By Rosa Miriam Elizalde in Havana. Translated for Axis of Logic by María Teresa Ortega, Cubadebate

Jul 26, 2007, 08:12

"The Condoleezza Rice report also avoids to mention that before the 1959 triumph of Revolution Cuba had a population of about 6 million and was known as the "North American brothel in the Caribbean." Some 100 000 women worked either directly or indirectly on prostitution due to poverty, discrimination or absence of jobs. The Revolution educated them and offered them employment."

- Rosa Miriam Elizalde

Three myths about the sexual trade currently used to demonize Cuba

Rosa Miriam Elizalde

Havana, Cuba

A reflection on the 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

Cuba and Venezuela heads this U.S. State Department's black list. The annual verdict - it has been issued now since 2001 - repeats practically the same arguments already used for seven years. It reiterates that both women and children are "internally trafficked" for sexual exploitation and that the country, an important destination for sexual tourism, is not doing anything to change the situation §.

I have before my eyes the diary of an anonymous girl someone brought to Juventud Rebelde newspaper during the days I was writing a series of articles (1) on prostitution. (2) in Cuba. My pieces, seasoned with letters from the readers, were the result of several years of obsessive search of the cause behind a phenomenon that, towards the end of the 1980s, disconcertingly emerged in national life. Without intending to, a girl who did not identify herself - save for saying she was 24 years old and had been born in Villa Clara - put in my hands her most intimate story and the attempt at justifying to herself the decision of selling her body.

It was evident that this girl did not want to see herself in the mirror as she really was and was building up a tropical version of Cinderella, but, suddenly, I stumbled on an element that, because of its being so obvious, I had not seen before in its full transcendence: the weight of myths in sex trade.

"I am not my body"

"I am not my body" wrote this girl at some given moment, establishing a distinction between her "being" and her "soul" to protect herself, first and foremost, from her critical conscience. "I am not my body" was an estrangement, the establishment of an area of danger and alienation that prevented her from desiring and being desired, the demarcation of a free area that could be surrendered to another person.

None of the numerous prostitutes and procurers I interviewed had described so graphically the drama of human beings who sell themselves and submit their existence to a duality, a schizophrenia that actually divides their body into two parts. Nobody lives with a greater violence the drama of the dispossession of his or her innermost self as sex slaves do. (3) "It may be possible," a friend of mine said, "to sell the soul and keep the body untouched. But it is impossible to sell the body without harming the soul." The commodity sold is pleasure, or the image of pleasure; the commodity are values and culture, dignity and social referents and the enormous value of this "product" places the (male or female) prostitute in a more disadvantageous position than a person submitted to the most usual form of slavery, where workforce is alienated, but intimacy is not.

Myth is an essential element in the erotic adventure of sex trade. It is the advertising of the "commodity", but above all the alibi sustaining sexist double standards. Almost all these myths have as a starting point a misconception, disseminated in recent times: the oldest feminine profession in the world is sex trade. These words suggest that prostitution is an innate attribute of women and, thus, permanently inevitable. However, it has been and is still unknown in many of the so-called "primitive" societies, as confirmed by archeology and popular mythology, where women appear practicing noble professions: potters, artisans, charioteers, teachers, collectors, porters. But during centuries of patriarchal domination historians ignored this (4) and it is still an assumption flippantly repeated even in treaties on sexual education.

"All acts of sexual violence - whichever they may be - are carefully linked to economic structures of domination"

Understanding the relationship between myth and prostitution as a form of slavery necessarily leads to the realization that this practice is not an isolated tragedy. All acts of sexual violence - whichever they may be - are carefully linked to economic structures of domination intended to mask them or to make them invisible and that existing prejudices prevailing in current morality spread or interweave with.

Cuba is not isolated from this context. Not a few myths and prejudices on women and prostitution are bandied about among us. Some are as old as modern history; others are reinforced by the subculture interweaving in a prostituted atmosphere and imposing codes that at times overflow marginality. They survive even with the interference of the experience of a country that for decades did away with sex trade in society - with traditional sex trade, that is, a direct transaction between the male or female prostitute and the customer — and where prostitution reappeared less than a decade ago with unique characteristics (5), but not totally unlinked from international referents.

