A Case of Zika in Havana

Photo Feature by John Suarez

An official inspects the breeding ground.
An official inspects the breeding ground.


HAVANA TIMES – In front of Pera Park in the Havana municipality of Plaza there is the ruins of a building that partially collapsed many years ago, a place where anyone would throw their rubble, a house that flooded when it rained and those who still lived there had to abandon it, many bitten by mosquitoes, the protagonists of this story.

Several times the local polyclinic was informed that it was impossible to live like that.  They would come and fumigate, and a few days later everything was the same.


Fumigating the ruins.
Fumigating the ruins.


The whole shebang changed when the first case of Zika was reported on the block and all the imaginable government agencies showed up. The park was filled with leaders, doctors, nurses, fumigation devices and even a rapid response brigade to leave everything clean.

I wondered, do we have to wait to act for someone’s life to be threatened or worse, die? I think not. But I see that’s the custom in this society, take steps after the calamities happen.


Mobilized to attack the problem.
Mobilized to attack the problem.

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7 thoughts on “A Case of Zika in Havana

  • It appears to be the same the world over corrupt people breed corruption!

  • Little brother Raul Castro Gerard is impervious to the views of the majority of the Cuban people. He cares naught for their concerns placing his own power and control above all else. From his point of view and that of his coterie the system works – to introduce change would imperil it.

  • So Mr Castro is completely out of touch with the real Cuban people then?

  • You enquire Gerard whether Mr. Castro ever tours areas in dire need of reconstruction. As one who watches Cuban TV, I cannot recollect a single example of him doing so being shown. He does however take every opportunity when receiving foreign visitors to take them to Mariel the $5 billion investment by Brazil which he and the now deposed Dilma Rouseff jointly opened and those visits are shown.
    The chances of Raul as an experienced executioner adopting humanitarian views are nil!

  • Some people are expected to live in conditions that are totally unacceptable. Does Mr Castro ever tour areas which are obviously in dire need of reconstruction or is he and his team of yes men only interested in maintaining the glitzy fun loving smiling image of the Cuban publicity properganda poster people?. Mr Castro your people are suffering, please redouble your efforts and be a humanitarian and help them! Enough is enough!

  • Being originally from Manitoba, I’m familiar with mosquitoes.Wary of chemicals, a local Dutch horticulturalist suggested locating water breeding sources and, if rainwater collection containers, to add a few drops of vegetable oil and mixing in.Tried it on a rain barrel that was teeming with ‘tadpole-like’ larvae and it worked 100%. The idea is that fine film of surface water blocks their proboscis as the come up for air. Using that strategy as we speak.
    Alternatively,the Israelis have developed a product called BT Israelensis that kills the larvae at the source.It is sprayed here in the south Okanagan,BC on the onset of mosquito season.
    Totally agree with Carlyle; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a stitch in time is worth nine- you get the idea.
    The optics of spraying impresses, but, is it the best strategy? Could use those teams to inform, identify sources and possibly fine the negligent.
    BTW, does anyone know what product they are fumigating. If it kills, it can’t be healthy now or on the long accumulating run.When they spray our friends’ casas we get out for an extended absence.But wonder about the residue…..

  • Mosquitos really feel at home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The streets, trees and standing water are sprayed by trucks equipped for the purpose to kill the larvae.
    At home in Cuba we are visited about once per week by one of a team that fumigates the interior of all houses. As our windows are in the form of slats, it takes as much as 24 hours for mosquitos to find their way in again It seems to me somewhat fruitless to have teams of people pursuing the current policy of trying to kill adults, rather than attacking the problem at base by addressing killing the larvae as they do in Winnipeg.
    Of course the teams in Cuba have uniforms and they duly sign on the form on the back of each front door to prove their attendance and dates, but for what purpose?
    bjmack please send another e-mail with info again.

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