Dengue Fever and Tall Stories for Children

Leaks like this foster the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries dengue fever. (14ymedio)

Leaks like this foster the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries dengue fever. (14ymedio)

Explaining death to a child is always a difficult task. Some parents reach for a metaphor and others lie. The adults justify someone’s death to children with phrases that range from “he’s gone to heave to live on a cloud,” to the tall story that “he’s gone on a trip.” The worst is when these inventions transcend the family and become the political information policy of a State. To falsify to people the actual incidence of death, is to rob them of their maturity and deny their right to transparency.

In 1981 an epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever broke out in Cuba. I was barely six, but that situation left me deeply traumatized. The first thing they told us in school was that the disease had been introduced by “Yankee imperialism.” The Uncle Sam of my childish nightmares no longer threatened us with a gun, but rather with a huge Aedes aegypti mosquito, ready to infect us with bonebreak fever. My family panicked when they began to learn about the dead children. The emergency room at the Central Havana Pediatric Hospital was a hive of screaming and crying. My mother asked me once an hour if anything hurt, her hand on my forehead checking for fever.

There was no information, only whispers and fear, a lot of fear. By not speaking publicly about the true source of the evil, the population could barely protect itself. In my primary school we kept running to the shelter—underneath the Ministry of Basic Industries—in the face of the “imminent military attack” that was coming from the North. Meanwhile, a small stealthy enemy ran rampant among people my age. That lie didn’t take long to become obvious. Decades later dengue fever has returned, although I dare say it never left, and all these years the health authorities have tried to hide it.

Now there is no one else to blame, as if hygiene hasn’t deteriorated in our country. It is not the Pentagon, but the thousands of miles of damaged plumbing leaking all over the Island. It is not the CIA, but the inefficiency of a system that has not even managed to build new drainage and sewer networks. The responsibility doesn’t point overseas, but directly at us. No laboratory has created this virus to kill Cubans, it is our own material and sanitary collapse that keeps us from being able to control it.

At least that story for children, where the evil always came from abroad, no longer works. The tall story, which presented us as victims infected by American perfidy, is accepted only by the most naïve. Like children grow up, we have found that the Government has lied to us about dengue fever and that those were not paternalistic falsehoods, but sophisticated lies of the State.

21 thoughts on “Dengue Fever and Tall Stories for Children

  1. The article, “THE DENGUE EPIDEMIC IN CUBA”, provide a historic outline about the dengue, starting in 1979 and include Dr. Dessy Mendoza case, sentenced to 8 years in prison for reporting the serious outbreak of dengue fever in 1997. The article criticized the hypocritical attitude of the Castroit tyranny trying to hide the facts.

    By Humberto (Bert) Corzo
    La Nueva Cuba
    September 9, 2006

    ”The dengue virus has been eradicated in our homeland,” Castro said
    after handing out diplomas to representatives of groups recruited for
    the campaign. “Today is a day of satisfaction for all residents of the
    capital and the entire country.” Fidel Castro declared victory in his
    government’s military-style campaign against dengue fever during a
    ceremony honoring those whose efforts helped wipe out the mosquito that
    spreads the virus. HAVANA – March 2002(AP)

    Fidel Castro, in his reference to the history of dengue in Cuba in the
    television program “Mesa Redonda”, February 1st, 2002, said “the big
    tragedy of 1981 was the apparition of dengue hemorrhagic and reiterate
    it was introduce deliberated in the country”, without making reference
    to the 1977 epidemic.

    In an interview published in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, January 13,
    2002, doctor María Guadalupe Guzmán, chief of the virological department
    of the National Laboratory for the study of viroid diseases, part of the
    Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí (IPK), expressed that the
    investigations about the dengue carried on by IPK include the analysis
    of the epidemics of 1977, 1981 and 1997. “In the 81 epidemic, we had a
    population of children and adults who were already infected in the 77
    with the dengue one and four years later with the dengue two”, pointed
    out the doctor. Castro’s affirmation of the deliberate introduction of
    dengue in the country in 1981, it is at odds with doctor Guzmán
    statements. As the saying goes “it is easy to detect first a liar than
    one who limps”.