Apart from "I am not my body" or "prostitution is the oldest profession in the world", there are dozens of myths of this type illustrating the double sexual reality and the transferability of the terms "woman" and "prostitute". My work as a journalist has made me pay closer attention than is usual to the meaning of words, to the structure of sentences and, perhaps because of that, I noticed some of these things in the letters arriving at the editorial department, in my interviews with specialists, and with men and women engaged in prostitution who reproduced these myths without being aware of the inner knots of concepts such as "ladies of pleasure", "jineteras, yes; prostitutes, no", "lost woman", among others that would require a deep sociological study in the light of our social reality. All the same, I venture some ideas because a look from this point of view may contribute to the understanding of the nature of prostitution in our country. Specifically, I believe it illustrates a fact that is not yet sufficiently understood among us: regardless of the difference that the Cuban economic and political model imposes on the phenomenon, male or female prostitutes are always the victims.


To call prostitutes "ladies of pleasure" or, even worse, "women who lead a happy life", as they are frequently called in Cuba, is one of the most outrageous lies uttered in this planet full of liars. These definitions were, undoubtedly, coined by the customers, who belong to the buyers' side and feel free of guilt when they pay. They reflect the individual experience of the customer who finds in prostitution a safe spot, with people who never say no to anything and guarantee pleasure, or the image of pleasure.

The life of a prostitute is not happy or pleasurable, but sexist prejudices are so ingrained that, at times, they themselves appropriate this frivolous image that plays down the customer's or the pimp's guilt and I believe both elements in this chain, customers and pimps, represent the same or similar social danger because of their crucial role in the institutionalization of sexual exploitation. Customers are corrupters, just as the pimps are: "The idea of being able to buy a human being as if it were an object you can use at your whim is entirely aberrant. This type of sex has nothing to do with pleasure, but with power" (6), reads the Swedish Law on Prostitution issued by the Parliament in that country, the first in the world that penalizes the customers.

In a massive research (7), perhaps the most ambitious in Europe as to the number of prostituted women interviewed - 1700 - Pilar Estébanez, Honorary President of Doctors of the World, records some data proving that the fate of prostitutes, far from being pleasant or undemanding, is tragic: 83 per cent attended only elementary school, they "see" a monthly average of 77 customers, 20 per cent are addicted to drugs, 12 per cent are AIDS-infected, they generally have much less knowledge about contraception than average European women... But this is only the tip of the iceberg: their health is in worst condition in every sense as compared with the rest of the population. They suffer more heart attacks, more ulcers, more diabetes, more allergies, more arthritis. "They have more pain in life," Pilar summed up and then quoted words by one of her interviewees: "Revulsion is not the worse and many of them are revolting. No. The fear you suffer in this line of work is worse. It's a terrible fear."

Marginalized, humiliated, defenseless and forgotten, prostitutes form one of the most tragic groups in modern life. Whatever the laws and the attitude of authorities, prostitution in most societies is a socially disparaged activity which is considered as having nothing to do with the normal flow of life in the nation (8). Cuba is no exception, in spite of attempts in marginal quarters to conceal or justify sex trade as a strategy for economic survival and for the marriage of convenience to a foreigner to be considered a sort of social promotion.

Some research and approaches to the phenomenon of prostitution in Cuba in the 1990s (9) agree on the enormous health risks youngsters run into, regardless of the health protection the country offers its citizens. Alcohol is always present, while drugs and violence are not ruled out in a transaction where the chance of catching AIDS creates restlessness similar to that caused by the Russian roulette.

If sexual transgressions, contravention of emotional loyalties, domination games between men and women, consumerism and ostentation are essential elements in the competitive and unstructured societies customers usually come from (10), these traits are very significantly marked in prostitution in our country and neither the relatively high educational level of the actors nor a relationship that may reach some level of affection between the male or female prostitute and the "prostituter" - as against the most generalized behavior in traditional prostitution in the world - are compensation for them. (11) "They had left behind the hope for happiness and could only find it in the power that things offer".

The women I interviewed, for example, all showed certain traits that pointed at a deep damage of their self-esteem, although they tried to hide them. Most were incapable of reaching orgasm and their relationship with their customers was always marked by anguish and insecurity. When I asked them about the things they did not like in their customers, most of them mentioned lack of understanding, scenes of violence, authoritarianism... They had left behind the hope for happiness and could only find it in the power that things offer. A chain of possessions that masks guilty feelings emerges: the customer owns the body of the other person and, thanks to that, the body ("my business, not me") owns things others do not have and, therefore, make them "better" and envied in the context of shortages and social differences evident in Cuban social life.

