Those techniques live on in Cuba
Havana has proudly and publicly claimed that crime investigators regularly solve cases with dogs and human scents gathered from crime scenes and suspects, which it argues are almost as unique as fingerprints.
``In the past 12 years, there have been more than 3,000 cases in which, based on scent, it has been possible to establish the identity'' of criminals, Rafael Hernández, a criminology professor at Havana University, wrote in a 2003 paper titled La Odorología Criminalística en Cuba.
Hernandez's 13-page paper, written in an academic style that includes a definition of ``smell,'' notes that the use of ``criminal odorology'' started in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, was developed by the former East Germany and in 1972 was established around Communist-ruled Europe.
After East Germany collapsed in 1989, West German investigators found a warehouse packed with tens of thousands of sealed jars containing bits of cloth impregnated with the odors of criminals and dissidents -- used to identify or track them.
Cuba began building an ``odorology laboratory'' in 1989 ``with the experience of some compañeros who had visited those countries,'' Hernandez noted. Operational tests were carried out in 1991, and by 1993 the technique had been established throughout the island.
Many of the sniffer dogs are German shepherds from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary. Less threatening cocker spaniels have been used at the Havana airport.