    The dengue fever epidemic has become endemic in Cuba. During 1979 and
    outbreak of dengue fever caused more than 100 deaths. Again in 1981
    another outbreak of dengue fever affected thousand of people, causing
    158 deaths, of which 101 were children.In 1997 a serious outbreak of dengue
    hemorrhagic fever in Santiago de Cuba caused dozen of deaths and thousands
    required hospitalization. Dr. Dessy Mendoza, the Cuban doctor who reported the
    serious outbreak of dengue fever in eastern Cuba, was sentenced to 8 years in
    prison,accused of enemy propaganda. Nevertheless the magazine of the
    Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí, published in English in the
    year 1999, confirmed the outbreak of the dengue epidemic in Santiago de
    Cuba in 1997. This happened in spice of the declarations of Castro’s
    tyranny of the elimination of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, vector of
    dengue, years before.

    From November 2000 to December 2001, the independent journalists have
    reported around 500 cases of dengue hemorrhagic and close to 50 deaths.
    The official press did not give number of cases or the number of deaths.
    details of the outbreak public.

    By December 2002, after the eradication of the dengue virus according to
    the regimen official propaganda, the number of cases of dengue
    hemorrhagic fever was around 1000 with a death toll close to 50. Of
    course the mosquitoes were unaware that they have been eradicated.
    In August 2005, several persons in Ranchuelo were diagnostic with
    dengue, and in January 2006 the dengue epidemic had spread to most of
    the oriental provinces, with three deaths confirmed in Santiago de Cuba
    in May. Numerous cases of dengue have been confirmed in several
    municipalities of Havana by July. At the end of August the dengue
    hemorrhagic epidemic had cause over 25 deaths in Havana and other 40 in
    Santiago de Cuba, according to reports of the independent journalists.
    This type of epidemic only occurs nowadays in third world countries.

    Obviously this shall not happen in the “medical power” category assigned
    to Cuba by the propaganda of Castro’s tyranny agents. The deterioration of
    the infrastructure (sewer systems, aqueducts, dams, garbage disposal, etc.),
    had caused a huge declined in the hygiene standards and the proliferation of
    infectious diseases like dengue, meningoencephalitis, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis
    and others.Castro’s tyranny has always tried to hide the facts, instead of asking
    the international community for help to eradicate the epidemic. None of
    the epidemics which have flagellated the Island, have been as pernicious
    as the epidemic represented by Castro’s regime.

    During Cuba Republican era before 1959, the battle against the Aedes
    aegypti mosquito, vector of the yellow fever, allowed to eradicate the
    thread of a returned of this disease to the Island, and the vaccination
    against small-pox, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, typhus and others
    infectious diseases, turned the Republic as one of the healthy country
    in the world.

    Cuba was one of six countries at world level exempt of quarantine measures

  2. Mario,

    Why do you prefer vacationing in the Dominican Republic than in Cuba?

    Aren’t you a socialist?

  3. YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY “Under Cuban Skies” — Workers and Their RIghts – Under Cuban Skies Workers and Their Rights is an account of the systematic violation of human and labor rights committed by Fidel and Raul Castro since they took power fifty years ago, supposedly on behalf of the Cuban worker. Their revolutionary government, as the film shows, is the only hiring entity and, as such, is guilty of discrimination in employment, of confiscating 97% of the salaries paid by foreign investors, and of prohibiting the workers right to organize representative unions, or to conduct collective bargaining. Interviews with hotel workers the privileged class of the Cuban labor force and with independent labor leaders and dissident journalists, were conducted in Cuba, while counterpart interviews were filmed in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Miami. The two sets of interviews make clear the stark contrast between the labor conditions in hotels operated by multinational corporations in Cuba and hotels run by those same corporations abroad.

