxi driver.

    But the key to understand here is that Canada has a mix of capitalism and socialism in its structures. The reason it has been able to withstand the economic downturn is that it has good regulatory mechanisms in place on the banks, unlike the US and Europe. But alas, Canada is not without its own problems. And Cuba can still have a chance at turning things around. I have a feeling once all those old farts are out of the picture things will change for the better.

  28. Humberto,

    Notice the photograph in the article on dengue fever. The man using the pesticide fumigator is not wearing any kind of mask or respirator while he fumigates the filthy kitchen of some decrepit hovel the poor Cuban family live in. Another success of the revolution, as that fraud CL would say.

  29. Desi Mendoza Rivero is sentenced to eight years in prison
    Desi Mendoza Rivero, a 43-year-old doctor and father of four children, has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in connection with his critique of the authorities’ handling of a fever epidemic in Cuba.
    Arrested on June 25, 1997, Dr. Mendoza was tried on November 18, and currently is held in Boniato Prison, just outside Santiago de Cuba. The charge against him stemmed from statements he issued, which were later disseminated by foreign newspapers and broadcast media, regarding an epidemic of dengue fever in Santiago de Cuba which reportedly had caused several deaths. Dr. Mendoza accused the authorities of covering up the true extent of the epidemic and of not taking sufficient measures to control it. He was charged with having violated an article of the Penal Code which refers to the dissemination of “enemy propaganda" through the mass media.

    (Source: Amnesty International USA’s Freedom Writers Network, January 1998.)



    The American Journal of Epidemiology is the premier epidemiological journal devoted to the publication of empirical research findings, methodological developments in the field of epidemiological research, and opinion pieces. It is aimed at both fellow epidemiologists and those who use epidemiological data, including public health workers and clinicians.
    Cuba had its first dengue epidemic of modern times in 1977; transmission continued probably until 1981, and more than 500,000 mild cases were reported. A 1978 serologic survey for flavivirus antibody indicated that 44.6% of the Cuban population had been infected with dengue-1 virus, whereas before 1977 only 2.6% had antibodies.

    A second dengue epidemic in 1981, caused by dengue-2 virus, was unusually severe and widespread. Of 344,203 cases, 10,312 were clinically classified as dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS), and 158 persons (101 children and 57 adults) died . Before 1981, only 60 suspected or confirmed DHF sporadic cases had been reported in the region. Dengue-2 virus isolated during the 1981 epidemic was classified in the same genotype as New Guinea 1944. Not previously known to circulate in the Americas, this genotype was not isolated again in the region until 1994 in Venezuela and in 1995 in Mexico. Retrospective studies show that although the 1981 epidemic was detected in May, the first cases occurred in December 1980.



    MERCO PRESS: Cuban health authorities admit dengue and yellow fever outbreaks

    The Cuban Public Health Ministry (MINSAP) this week again called on people’s support to help eradicate the proliferation of the dengue transmitter Aedes aegypti mosquito during the summer months, when vector-associated diseases are on the increase.

    The reiteration of the announcement follows reports that dengue has claimed its first human life in the province of Camaguey where there is a red alert health emergency.

    In remarks to local television, MINSAP National Vector Control Director Juan Ramon Vazquez stated that people’s perception of risk is low, while there has been a marked increase in mosquito infestation levels in 23 municipalities this summer.

    According to the expert, “Cuba has a security and vector control system higher than that of many nations, thanks to a trained army of activists and the acquisition of resources to face the problem, but individual efforts in the task are essential”.

    Heat, humidity and abundant rain create the ideal breeding ground for the proliferation of the mosquito, which transmits dangerous diseases such as dengue and yellow fever, he said.

    According to the official report, about 98 municipalities of Cuba have confirmed outbreaks of dengue and the presence of the mosquito. In 75 of them, infestation rates have not reached the level of disease transmission. The most critical situation was found in the capital Havana and 15 municipalities and the main cities of Pinar del Rio, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Clara, Bayamo and the Isle of Youth.

    The first death was reported by the Café Fuerte website and the victim was described as a young woman, 35 years old.

    “Although every effort was made to save her, when she arrived at the hospital, her platelets were less than 100, presenting a very complicated clinical picture” indicated one worker from the Provincial Hospital of Camaguey to the website.

    At an August 8 meeting of the Camaguey Provincial Public Health Office a red alert health emergency was declared, reports the website.

    “We can’t be sure that this is indeed the first casualty, since hospitals and schools have taken measures to accommodate those infected by dengue and cholera, and these are controlled by State Security to prevent information from leaking” said Camaguey resident Santos Fernandez Sanchez, according to Café Fuerte.

    A cholera outbreak was reported a couple of months ago which Cuban officials first denied, later admitted but since then there has been a complete information blackout.

    The Pan American Health Organization recently warned about the resurgence of dengue cases in Central America and the Caribbean during the second half of 2012. It said more than a million cases of dengue fever and 719 related deaths were recorded in the region in 2011.

    Cuban authorities believe that bad press on diseases could have a negative impact on tourism which is the island’s main source of foreign currency.


  32. Griffin, so another of Yoani’s critics pretending to be outside of Cuba is one of Castro’s thugs living in Havana?

    How surprising.


    HUFFINGTON POST: After Half a Century, Blacklisted Voices OK’d to Return to Cuban Airwaves – by YOANI SANCHEZ

    The first time I heard Celia Cruz, I was 16. A friend took me to her house and, with the windows closed, began to play a song on the record player from the Queen of Son. That smiling and powerful voice shocked me; I could not believe that for so long I had been denied that mastery of interpreting salsa, bolero, rumba. After her exile on July 15, 1960, the most famous Cuban singer was erased from television and radio programming. It was forbidden to broadcast her music, and generations grew up without that cry of “¡azucarrr!” echoing in our ears.

