Cuban Allegations of U.S. Biological Warfare
False Allegations and
Their Impact on Attribution
RAYMOND A. ZILINSKAS
Although Cuba’s achievements in biomedical research and applications since Fidel Castro came into power in 1959 have been truly impressive,1 a less savory aspect of Cuban science should not be overlooked: Cuban officials, led by President Fidel Castro himself, have repeatedly subverted science for the political purpose of denigrating the United States. In particular, since 1962, the Cuban government has alleged that the U.S. government or its agents have caused at least 10 infectious disease outbreaks and one insect infestation that severely damaged Cuba’s population or agriculture.
As outlined in the introductory chapter to this volume, attribution is a three-step process: to identify the existence of a biological event, to differentiate between a natural disease outbreak and a deliberately caused disease outbreak, and to determine the perpetrator of a deliberately caused disease outbreak. In this chapter, it can be seen that the Cuban government had already made its attributions; it claimed that all 10 disease outbreaks and the insect infestation were deliberately caused and, further, that the perpetrator in each case was the U.S. government.
Since the Cuban government has released no objective information to support its allegations, outside analysts have little basis for determining their veracity. This being so, an analyst who seeks to analyze the accuracy of the 11 Cuban allegations must research available epidemiological, epizootic, phyto-