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Official Cholera Statistics in Cuba: They Just Don’t Pass the Smell Test

By: John Suarez - Aug 21, 2013, 10:03 pm
Cholera and totalitarianism: A dangerous combination
Cholera and totalitarianism: a dangerous combination

The Pan American Health Organization has generated a report using official data provided to it that does not make sense. Cholera is making a big impact in Haiti with 669,645 cases and 8,224 fatalities and neighboring Dominican Republic reports 30,671 cases 454 fatalities. Meanwhile, even though reports indicate that cholera has spread across Cuba from the east to Havana, in the worst outbreak since the 19th century, the official number of cases is 98 with apparently no fatalities, according to this report.

Meanwhile PAHO’s only mention of tourists contracting cholera are 5 cases from Cuba. “In the past several weeks, there has been five cases (Italy (1), Venezuela (2) and Chile (2)) of cholera reported, all related to travel to Cuba.”

The record in Cuba is clear. Cuba remains a totalitarian dictatorship without a free press and even international and accredited press bureaus are cowed into silence out of the justified fear that they would be ejected from the country for reporting negative news. The Cuban government is engaged in a practice of deceit that endangers lives.

Calixto R Martínez Arias jailed nearly 7 months for breaking cholera story
Calixto R Martínez Arias jailed for breaking cholera story

The government of Cuba initially covered up the cholera outbreak. The story was broken by dissident journalists. Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, the journalist who broke the story on the cholera outbreak,  was arrested in September 2012 for disrespecting the dictatorship, and recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience in January of 2013. He was finally released after spending nearly 7 months in prison in April of 2013. Unlike Michael Moore who continues to repeat Cuban government propaganda on the wonders of Cuban healthcare, Calixto reported on the actual situation on the ground and spent several months in prison.

On August 20, 2013 the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba issued a security message on the cholera outbreak.

All of this raises two obvious questions: If the number of cases in Cuba are as low as reported by the government are accurate why are the only reported cases of tourists from these three impacted countries with cholera from Cuba? What are the actual number of cases and fatalities in Cuba?

John Suarez John Suarez

John Suarez is a human rights activist who has spoken before the United Nations Human Rights Council on several occasions. He is a specialist on the human rights situation in Cuba. John hosts the blog Notes From the Cuban Exile Quarter. Follow him on Twitter @johnjsuarez.