A local Communist Party-controlled radio station in Cuba published an article on Monday promoting the consumption of “cockroach milk,” a substance it admitted had a “rancid taste” but could become the new “superfood.” Cuba, once the wealthiest country in Latin America, has been an impoverished communist dictatorship since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. It has struggled with intense food shortages in the past five years due to mismanagement under second-in-command “President” Miguel Díaz-Canel, who answers to the Castro family and has repeatedly asserted that being named president would not in any way change the leadership of the country. Díaz-Canel’s leadership has led to severe shortages of bread, basic meats like chicken and beef, and cooking oil, among other products.
The Communist Party has responded to the shortages with increasingly bizarre nutritional recommendations, including eating rats, crocodiles, ostrich eggs, and banana peels.
The Spain-based Diario de Cuba reported that the article advertising cockroach milk appeared on the web page of Radio Guamá, a local government station in western Pinar del Rio, on Monday.
The article disappeared from the website by Tuesday but can still be accessed through the Internet Archive. “It sounds strange, but cockroach milk exists,” the article read. “Its protein content is far superior to that of any mammal milk and its fat content – which contains fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleic acid, omega-3 acidents and short- and medium-chain fatty acids – are an important source of energy.” The article conceded that the “milk” was “of an opaque yellow color, thick and with an elevated rancid taste,” but claimed it had “high nutritional value” and could be a new “superfood.” Diario de Cuba noted that the article appeared on the radio station’s Facebook page with a disclaimer alleging that it originated in a European outlet and was not original Cuban content.
The disclaimer appeared to follow a deluge of outrage and disgust in response to the article from Cuban social media users, already enduring a lack of basic food goods in their local markets. “The experiment, which has nothing to do with our reality, offers some details that could turn out to be very interesting,” the disclaimer read in part, according to Diario de Cuba. “We invite you to read this scientific curiosity through to the end.” The radio station reportedly claimed the original article appeared in a Spanish outlet named “Mercatrace.” An Instagram account with that name boasting less than 200 followers published a post on cockroach milk on March 17 that appeared to share much of the content of the Radio Guamá post. Breitbart News could find neither a published version of the article on Radio Guamá nor the Facebook post that Diario de Cuba referenced appearing on the radio station’s page at press time. Cockroach milk is a secretion produced by one species of cockroach, Diploptera punctate, or the Pacific beetle cockroach.
The species is native to Hawaii and has no known natural presence in Cuba. It is one of the few insects known to give birth to live young and its “milk,” scientists have claimed since at least 2016, does indeed show nutritional potential for humans. “Cockroach milk is among the most nutritious substances on Earth. It’s three times richer in calories than buffalo milk (the previous top contender for the most protein- and calorie-rich milk),” NPR reported in 2016. Cuban communist officials have been promoting bizarre attempts at food supply solutions for years that do not appear out of place alongside cockroach milk.
The Ministry of the Interior suggested last year, for example, that Cubans take up eating crocodile and jutía, a rodent native to the island that became a necessary food item after the socialist Revolution. Prior to the Ministry’s suggestion, state television published a report promoting rodent meat as a welcome addition “to the family dinner table” due to its allegedly superior protein content and “sustainability.” In 2019, Cuban state media encouraged citizens to eat banana peels and ostriches, which are not native to Cuba. A top Communist Party official, then-91-year-old “Commander” Guillermo García Frías, appeared on state television claiming that Ostriches produce “more [food] than a cow” and should be considered a serious investment for the regime, prompting outrage and mockery. García notably also promoted the consumption of jutía meat. Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.
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