  4. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA WHARTON SCHOOL REPORT :Can Raul Castro’s Reforms Create a New Cuba? -November 22, 2011

    At first glance, say experts, Raul Castro seems to modeling his country’s future after China and Vietnam, whose one-party, nominally communist governments have managed to maintain power for decades while also emerging as globally competitive exporters of industrial and agricultural goods. Look deeper, however, and it is apparent that Raul’s approach won’t turn Cuba into a miniature of those two much larger Asian communist countries, experts say. The key problem for Cuba is that Raul’s reforms are not nearly as deep or thorough as those enacted by communist governments in China and Vietnam. In Cuba, “they are going in the right direction, but the issue is whether the reforms are profound enough or fast enough to meet the difficult crisis,” says Carmelo Mesa Lago, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh, whose new book on the Cuban economy is scheduled to be published in Spain and the U.S. in 2012.

    Mesa Lago notes that in China and Vietnam, local farmers have been allowed to lease from the government the land that they work on for an indefinite time period; Chinese and Vietnamese farmers have been encouraged to care for that land as if it were their own. In Cuba, contracts to lease plots of land are valid for only 25 years. “After 25 years, that contract may or may not be renewed by the government, and the land may be seized by the Cuban state for social needs,” Mesa Lago notes. That’s particularly troubling because “a lot of land in Cuba has been taken over by the notorious marabou plant,” says Adrian E. Tschoegl, a management lecturer and senior fellow at Wharton. It often takes two years just to clear marabou-infested land, Tschoegl adds, so a 25-year lease is effectively cut.



    REUTERS: Cuba struggles to attract investors despite reforms – by Marc Frank

    Cuba has yet to attract new foreign investors despite launching two major initiatives in the past year, a sign of the lingering caution over doing business with the communist government and its own hesitancy to follow through on free-market-style reforms.

    Cuba last November opened a China-style special development zone, including a new container terminal at Mariel Bay. It also passed a new foreign investment law in March, saying it needed more than $2 billion a year in foreign direct investment to spur growth.

    “Cuba has a ways to go in learning how to react with agility to business opportunities,” said Pedro Freyre, who heads the international practice at the Miami-based law firm Akerman LLP, which closely follows the reforms under way on the island.

    The new foreign investment law, which took effect at the end of June, cut the tax on profits in half, eliminated a labor tax and granted new investors an eight-year exemption on a profits tax.

    Though potential investors welcome the tax cuts, some remain wary over Cuba’s legal regime, especially after the recent jailing of a handful of foreign executives and the seizing of their businesses over corruption allegations.

    Cuba’s economy is stagnating despite a raft of market-oriented reforms initiated by President Raul Castro in 2008. Cuba reported growth of just 0.6 percent in the first half of this year and revised downward its full-year growth forecast to 1.4 percent from 2.2 percent.

    The government had hoped foreign companies would build factories or new import-export installations at Mariel, some 28 miles (45 km) west of Havana. The special economic zone, covering 180 square miles (466 square km), drew some interest from potential investors, most of whom had existing business ties with Cuba.

    But they discovered a paucity of infrastructure in and around the port. Land and utility prices had not even been established. No wage policy was set. Lacking such basic information, companies delayed negotiations and the feasibility studies needed for approval.

    Likewise with the new foreign investment law, the promised lists of investment opportunities by government ministries, from agriculture and industry to food processing and pharmaceuticals, have yet to be drawn up.

    “Cuba’s foreign investment law and its Mariel development zone are emblematic of most of the recent reforms on the island. Many of the changes are in the right direction, but not happening fast enough,” said Peter Schechter, director of the Latin American program at the Washington-based Atlantic Council.


  6. ***
    Mosquito borne diseases were almost nonexistent 40 years ago. Until Rachel Carson’s book SILENT SPRING gave the false idea that DDT was harming the environment. It was banned, and the diseases returned to their pre DDT levels. Many millions have died since then. Other insecticides are far less effective, last for far shorter times, and cost much more. Spraying DDT from low flying airplanes works very well. Very fast, and cheap. These diseases should not exist any more. Government is causing them.
    Las enfermidades cargadas de mosquitos casi no existaban hace 40 anos. Hasta el libro PRIMAVERA SILENTE de Rachel Carson dio el idea falso que DDT fue danando el ambiente. Fue probihido, y las enfermidades regresaban a los nivels antes del uso de DDT. Muchos millones han muertos desde el bando. Otros insectocidos son mucho menos efectivos, duran por mucho menos tiempo, y cuestan mucho mas. Rociando DDT de un avion volando al altitud bajo trabaja muy bien. Muy recio, y barato. Estas enfermidades no debian existir ya. Los gobiernos son causandolas.

