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Eleven Dead in Cuba After Drinking Black Market Alcohol

Eleven Cubans have died this week and more than 60 have been hospitalized after consuming toxic industrial methanol sold as rum, state media reported on Friday.

According to

“The Cuban government has confirmed that 11 people have died after drinking industrial strength methanol sold to them as rum.

“59 are still in hospital, two in a serious condition. A preliminary investigation suggests the methanol, which is commonly used as anti-freeze, was stolen from a government warehouse by two workers. It was sold as black market alcohol by a local woman in the Havana neighborhood of La Lisa. Most of those who died were in their 40s and 50s and lived locally. A neighbor explained why they had bought the alcohol, saying, ‘The other shops are far from here, and this alcohol is cheaper to buy. That’s why they came here.'”

According to Reuters:

“Three suspects have been taken into custody, although their
identities and the charges they face have not been released.

“Cuban media have since been filled with stories related to
the poisoning and warnings to people to watch what they drink,
including graphic medical descriptions of how methyl alcohol can
quickly make people blind.

“Many survivors have said the phony rum tasted so bad they
took only a few sips.”

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