    For decades on Cuban television and radio, there was a “black list” of banned musicians. It included Paquito d’Rivera, Bebo Valdes, Olga Guillot, and many others, as many as 50 people. The reason for exclusion was primarily political, as most of these figures lived in exile in the United States and had made statements critical of the government in Havana. As a result, the national culture was divided between “trusted artists” and the “unreliables,” which brought a clear impoverishment to music programming. All this happened in a country with deep musical and danceable roots.

    Last week the “black list” that so mutilated our national culture was finally removed. Although its existence was never made public, all those who worked in radio and television had to abide by what it said. Now it not longer exists, and although none of those once-banned voices have begun to be played on our national media, there is hope that this will happen soon. But nobody is going to give us back the years and years without all these musicians, without the cry of “sugarrr!” reverberating in our teenage ears.


    VIMEO VIDEO : Paraiso (The Cuban Paradise)- by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


  35. BBC NEWS: Cuba’s crumbling housing crisis – Sarah Rainsford reports.
    Cuba’s government is taking steps to address the country’s housing crisis, brought on by a struggling economy and years of storm damage and neglect. Authorities are trying to boost house building by cutting subsidies for construction materials and providing grants to those households in most need. But the scale of the problem is huge, with three buildings collapsing – partially or completely – every day in Havana.


  36. Cuba Libre said: “The real ones who failed are the crumbling imerialistic countries. Look at the economy of the great U.S. of A. in the last couple of years. How many people have gone bankrupt and lost their houses. Look at the crumbling European Union. Look at the economy in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and now even Spain. And yet you even dare to talk about the achievements of Mr. Castro?? I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee. Look around you.
    Especially you my hermano Humberto. A well informed journalist like you must surely see what`s going on in capitalist countries.”


    Images of Havana,before Castro’s communist revolution,showing modern architecture,highrises, beautiful clean avenues;traffic showing new cars;elegantly dress pedestrians; elegant shops;hospitals;university;new urbanization;hotels; construction;sport events;industry with data of its progress …

  37. UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 30)

    TABLE 5: Number and percentage of illiterates in the population 15 years old and

    COUNTRY: Year – Total number of persons – Cannot read and write – Per cent illiterate

    COSTA RICA: 1950 – 457,786 – 94,492 – 20.6%
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : 1950 – 1,185, 424 – 677,293 – 57.1%
    PANAMA: 1950 – 442 249 – 132,978 – 30.1%
    PUERTO RICO: 1950 – 1,255,328 – 335,799 – 26.7%
    ARGENTINA: 1947 – I I,318,896 – 1,541,678 – 13.6%
    (could not find Cuba on this table)

    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 41)

    CUBA: 1950 – 3,400,000 – 680 to 850,000 – 20-25%


  38. Cuba Libre: “He has managed to achieve 99.7% education rate for his people. How many other countries can claim as much?? None.”


    COUNTRY NAME – Latest Data Available for years 1950-53 (%) – year 2000 (%) – and % Increase
    ARGENTINA: 87% – 97% – 11.5% (increase)
    CUBA: 76% – 96% – 26.3% (increase) or 32% at 100% litteracy
    CHILE: 81% – 96% – 18.5% (increase)
    COSTA RICA: 79% – 96% – 21.5% (increase)
    PARAGUAY: 68% – 93% – 36.8% (increase)
    COLOMBIA: 62% – 92% – 48.4% (increase)
    PANAMA: 72% – 92% – 27.8% (increase)
    ECUADOR: 56% – 92% – 64.3% (increase)
    BRAZIL: 49% – 85% – 73.5% (increase)
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 43% – 84% – 95.3% (increase)
    EL SALVADOR: 42% – 79% – 88.1% (increase)
    GUATEMALA: 30% – 69% – 130% (increase)
    HAITI: 11% – 49% – 345.5% (increase)

    Source: UN Statistical Yearbook 1957, pp. 600-602; UN Statistical Yearbook 2000, pp. 76-82.
    a. Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.
    b. Data for Argentina 1950-53 is current as 1947 data, the latest available, and reflects ages 14 and over.
    c. Data for 2000 are age 15 and over


  39. Since we’ve established you’re a Cuban disinformation agent and not a Canadian, CL, allow me to educate you about urban infrastructure maintenance in Canada. Cities such as Toronto are not “allowed” a budget from the central govt, (that’s how you do it in Cuba). In Canada, the city raises this own funds thru property taxes and service fees. I guess that wouldn’t work in Cuba, as the govt owns all the property so they would be taxing themselves. The people sure don’t have any money to pay taxes. That’s the problem with Socialism: it destroys wealth. But Canada is a capitalist society, which means it creates wealth. So much wealth in fact, the people have the money to repair and maintain their private property, and even to build more! Our city government raises enough in taxes to afford to fix infrastructure and add more as needed. These money’s are accounted for in an open and transparent public finance system. By the way: did you know that Canada has free public education and free healthcare for all? At a much higher quality too . No, your propaganda sources didn’t tell you that.

    Again, CL, you wouldn’t be familiar with a transparent government since everything in Cuba is tightly controlled and secret. No free press to snoop around, eh?

    You see? If Cuba had a free & democratic system, then it would be a wealthy country and it could afford to repair buildings and roads and sewers. And you wouldn’t have the boring job of having to read blogs and post inane drivel all day long.

    Good bye now. And as they say in show biz: of you come back, be sure to bring new material. Putz!

  40. Cleanleness is a personal choice, it depends not on the system. Atherwise why Sweeden is so clean when they are so sotialist and Chicago south side so dirty when they have all the capitalism they like…
    You Sir have not coprehended one thing. It is not the system, but the quality of the people that makes it work or not…

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