The head of Labiofam’s Institutional Communications Department in Havana, Juana Navarrete, told El Nuevo Herald she was not authorized to comment but noted that her company’s Web pages show its larvicides are effective. She said she would pass the request for comment to other executives, but there was no reply as of late Friday.
The Financial Times report on April 29 noted that the growing Cuban sales of larvicides in sub-Sahara Africa was causing concern in the region.
“To the frustration of local African malaria specialists, the Cubans have frequently bypassed the technical experts and their demands for detailed data proving the impact of larvicides,” the newspaper noted.
“There is a marketing campaign for larviciding uncoupled from the science … People think they are dealing with a significant new tool when [it has] only a modest place,” it quoted Britain’s International Development Minister Stephen O’Brien as saying.
The article also quoted an unidentified African official as saying that the Cuban larvicide salesmen “go straight to the heads of state, playing the diplomatic connection from the early days of the African countries’ independence.
Cuba deployed tens of thousands of troops to Angola and Ethiopia to support Marxist factions in the 1970s, and provided strong assistance for more than a dozen other African nations as they gained independence. It currently also has thousands of doctors and other medical personnel working in Africa.
A Labiofam conference on malaria held in Angola in 2010 was addressed by Rodolfo Puente Ferro, a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party in charge of party relations with Africa and president of the Cuba-Africa Friendship Society. Also present was the island’s ambassador to Angola, Pedro Ross Leal, a former head of the Cuban Workers’ Central, the country’s lone labor union.
Labiofam, which stands for Biological Pharmaceutical Laboratory, says on its web pages that it is a scientific institution more than over 20 years old and that it supplies 98 percent of Cuba’s domestic veterinarian market and exports to 51 countries.
Its products range from the biological larvicides and fertilizers to household cleaning products, natural nutritional supplements and a homeopathic product for cancer patients, Escozul, made from scorpion venom.