The Mosquito Threatens Independence

in Epidemic Invasions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226218113
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226218137 | DOI:
The Mosquito Threatens Independence

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With the end of the occupation government in 1902, Cuba was at last independent, but U.S. concerns about yellow fever powerfully shaped the limits of this independence. Before relinquishing control over the island, the U.S. government demanded that the new Republic of Cuba agree to maintain the sanitary conditions necessary to prevent the spread of yellow fever to the southern United States. This demand, which has received little attention from scholars, was central to the negotiations of independence and was finally enshrined within the Platt Amendment and incorporated in the Cuban constitution. The Cuban government nevertheless initially accorded low priority to yellow fever prevention, but the experiences of the first decade of the republic demonstrated that U.S. demands regarding public health could not be disregarded. Sanitation became a source of tension between the two countries. Only days after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the island, the new U.S. minister to Cuba, Herbert G. Squiers, expressed his concern for the Cuban government's commitment to sanitation.

Keywords: yellow fever; Cuba; United States; sanitation; independence; constitution; Platt Amendment; public health; Herbert G. Squiers

Chapter.  9272 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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