One form of logic counterweighs another. The customer's obsession, when dealing with this male or female prostitute, is the same: the dream of possessing. The drama of the women I interviewed is having arrived at the conclusion that happiness - joy - was no longer part of their plans and some only clung to the pipe dream of a blue prince, loaded with money, who would "settle them down". Their option necessarily required from them to increasingly dispense with the autonomy and enjoyment of their bodies. Although their motivations may differ, they end up just like those facing no more alternative than falling into prostitution to survive: "Sexuality does not exist; it cannot when one person is in a sexual situation where there is no reciprocity and when both persons are not together because they both want to." (12)


The identity of a woman that practices prostitution is built around stigma, the mark of being different, of being unworthy of social acceptance. But there is not one single image of prostitutes. "There is no woman who is not suspected of bad conduct. According to boleros, all women are ungrateful; according to tangos, all are whores (except mama)", wrote Eduardo Galeano (13), while for Marcela Lagarde (14), the term "prostitute" is actually included into a much wider one, "whore", which is used to show contempt against any female sexual transgressor.

"'Whore' is ideologically identified with 'prostitute', but lovers, kept women, paramours, models, artists, cabaret stars, exotic dancers, strippers, trollops, single mothers, failed women, those who put their foot in, those who escaped with their boyfriends and got into trouble, cheating women, divorcees, seductive women, those who go about with married men, husband snatchers, those who go to bed with anyone, those who are flirtatious, scatterbrained, blasé, coquettish, hot, insatiable, nymphomaniac, hysteric, crazy, and, of course, all women, are whores if they show lust, at least at some specific moment or circumstance in their lives." (15)

"In Cuba ... this myth woman-prostitute has fallen socially into total disrepute"

In Cuba, where actions in favor of women liberation have been considered a revolution within the Revolution (16) and place the country in a leadership position as to work regulations favoring them, this myth woman-prostitute has fallen socially into total disrepute, although this does not mean that the same situation is to be found within every single family. In them, overcoming traditional stereotypes takes much more time and, in some groups, discriminatory and stigmatizing social and cultural patterns are to be found.(17)

However, the attempt at concealing the practice and name of prostitution by those in the sex trade, or by those who directly or indirectly benefit from it, shows the distance they try to keep from the historical memory that pushes those involved in sex trade to the lowest social ranks and, in a certain way, an unease for being involved, at times rather sporadically, in this practice.

Identity problems could easily be detected in the women I interviewed just by looking at them: between a social identity marked by the stigma of prostitution and an individual identity trying to oppose it and evading the term with subtle maneuvers in an attempt to save their self-esteem. They resorted to false stories, incompatible with reality, but which gave them some dignity before customers who, unaware of the Cuban context, judged them on the basis of the social referents they were used to: "I tell the yuma (18) a sob story, that my mother is insane and threw me out of the house, that my son has nothing to eat. You have to melt their hearts so they hand out the fula (19). You don't say you are a prostitute. It is a very strong and ugly word..." (A. M., Havana)

Political exploitation of prostitution

"Cuba has lived the unusual experience of political manipulation of the drama of prostitution"

In the Cuban case, it is not in the social or the individual levels where this myth "woman = prostitute" reveals itself more clearly, but in the international news media. Cuba has lived the unusual experience of a political manipulation of the drama of prostitution that has become the center of an international campaign presenting Cubans, all of them, as potential saleable objects. "You will feel watched by hundreds of approachable women," starts an article in Man magazine, (20) whose content, unfortunately, was not at all exceptional in the final years of the Special Period.

