February 13, 2012 - Fumigation An Every Day Occurrence in Cuba

[Franklin Marquez – Age –50’s; Birthplace – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Residence – Miami, Florida, U.S.; Lives with Wife and Children; Occupation – Attorney, Writer, Moderator of the Blog]

I’ve got to tell a little tale. Last night, as we were leaving the casa particular, I looked down the street and saw what I thought was an apartment on fire.

I said, “Look, there´s smoke billowing out of that apartment.”

Reinaldo said, “That´s fumigation.”

I said, “What, inside the apartment?”

He said, “Yes, it’s to combat mosquitos that carry Dengue Fever. They fumigate every dwelling and business.”

I couldn’t believe it. That poison inside a dwelling can’t be good.

I said, “Well, in the U.S. we have trucks and planes that spray outside at night, but I can’t imagine them entering dwellings and businesses."

Today, when I was out looking for book stores with Padura books, I went to one. Suddenly the street was foggy, and a cloud of insecticide spewed out of the store through the cracks around the doors and windows, almost choking me.

Then I saw the sign on the door, saying “Fumigation.”

It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen or imagined.

I was curious, so I went looking on the Internet. I found the following paragraphs in the Irish government discussion about travel to Cuba: “Recently there have been reports of an increase in dengue fever in some areas of Cuba, including Havana. Cuban public health authorities are undertaking insect control measures, including fumigation and aerial spraying. The chemicals can cause discomfort and travellers are advised to close windows and doors if fumigation is being carried out nearby.”

I also found this article on a Cuban official site:

http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/cuba-spraying-for-dengue-fever-mosquito/

I guess it's working, because I will say I have seen only one mosquito during my trip, and it was in the bedroom. I have left the window open constantly. It did not try to bite.

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