  7. The picture of the broken hydrant is probably true.

    The lie is in mentioning the CIA and the Pentagon, as if cuban media would be blaming these institutions for the typical caribbean sanitary problems.

    Cuban media do NOT blame CIA and the Pentagon for the dengue fever.

    There were cases in the 20th century where the US used terrorists and the biological weapons against Cuba. These days are long gone, but not the perverted minds of the “dissidents”.

    WIKIPEDIA: Yellow fever
    Besides the urban cycle there is, both in Africa and South America, a sylvatic cycle (forest cycle or jungle cycle), where Aedes africanus (in Africa) or mosquitoes of the genus Haemagogus and Sabethes (in South America) serve as vectors.


    MARTI NEWS: Increase in dengue, cholera and other viruses in Cuba
    “For a long time, dengue and other infectious diseases have not been under control. It has become a vicious cycle. The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) thrives in Cuba due to an unresolved problem: the lack of a reliable supply of drinking water 24-hours a day. Broken water pipes, containers without adequate protection, lack of sanitation in the cities –among others- are the breeding ground that has transformed dengue and other viruses into a plague. On top of that, add the tropical climate and excessive humidity,” says one epidemiologist. ” The most effective dengue deterrent is frequent fumigation and awareness on the part of the public to seek treatment at the first symptoms.”

  10. “The dengue virus has been eradicated in our homeland”, Castro said after handing out diplomas to representatives of groups recruited for the campaign. “Today is a day of satisfaction for all residents of the capital and the entire country.” Fidel Castro declared victory in his government’s military-style campaign against dengue fever during a ceremony honoring those whose efforts helped wipe out the mosquito that spreads the virus. HAVANA – March 2002(AP)

    The dengue fever epidemic has become endemic in Cuba. In 1977, a dengue epidemic was reported in Cuba of over 500,000 cases, associated with virus D1. In 1981, another severe epidemic spread throughout the country with 344,203 notified cases and 158 deaths, of which 101 were children. After 16 years without any cases reported, at the beginning of 1997, the disease, appeared in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba, in the province of the same name, where thousands of cases were notified and cause dozens of deaths. In the year 2,000, an outbreak of 138 confirmed cases was reported in the province of the City of Havana.

    From: Cholera Spreading in All Cuban Provinces / 14ymedio
    Posted August 7, 2014

    In Camagüey province the cholera outbreak has claimed the lives of at
    least 11 adults. According to the official press 530 cases of the
    disease have been detected in populations of Camagüey, Sierra de Cubitas
    and Sibanicú, in addition to at least 1,200 cases of dengue fever.


  11. Mrs. Matulovic,

    Fidel Castro used to blame the USA for bad weather.

    Seriously, the Socialist press used to print conspiracy theories where the CIA was secretly controlling Cuban weather.

    Whenever there was a drought in Cuba or a bad hurricane, it was the fault of secret CIA black op airplanes secretly seeding Socialist clouds in an effort to discredit Socialist weather.

    The fact there was never any serious drought in Cuba is an unimportant detail.

    If there is a water shortage in Cuba, there must be a drought.

    And if there is a drought in Cuba, the CIA must have caused it.

    Therefore the CIA is causing the water shortage in Cuba.

    The CIA is causing every disease in Cuba as well.

    It can’t be Castro’s fault. He’s got nothing to do with any of Cuba’s problems.

  12. Omar, again, you do not cite your sources. And you live in the past, blaming “Western imperialism” for introducing slaves to Cuba? What do you do, personally, to help Cubans today?