In 1997, the Italian magazine Viaggiare (21) suggested a gold medal be granted to Cuba - first place - as sex tourism destination. According to the magazine, only eight African countries that, together, accumulated 26 of a total of 30 points, were above Cuba in "erotic level." This view has remained practically unchanged in the last decade. The Mexican magazine Deep, which can be found also in the United States, devoted one of its numbers to this topic. The first paragraph in an article, "Cuba: Caribbean Sensuality", illustrated with pictures of half-naked women, reads: "Cuba is known as the largest bordello in the world, where tourists can enjoy unspeakable sex nights. Don't wait any longer and experience with us the hottest area in this sensual and erotic island!" (22) A few days ago, the Spanish daily El País published a story under the title "Cuba: A Country of Contrasts" where in a Manichean way it compares the poverty of Cubans (directly or indirectly prostituted) with the luxury tourists enjoy, when writing about a report on Trafficking in Persons disseminated by the U.S. State Department in June 2006 (the daily mistakenly states it was published this year). (23)

"By linking the reemergence of prostitution in Cuba with the measures enacted to strengthen economy they are actually trying to demonstrate the unfeasibility of the Cuban social project."

By linking the reemergence of prostitution in Cuba with the measures enacted to strengthen economy they are actually trying to demonstrate the unfeasibility of the Cuban social project. With no nuances and concealing the phenomenon, it is offered as the highest evidence of the political disintegration of the Cuban system, the return to a type of trade that had disappeared in the initial decades of the Revolution. "This campaign intends to present the increasing number of tourists in the country as a wave of sex-starved males that will find their desires fulfilled in an island plunged into poverty, with women selling their bodies for their daily bread" (24), as said a Spanish journalist who took part in a debate on the topic in the magazine Cambio 16.

The attempt at showing that economy grows thanks to the sex market is frequent and there have even been those who have rashly awarded Cuba the credential of "erotic imperialism" when trying to explain the signs of economic recovery in a blockaded country. (25) In this type of analysis, of course, the image of Cuban prostitutes is presented out of context. Since, as a rule, the phenomenon is seen superficially and tendentious information is offered, foreigners imagine that these prostitutes are not essentially different from those who sell themselves in bordellos and streets in their cities and that form part of a highly organized and lucrative business, all this quite far from Cuban reality.

"Whether directly or indirectly, what is being sold as an image is the possibility of subduing the Cuban nation."

As a mathematical formula closed up in itself, the equation "woman = prostitute = Cuba" has ended up as a new version of the myth maintaining that all women are whores: it is the stigmatized identity of a country and the tropical version of the failure of socialism. Whether directly or indirectly, what is being sold as an image is the possibility of subduing the Cuban nation. That "all women are approachable" does not only mean that you can buy sexuality and power over another human being - and, by extension, take control of a country for a period of time established beforehand - but that you can avail yourself of their intimacy, the area in human beings, no matter where they are from, where the link with shame and taboo runs deeper.


This myth is perhaps the handiest in prostitution in Cuba. What is "jineterismo"? It is a concept that does not only involve prostitution, although it contains it, and as any term that becomes fashionable in a given moment, it is still to be seen whether it is here to stay. Other more or less lasting fads have emerged, such as merolico and candiñas or fletera and carretilla - this last ones for low class prostitutes tending to the fleets at the Havana port -, and they all have sunk into oblivion.

The first jineteros were those who changed Cuban for foreign money in the black market when possession of foreign exchange was not yet depenalized in Cuba (26) and then extended to typify various attitudes of a marginal and heterogeneous group that included girls and boys who set a price to their bodies.

This new word, that from the beginning was not taken as a stigma or as charged with a pejorative connotation by those labeled by it, has become a semantic compromise in some marginal or next to marginal groups with a specific culture intent in "solving problems" or "fighting for life" and, therefore, is accepted and even justified with a lenient or suspicious comprehension, specifically when contrasted with the term prostitution. "No way! Prostitutes were those in the old times. I am a jinetera, a fighter!" (27) was the common answer my interviewees gave.

Actually, what takes place is a camouflage game disguising word and fact at the same time. Apart from the strategy of concealing the name, male and female prostitutes make up life stories on the various "jobs" accompanying "jineterismo" in an attempt at endowing it with more dignity. This is not exceptional. It is a characteristic of traditional prostitution pointed out by several authors which it shares with Cuban prostitution. Stigma is evaded, hidden from others. "I always say I am a dancer" (M.P., from Holguin) or "I protect myself (...) I say I am a nurse" (Y.A., from Las Tunas).

