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The Honey That Used To Heal Us / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano
Posted on February 13, 2015, Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen, Havana, 6 February 2015 – Bee
venom is considered 500 thousand times superior to any antibiotic. But
where to find that medicine and food, previously so abundant, older than

The sick man came to the clinic with a bad cough. The doctor diagnosed
bronchopneumonia. She prescribed antibiotics. And issued the challenge:
“If you find honey, don’t stop taking it.”

After many inquiries he found a farmer who empties his hives, puts the
honey into discarded rum bottles and sells them on the black market for
50 Cuban pesos (two dollars; a fifth of the average monthly salary) each.

It is not worth questioning the hygiene of the package or the quality of
the honey, issues that are for the European Union and other importing
countries. The Apicultural Research Center in Havana analyzes and
certifies nine physical-chemical parameters for all honey for exportation.

“Here we check aspects like moisture, diastase and hydroxymethylfurfural
– which describes the freshness of honey – acidity, electrical
conductivity, non-soluble solids, reducing sugars and apparent sucrose,”
explains Maidelys Pena Garcia, technician in Food Technology in that
laboratory. (…) For the export of honey to the European Union there
exist rigorous regulations, among them limits on residues of prohibited
substances like pesticides and antibiotics.

Some years ago they stopped selling honey in the pretty pitcher-shaped
glass jars in the CUC (hard currency) stores. There was no explanation
why the State, which controls honey from the agricultural phase to the
retail, gave up the lucrative business in the so-called border market
(in foreign currency). It was also sold at reasonable prices in state
farmers markets. What happened to the honey?

Even the popular honey-filled candies disappeared from the marketplace
some unknown time ago.

“The state buys all the honey from the farmers but the lack of honey in
the domestic market incites traffic on the black market, theft of hives.
The hives are mistreated because the thieves always are in a hurry,”
says Diosdado Ferrer, an old beekeeper from the Mayabeque province.

Deforestation and frequent periods of drought are other causes that
reduce the production of honey, royal jelly, propolis and wax. The bees
can die of hunger. A temporary solution is the transfer of the hives to
sites with better blooming, among them the coastal flowering mangroves.

Each worker bee visits some 7,200 flowers during his fifty days of life
in some two hundred thousand flights in order to make barely five grams
of honey!

Bees and other useful insects effectively contribute to the pollination
of flowers and the production of fruit, another cause of the reduction
of agricultural production in the country.

“Bees form part of the food production chain, hence the great concern
about their deaths. In temperate climate countries 30 percent of foods
that are produced are thanks to bee pollination,” says Doctor Adolfo
Lopez Pinero, director of the Apiculture Research Center.

Our grandparents cured themselves with honey from bees, which was sold
in all the stores of the country. But that was also when we were the
world’s sugar bowl. The bees are not at fault.

Translated by MLK

About the Author:

Reinaldo Emilio Cosano, Havana, May 1943, graduate in Philology from the
University of Havana. He worked as a professor the last twenty years of
his professional life. He was fired from teaching for lack of “political
suitability,” as recorded in the minutes of the final separation. He was
a member of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights and participated in the
Democratic Cuban Coalition. He has been writing for more than ten years
for CubaNet, through the Sindical Press agency, of which he is manager.

Source: The Honey That Used To Heal Us / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano |
Translating Cuba –

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