Update, January 13, 2013: BBC News bureau in Havana breaks silence: Cholera fear in Cuba as officials keep silent By Sarah Rainsford
Its a sad state of affairs that one has to learn about a Cholera epidemic by following the twitter feeds of independent activists and journalists in Cuba because the international press with bureaus there prefer to remain silent in order to avoid being expelled from the island. The Cholera outbreak has reached Havana and the reason we know it is thanks to independent journalists.
Tonight the independent journalist, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo tweeted:
The Castro Tyranny prefers Cubans dying of cholera then publish in their totalitarian communications media on the epidemic that is plaguing Cuba. They have reported to me that the regime is taking the most severe cholera cases to the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute. Despite all the preventive measures or "band-aids" that the tyranny has underway to prevent more Cholera, it has still not made it public.Yoani Sanchez hours earlier had tweeted the following: Official sources keep silent on the subject that most of the inhabitants of several Havana neighborhoods are worried about: Cholera
First learned that there was a Cholera outbreak on June 29, 2012 thanks to reporting done by independent journalists on the island. The official media finally acknowledged the health emergency on July 3, 2012 and the international media reported on it days later in early and mid July.
Trying to investigate the epidemic has had serious consequences. Two dissidents died in what appears to have been an "accident" provoked by a state security vehicle while visiting the Bayamo province which was at the heart of the outbreak on July 22, 2012.
Another journalist, who had reported on the Cholera outbreak, is currently in prison and suffering from high fevers and denouncing the lack of medical attention.
On August 28, 2012 the regime's media announced that the outbreak was over and the international media reported it.
Despite regime claims, following Hurricane Sandy's landfall on October 25, 2012 it was evident that Cholera was still a problem in Cuba and on December 10, 2012 The Miami Herald reported on how the Cuban government was remaining silent about the deadly cholera outbreak.
There is a sad reality that many refuse to recognize. The lack of human rights in Cuba, and in particular of a free and independent press, also has consequences on the public health front.
The dictatorship has preferred to remain silent on the worsening situation with regards to Cholera in Cuba rather than confront it publicly and have it impact international tourism to the island. The regime is running the risk of another kind of outbreak in Cuba; one of rage before the half measures and official silence in the face of what appears to be evolving into an epidemic.