Erving Goffmann (28) affirms that when stigma is present, the world of the person is divided into its individual and its social identity. In traditional prostitution there is a context of relationships in which the prostitute shows him or herself just as he or she is; there is another in which he or she acts in agreement with his or her invented social status. Both "Is" must be differentiated to protect the personal "I" from the accusing finger of society. It is very embarrassing for a woman in sex trade when, in a space of prostitution, she runs into someone unacquainted with that side of her life. The same is true with Cuban prostitutes: "When I am jineteando, I am always afraid someone I know may come by." (N., from Havana)

Although some have their parent's complicity, the trend is that family, neighborhood and social relations are a world apart which is offered only part of the information on their life while other is omitted. The stigma, the stigmatized I, is hidden at all costs, not only because its discovery would harm their present situation - the customer finding out that she or he is just a prostitute like any other - but also because of relationships they may consider important and have to do with their affective world. It would harm not only their present, but also their future. The word "jinetera" helps to keep stigma at a distance; it draws a veil over the harsh face of prostitution.

Adverse reactions to the term prostitution are not secondary or insignificant. We have heard people jokingly say to a little girl "what a beautiful jineterita", but they would never say "what a beautiful putica (little whore)". This, of course, has historical roots, a cultural background, a long heritage which sees prostitution as something transgressing the dignity of human beings. Is this conceptualization of "jineterismo" something new? Is it a folkloric, innocent, elective trait? Not at all. Sex for money is clearly a trade which answers to the concept of prostitution. If the research carried out during these years in Cuba is fairly evaluated, it could be said that this practice bears all the traits of the worst expression of sex trade.

If we acknowledge that we have a type of male and female prostitutes who behave more like ladies and gentlemen companions, who have some learning and non urgent material ambitions, who are fluent, not easily extorted and enter into alien territories with a show of high self-esteem, we must also admit that this type of person can be found everywhere in the world. The difference of Cuba with other countries is an essential detail: they are responsible for their situation.

Amparo Comas (29) characterized two types of prostituted persons: the victim -the person who has been led into prostitution and is unable to stand firm because of his or her psychological frailty or a lack of elementary resources to survive - and the responsible person who, regardless of his or her inner frailty, is daring, assertive and is involved in this activity not so much to cover basic needs, as to maintain a consumption level above the mean. Both types of prostitution belong to the field of marginality and it is there they remain, in spite of efforts to legitimize it with the term of "jineterismo". "All prostitution is marginal in the sense that it is not recorded in economic balances... Marginalized is whomever is set apart from society in devaluated positions, whether of prestige or of material resources. Persons who stop being considered love companions are also marginalized, although they may have a high level of consumption and be well regarded in groups resorting to 'perfumed prostitution'." (30) "In Cuba, the prevailing prostitution [is not] a form of legitimate remunerated work, as those who try to tarnish Cuba's image proclaim."

If we agree that "jineterismo" is prostitution, it would be degrading to welcome it as a work option for women. Although in Cuba the prevailing prostitution is non traditional and exists in a still indeterminate and numerically scarce sector of marginality when compared with world statistics, this does not at all mean that the country has created a form of legitimate remunerated work, as those who try to tarnish Cuba's image proclaim. Kathleen Barry (31) warned that it was necessary to avoid the temptation of seeing prostitution as a work option, because if it is justified as legitimate work, we end up accepting sex trade as an unchangeable, everlasting entity. First of all, prostitution attacks the dignity of human beings, because a person is not something you can use and then let go. You cannot buy or rent a man without harming his dignity. "It is forgotten that those who exercise it are always the victims of a violation of their fundamental rights as human beings." (32)

Kathleen also warns: "It would be unfair with us and with our sex not to ask women to be socially responsible for their options." In other words, when prostitution is accepted as an option for working women unsatisfied with their earnings, it can be concluded that, in contrast to married women, prostitutes at least receive an additional remuneration. "This argument," she says, "supports the position considering sex and women's bodies as merchandise."

The myth of prostitution by choice

There is another nuance to this entire analysis: one thing is exercising prostitution whether responsibly or not and another is choosing it freely. When we say that a woman opts for prostitution, we are implying that she does it with entire freedom, but this is another enormous myth associated with its camouflage. Prostitution is not a cause, but an effect, so the option of choosing the path of sex trade to satisfy individual ambitions is preceded by social, educational, economic and family conditions predetermining it. This analysis is of the utmost importance when planning the strategies for social reintegration of male and female prostitutes so as to avoid acting against the victim instead of acting against the wrong.

