Cuban President Raul Castro announced Monday that he is dispatching 9,000 soldiers to help keep the Zika virus out of Cuba, calling on the entire country to fight the mosquito that carries the disease. In a rare front-page message on the state-run newspaper Granma, Castro said Cuba’s fight to prevent the arrival of the virus had been hampered by “the inadequate technical quality” of efforts against the mosquito, insufficient work to clean up areas where the mosquito propagates and poor weather conditions.

He wrote that the active and reserve military personnel and 200 national police officials would reinforce the Public Health Ministry’s efforts to spray neighborhoods for mosquitoes and eliminate breeding spots. He said Cuba has yet to report a case of Zika, which is suspected of causing birth defects in Brazil. READ MORE