THE long-standing enmity between Cuba and the us has taken a bizarre turn with Cuba accusing the us government at the UN of waging a "biological attack" against it by introducing a plague of tiny, juice-sucking bugs that are now reportedly wreaking havoc on crops in three of its provinces. In a statqment presented recently to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary, general, Cuba said a crop duster aircraft used by the us state department for antidrugs operations repeatedly released a "white or greyish cloud of unknown substances" while flying above its territory last October. This was followed by the appearance of an insect pest known as Thrips palmi Karay two months later: in the Matanzas province beneath the US, aircraft's route. The insect was not known to have existed in Cuba before this incident. It has damaged potato, tomato and beans crops. A plant protection expert from the Food and Agriculture Organization visited Cuba in April and confirmed the presence of Thrips but he could not ascertain the origins of the insect outbreak.
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