Foreign and Defense Policy, Latin America

Cuba’s cholera cover-up

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Six months ago, I wrote about how the crumbling infrastructure across Cuba was the reason that a cholera epidemic was taking hold. At the time, the epidemic had not hit Havana, but in the past week reports have begun to emerge of cholera deaths in Cuba’s capital. The Tropical Medical Institute is overflowing with cholera cases, yet the authorities continue to deny there is a major problem. As the BBC reports, “in the tourist heart of Old Havana, cafes and restaurants remain open and the streets are still full of mobile food and drink vendors.”

Cholera is easy to control, but it spreads rapidly if its existence is ignored. Added to the political complacency is the problem of poor quality antibiotics, which mean more people will die than should be the case.

All in all, the cholera debacle shows Cuba at its worst. Its doctors can do little if the communist political narrative trumps public health.

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