    Besides the urban cycle there is, both in Africa and South America, a sylvatic cycle (forest cycle or jungle cycle), where Aedes africanus (in Africa) or mosquitoes of the genus Haemagogus and Sabethes (in South America) serve as vectors. In the jungle, the mosquitoes infect mainly non-human primates; the disease is mostly asymptomatic in African primates. In South America, the sylvatic cycle is currently the only way humans can infect each other, which explains the low incidence of yellow fever cases on the continent. People who become infected in the jungle can carry the virus to urban centres, where Aedes aegypti acts as a vector. It is because of this sylvatic cycle that yellow fever cannot be eradicated. (the virus exist in the wild and gets transfer to people). In South America, two genotypes have been identified (South American genotype I and II). Based on phylogenetic analysis these two genotypes appear to have originated in West Africa and were first introduced into Brazil. The date of introduction into South America appears to be 1822 (95% confidence interval 1701 to 1911). The historical record shows that there was an outbreak of yellow fever in Recife, Brazil, between 1685 and 1690. The disease seems to have disappeared, with the next outbreak occurring in 1849. It seems likely that it was introduced with the importation of slaves through the slave trade from Africa. Genotype I has been divided into five subclades, A through E. FOLKS…PLEASE….DONT BLAME CASTRO FOR YELLOW FEVER…BLAME WESTERN IMPERIALISM FOR INTRODUCING AFRICAN SLAVES IN THE AMERICAS.

  14. ” The Cuban regime blames the U.S. embargo for their public health blunders.”

    That’s hilarious. What doesn’t the Cuban regime blame the U.S. embargo for? It’s their blanket excuse for their own ineptitude.

    Omar, you really should post a link back to your sources. I know that all you wrote about Cuba didn’t materialize off the top of your head.

  15. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: 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.

  17. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGENT ACTION CUBA: INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST DETAINED IN CUBA – Independent journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias has been detained since September 2012 in Cuba in relation to his work. Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience solely detained for peacefully exercising his freedom of expression. – January 30, 2013

    On 16 September 2012 Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a journalist working for the unofficial news agency Hablemos Press, was arrested by the Cuban Revolutionary Police (Policía Revolucionaria de Cuba) at José Martí International Airport in Havana. He had been investigating allegations that medicine provided by the World Health Organization to fight the cholera outbreak (which began in mid-2012) was being kept at the airport instead of being distributed, as the Cuban government was allegedly trying to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak. Upon his arrest, Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias was taken to the Santiago de las Vegas police station, located near the airport

    According to Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias’ relatives, when complaining in his cell at the Santiago de las Vegas police station about his detention, he was beaten and pepper-sprayed in his eyes, and then called out “down with Raúl”, “down with Fidel” (“abajo Raúl”, “abajo Fidel”). Although neither he nor his lawyer – who has not been allowed access to his casefile – have been informed of any official charges against him, Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias is reportedly being accused of “disrespect” (“desacato”) towards President Raúl Castro and Fidel Castro. The Cuban criminal code provides sentences of up to three years’ imprisonment in this case.

    After being held for 10 days at the Santiago de las Vegas police station, Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias was transferred to Valle Grande prison until 10 November. Since then he has been detained at Combinado del Este prison on the outskirts of Havana. On arrival at Combinado del Este prison he went on hunger strike, apparently to protest against being forced to wear a prison uniform and having his personal belongings confiscated. The hunger strike reportedly lasted 33 days.

    Amnesty International believes Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias’ detention is politically motivated and related to his peaceful exercise of freedom of expression.