When a man or a woman has been the victim of sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence, does this condition their choosing sex trade? If they have grown in a family context where material possessions replace love and conspicuous consumption is revered as an expression of social success, what happens when the person suddenly loses access to these attributes of economic power or is unable to acquire them though normal means? If the person lives in an environment of violence and machismo; if alcoholism and drugs are close referents; if work, a universal value at the starting point of the creation of other values, is considered only business; if the patterns worshipped at home suffer from opportunistic, unscrupulous egotism sacrificing everything in the altar of nothingness, is it that strange that youngsters end up opting for prostitution, crime, alcoholism, drugs or other types of disintegrating trends? (33)

Now well, reaching the conclusion that they are prostitutes and not "jineteras" should not be a excuse to consign them to stigma. There is the trend to identify prostitution with the figure of the prostitute, its most visible and weaker face. The most sinister characters in this story, as we have already said, do not often leave the shadows. But those who sell their bodies, who speculate with their dignity, although they may not want to admit it, are marked by a devastating experience and by the permanent torture of guilt. The girl who gave me her diary had actually been writing it for the day when her small child, still unaware of reality, asked her why she had chosen that path. In rented sex in Cuba, it is common that most of the times male and female prostitutes are victims of themselves, but they are always victims, and treating human beings with scorn is not the option Cuban society has chosen. (34)

Punishment and Never a Crime

It is a punishment, never a crime, and it is important not to lose sight of this, because before, during and after having made the choice to sell sex, those human beings are always unhappy, although they may not admit it. First of all, they will be the slaves of the things they covet and perhaps someday own. What do they really feel? In the conversation with his sister Dunia, the main character in Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, is very close to the answer any male or female prostitute may give us: "You will reach a limit that, if you don't go beyond, will make you unhappy, and if you do, will make you even unhappier."


1. The series was published in 1996 in Juventud Rebelde, then a weekly paper, and later as a book under the title Flores desechables. ¿Prostitución en Cuba (Disposable Flowers. Prostitution in Cuba?), Editorial Abril, Cuba, 1996.

2. There are many definitions of the terms prostitution and male or female prostitute. We use the most generalized and encompassing concept appearing in Diccionario Ilustrado Oceano de la Lengua Española (p. 800): "Prostitution: Activity of a person who maintains relations with other persons in exchange for money or other goods". We prefer it to the definitions in The MacMillan Encyclopedia, the Cambridge Dictionaries of English and the Collins English Dictionary. Likewise, for male or female prostitute: "Young women or men who have carnal relations with individuals of their or of the opposite sex." (Diccionario Ilustrado Oceano de la Lengua Española., p. 801).

3. See Kathleen Barry analysis: "La red define sus temas: Teoría, evidencia y análisis de la esclavitud sexual femenina" In: Informe del Taller Feminista global para la Organización contra el Tráfico de Mujeres. Centro de Investigación para la Acción Femenina, Santo Domingo, 1985, pp. 50-52).

4. Martín-Cano, F.: Causas de la prostitución en la Prehistoria. Omnia. Mensa España, Nº 92 y 93, Barcelona, 2001.

5. I extensively approached this topic in my journalistic essay "Jineteros en La Habana" (Jineteros in Havana"), published by Contracorriente, No. 2, 1995, pp. 49-64. 6. See the Law on Prostitution, adopted in 1999 by the Swedish Parliament, in: 1999 Swedish Law on Prostitution.

7.Estebanez, Pilar: Exclusión social y salud. Balance y perspectives, Icaria-Antraztyt 179, Spain, 2002.

8. See the excellent study by Amparo Comas: La prostitución femenina en Madrid, Consejería de la Presidencia, Madrid, 199?.

9. Fernández, E., "La prostitución femenina en los 90", paper submitted to the International Workshop "Mujeres en el umbral del siglo XXI, Havana University, 1995 / "Estudio sobre algunos de los valores morales de jóvenes con conducta social prostituida", Instituto de Medicina Legal, Ministerio del Interior, Havana, March 1996./ María Isabel Domíngues and M. E. Ferrer: "Integración social de la juventud cubana: Reflexión teórica y aproximación empírica", Research Report, CIPS, 1997.

