Nicaragua Silent on Exporting Covid-19 Cases to Cuba

By Circles Robinson

The kick off for the summer party week in Nicaragua, where the government says social distancing is unnecessary for the general population.  Photo: el19digital.com

HAVANA TIMES – If you don’t do tests and/or you don’t divulge the results, it’s as if there’s no threat of the Covid-19. That is, as long as the cover-up lasts. This is the policy put in place by the Ortega-Murillo government in Nicaragua.

For the last week, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health claims an undisclosed number of tests were all negative and that there are only three confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, all “imported” from travelers.

The government thanks God for sparing Nicaragua from the global pandemic and continues to ignore recommendations for prevention from the World Health Organization and its regional affiliate, the Pan American Health Organization.

Why would Cuba lie to its ally?

Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda reported the third Coronavirus positive Cuban patient having come from Nicaragua. Photo: cubadebate.cu

Meanwhile, Cuban health authorities informed Wednesday that a 58-year-old Havana resident who returned from Nicaragua tested positive for the Coronavirus. She is the third patient that Cuba claims has returned home carrying an infection contracted in Nicaragua.

The Ortega-Murillo government has simply not responded to this claim from Havana, remaining silent about all three cases. Likewise, no word was mentioned if Nicaragua is following up on the contacts in Managua of the three Cubans who returned home with the Coronavirus. 

Cuba, which provides medical assistance to the Ortega government, has seen a sharp spike of its Covid-19 cases during the last week.  It now registers 457 positive cases with another 1,732 hospitalized under observation and 9,414 under watch vigilance in their homes.

From the official Cuban website cubadebate.cu. on April 8, 2020.

Cuba has closed its borders and partially shut down the country.  The government insists on social distancing, put some communities in quarantine, closed schools, and is conducting a growing number of tests. 

The reckless Nicaraguan government protocol

Nicaraguans, in total opposite, are still being encouraged by Murillo, the undeclared acting president, to attend family and public gatherings, sporting events, food fairs, beaches, etc. during the Easter Week holidays. In the past two weeks she convened numerous pro-government rallies with supporters in close quarters, although the leaders didn’t attend.

Ortega and Murillo haven’t been seen outside their El Carmen residence/presidential bunker in over a month, as they are reportedly hunkered down with their entire extended family.

After its own silence, the Pan American Health Organization director, Carissa Etienne said on Tuesday, “PAHO has been concerned about the response to Covid-19 in Nicaragua.”  

The government has attempted to show it is doing something by promoting highly publicized face-to-face home visits using health brigades, a technique partially successful in the fight against dengue and malaria, but totally inappropriate for the nature of Covid-19.

Civil society has gone ahead with its own decisions: numerous companies have temporarily shut down, including some of the largest free trade zone factories involving tens of thousands of workers, while others have people working from home.

Private schools are giving classes on-line, the same for church services, etc. The informal sector, 70% of the economy, is partially paralyzed but many continue to take the risk and try and earn their daily sustenance on the streets.

The information vacuum created by the government’s silence has been filled by rumors on social media. If the government doesn’t respond, the most likely scenario is that the silence will be broken when the number of the sick grows so great that it becomes an open secret in the clinics and barrios.


6 thoughts on “Nicaragua Silent on Exporting Covid-19 Cases to Cuba

  • Thank you for that information. I did listen to the PAHO Director’s remarks and carefully read the article. Nicaragua’s, that is, specifically Ortega-Murillo, response to this pandemic is as I stated in my response to you a crime against humanity when a country’s leader(s) knowingly put their population at risk of mass potential annihilation. Cuba is extremely worried and rightly so.

    I do not understand why Cuba knowing that its medical personnel are in dire danger continue to remain in the country. I know Cuba sends its medical specialist to any country that requests help especially neighboring Latin American countries and does not want to abandon people on humanitarian grounds. Cuba is to be commended for its response to the Italian pandemic crisis. It knew the risks but the medical personnel had the unmitigated support of the Italian government and all its resources.

    If the Nicaraguan government, again it leaders Ortega-Murillo, refuse to abide by international health sanctions, I believe Cuba has no choice but to save its medical personnel from acquiring COVID-19 infection and invariably transferring the virus unintentionally to its country citizens.

    In times of crisis governments of all stripes need to make excruciating hard decisions for self preservation; in this case, in an unprecedented global pandemic entire populations’ health and welfare are at stake: Cubans and Nicaraguans.

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