Reports from Cuba: Only harmful African snails are in good health at the 26th Avenue Havana Zoo

Juan Diego Rodriguez reports in 14yMedio from Havana via Translating Cuba:

At the 26th Avenue Havana Zoo Only the Harmful African Snails Are in Good Health

The antelope Eland, also known as the El Cabo elk, has ribs showing at the 26th Avenue Zoo 

The scenario at the 26th Avenue Zoo in Havana, a year after it reopened its doors after the forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is more depressing than ever. Malnourished animals, without water, with their pens full of dirt and excrement, are the general trend, as attested to on Tuesday by 14ymedio.

“The only thing that grows here are the African snails,” summarized a young man who was visiting his partner when he saw the exemplary numbers of that plague that arrived in Cuba a few years ago.

The conditions of the place, which in recent days have been denounced again on social networks, have definitely earned it a bad reputation. “There are very few people, very few children, despite it being a week of school break,” said another woman, who also complained about the high prices of food in the kiosks. Easily, people spend 700 pesos “for nonsense.” Most only manage to buy a frozen fruit.

Despite the fact that at the entrance of the zoo there is a warning that it is out of service, the train works, although a manager travels on board and gets off to push it when it runs out of fuel. Nor do the attractions for children or the electric cars work well, which barely run with their flat tires and tarpaulin covers to disguise the deterioration of the tires.

Skinny and barely moving, the leopard was moaning in his pit, which had no water. The skin of lions, which used to attract visitors more easily, is full of pustules and flea bites. All of them, just like the antelopes, have ribs showing and tired eyes. “The only ones that are well fed are the monkeys, because there are a lot of bananas, and they’re cheap,” said another visitor.

The bear area has been infested by colonies of the African giant snail, an invasive species that raised alerts on the Island as a potential risk to human health, since they carry parasites that can cause diseases such as meningoencephalitis and abdominal angiostrongiliasis. Cuba faced an outbreak of this dangerous mollusc between 2018 and 2019, but work to eradicate it was cut short in 2020 with the arrival of the pandemic.

Translated by Regina Anavy

4 thoughts on “Reports from Cuba: Only harmful African snails are in good health at the 26th Avenue Havana Zoo”

  1. What I find amazing about Cuba is how totally inept it is. What does Cuba have in abundance? People! There is no reason for the cages to be unkept, full of excrement and for the animals not to have water. With so much manpower you mean to tell me that rotten regime can’t hire people to do the labor? And with so much food that they always send to the tourist sector, they can’t reserve some meat for the felines or grow vegetation for the antelopes? Cuba is the third-world shithole that castro made it.

    But then again, the regime only cares about tourists and tourists don’t visit the zoo and animals are not part of the repressive apparatus [that needs to be kept well-oiled], also, in a country that has had such a drastic change in demographics since 1959 and where the new people who have proliferated like roaches worship African religions where animals are routinely sacrificed, I don’t think that animals are a priority.

    • The “revolution” is only inept in terms of the needs and wants of ordinary Cubans, not in terms of getting what it wants for itself, which it has done very well for decades. That’s all it cares about.

      • That is true Asombra, the regime is only inept in terms of the ordinary Cubans. In terms of survival, it is eminently capable. But let me add a caveat, the regime is capable because it is dealing with Cubans. I have a feeling that if it was dealing with Afghans, Czechs, East Germans or Poles, etc… it would have been bye-bye a long time ago. Cubans prefer to flee than to fight, and whenever there has been a protest in the streets, it has quickly fizzled out. And while the Cubans in the United States have of late been a pleasant surprise with an increase in the number of Cubans who voted for Trump and voted for Cuban American congressional candidates, we are still inept in fighting our enemies. Did you know for instance that pro-regime academician and professor Susan Eckstein is going to give a talk in Coral Cables in December?

        Look at this:

        Dec. 9th for the in-person book presentation of “Cuban Privilege: The Making of Immigrant Inequality in America.”

        This event will take place at 7pm in Books & Books, CG.

        By the way, her book is published by F.I.U. Press that is full of Cubans [what an insult]! Can you imagine an anti-Chicano author giving a talk in Los Angeles or an antisemite giving a talk in any bookstore in the US? Most Cubans aren’t even aware, and I doubt that anyone will go to counter her. Anyone who reads her work would say that she’s an agent-of-influence of the regime.

  2. The 26th Avenue Havana Zoo is symbolic of Cuba. A zoo of people pretending to be normal but forced to live in a dystopian world with no freedom and in an environment where most are starving except for the apes in charge.

    In the USA this would be considered animal cruelty and the people operating the facility would be arrested.

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