10. In Cuba, prostitution is mainly linked with international tourism, the main source of income of the country after the so-called Special Period with its significant economic contraction. With the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and the opportunistic intensification of the U. S. blockade in the 1990s, the country lost its main trade partners. (See: "Jineteros en La Habana," op. cit.)

11. See the analysis of this topic by the Argentinean psychoanalyst Germán García in "Piedra libre al cliente", Página 12, Argentina, April 17, 1988.

12. Olsson, Hanna, Report on Prostitution, Sweden, 1980.

13. Galeano, Eduardo: Patas arriba: la escuela del mundo al revés, Ediciones del Chanchito, Uruguay, 1999, pp. 72-73.

14. Lagarde, Marcela, Cautiverios de las mujeres: madresposas, monjas, putas, presas y locas, Ed. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Colección Posgrado, México D.F., 1990.

15. Lagarde, op.cit. p. 543.

16. "Mass access of women to education and jobs, leaving the parent's house at an early age to carry out social tasks (anti-illiteracy campaign, scholarships, agricultural work) imply an important geographic and social mobility; the gradual decrease of myths stemming from a sexist and racial prejudiced culture, would be the new frame of reference for Cuban women from 1959". Dominguez, María Isabel, "La mujer en el contexto de la sociedad cubana a finales del siglo". In: Gallopinto, Zaragoza, Spain, Number 39.

17. Arés, Patricia: Mi familia es así. Editora Política, Havana, 1990.

18. Yuma, pepe: in marginal Cuban slang, foreigner.

19. Fula: in marginal slang, U. S. dollar.

20. Man, Spain. January 18, 1996.

21. Viaggiare, Italy, March 22, 1995.

22, See "Cuba, sensualidad caribeña" in: Deep. Mexico, Year1. No.2, December 2002 - January 2003. pp. 30-33.)

23. García Ajofrín, María Dolores. "Cuba: país de contrastes"), in: El País, Spain, June 26, 2007.

24. Orozco, Román. In Cambio 16, Spain, December 16, 1996.

25. In a unsigned story published in the daily Svenska Dagblodet, Stockholm, on May 14, 1998.

26. Possession of foreign exchange was depenalized in 1993.

27. Elizalde, R.M: "Jineteros en La Habana". op. cit.

28. Goffman, Erving. Estigma. La identidad deteriorada, Ed. Amorrortu, Buenos Aires, 1970.

29. Comas, Amparo. Op. cit., p.14.

30. Ibid, p.15

31. Barry, Kathleen. Op.cit, p.32

32. Ibid.

33. María Isabel Domínguez and M. E Ferrer: "Integración...", op. cit. p.16. The authors describe as a disintegrating trend in youngsters, among others, "those separating them from the collective goals approved by national consensus".

34. Answer of Cuba to Note CU 2004/139 by the Secretary General of the United Nations asking for information under General Assembly Resolution 58/137, "Strengthening of international cooperation to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and protect its victims", Vienna, November 3, 2004.

35. Dostoievski, Fiodor. Crimen y castigo. Raduga Editorial House, Moscow, 1989. First Part, Chapter 3, p. 273.


On 12 June was issued the "2007 Trafficking in Persons Report" elaborated by the Department of State, including Cuba for the fifth time. This time it has dedicated to the Island approximately the same number of words than it has been doing since 2003, all of them full of slanders and offences and it emphasizes the supposed infantile sexual tourism, the forced work and the prostitution of minors in Cuba.

However this time it recognizes that Cuba has zealously and severely applied the Law to prevent and sanction any crime of this nature. Yet it does not mention the talks on migration carried out by the two countries at the beginning of 2000 which were aborted by the Bush Administration. During those talks Cuba presented specific proposals of collaboration to confront traffic of people, drugs, terrorism, infantile pornography and related crimes. The US rejected them then and in other later opportunities.

The Condoleezza Rice report also avoids to mention that before the 1959 triumph of Revolution Cuba had a population of about 6 million and was known as the "North American brothel in the Caribbean." Some 100 000 women worked either directly or indirectly on prostitution due to poverty, discrimination or absence of jobs. The Revolution educated them and offered them employment.

Originally from on August 3, 2007, 4:58am

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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