    Click to access amr250012013en.pdf

  18. This is not the first time that the dengue fever problem has occurred in Cuba. Mosquito Density increases the possibility of an outbreak, but, population susceptibility and mutations in the virus as it transmit from one host to the next is the real danger. In 1981 there was an outbreak of dengue fever in Cuba, but, it was brought under control by doing the following:
    Control of the epidemic
    The epidemic was brought under control in a little over 4 months, essentially for the reasons outlined below.
    * Rapid diagnosis. Once the epidemic was reported, health authorities were given a presumptive diagnosis within 24 hours and a definitive diagnosis within 4 days.
    * Patients with suspected complications were hospitalized early and given appropriate treatment.
    * As soon as the incidence fell to a level that matched the availability of hospital beds, all patients
    were hospitalized. Certain health-care facilities were kept free of the A. aegypti vector and patients were also admitted there.
    * One of the most important actions in bringing the epidemic under control was the national campaign to eradicate A. aegypti. This began as soon as the epidemic was recognized and succeeded in bringing the vector infestation rates down to levels sufficiently
    low to break the chain of transmission. In order to prevent new cases from arising, the first stage concentrated on spraying adult mosquitos with malathion (ultra low volume). At the same time, temephos was used in an intensive campaign against mosquito.

    In Cuba, the dengue virus is extensively widespread. In a hospital in Santo Suárez, a neighborhood in Havana, the fourth floor is full of children with dengue. And throughout the island, hospitals are overwhelmed with patients suffering from different viruses.
    “For a long time, dengue and other infectious diseases have not been under control. It has become a vicious cycle. The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) thrives in Cuba due to an unresolved problem: the lack of a reliable supply of drinking water 24-hours a day. Broken water pipes, containers without adequate protection, lack of sanitation in the cities –among others- are the breeding ground that has transformed dengue and other viruses into a plague. On top of that, add the tropical climate and excessive humidity,” says one epidemiologist. ” The most effective dengue deterrent is frequent fumigation and awareness on the part of the public to seek treatment at the first symptoms.”

    Consuelo (name changed), a physician with 25 years experience, spoke categorically. She opened a large map of the 10 de Octubre municipality and pointed to areas marked in red. “What is now rare to find is a neighborhood in the district where no cases of dengue have been reported. I think we have lost the battle with this disease. There is no sound preventive policy. We cannot prevent viruses such as dengue and many others. We can only help promote through the media that families take preventive sanitary measures such as boiling the water and, in the event that the period of incubation of the disease were already in progress, be ready to act in conjunction within the appropriate network –beginning with the family doctor, the healthcare centers that can provide the proper assistance which will, in turn, report the cases to the higher levels. We are playing with fire. The government guarantees us the medications but in order to counter and eliminate dengue and cholera, more far-reaching measures are needed, which entails expenses in the millions of dollars.”

    The last official report of dengue in Cuba dates from 2012, citing 63 cases. But last August, the Ministry of Public Health reported the existence of outbreaks of the carrier mosquito in 98 municipalities. The Pan American Health Organization reported 700 cases of cholera in Cuba in the last two years.

    A respiratory tract specialist explained that the current increase of infection in the Cuban population can be blamed on climatic phenomena, new aggressive strains and viruses that are resistant to traditional antibiotics as a result of indiscriminate use.

    Doctors and epidemiologists who have been consulted confirm that poor hygiene, scarcity of drinking water and great amounts of waste dumps that currently thrive in Havana, amount to a highly explosive combination.

    “Poor hygiene means frequent skin fungus and bacteria. Health checks against rats and insects that carry diseases is not efficient. Almost all hospitals in the country are overloaded, lack equipment and often do not have state-of-the-art medications. Cuba has all the ingredients for a major epidemic to break at any time,” says a hygiene and epidemiology specialist. “A well rounded public health program and dedicated doctors is not enough to solve the problem.”

    Another contributing factor is low salaries. Some of the most prestigious doctors prefer to spend two years in the jungles of Venezuela or Brazil or even in a remote hamlet of South Africa. During these assignments, the doctors can save hundreds of dollars and thus improve their dire economic conditions when they return home.
    The great majority of Cuban doctors are fully devoted to their profession, although there are some who are mediocre and negligent,with no true vocation. The stagnant economic crisis which has persisted for 23 years has shaken the foundations of the health system like a category five hurricane. The Cuban regime blames the U.S. embargo for their public health blunders.

    However, the loss of 58% of the drinking water due to broken pipes, poorly-maintained hospitals, professionals with depressed wages and increasing epidemics like dengue and cholera make evident that the Cuban regime must also look inward.

  19. The fantasy that socialism works in Cuba is also only accepted only by the most naive.

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