The Epitome of a Dictatorship’s Cynicism


By Jose Luis Garcia Paneque

The daughter of General Raul Castro- Mariela Castro Espin- learned about the prostitutes from Amsterdam’s ‘Red Neighborhood’ and praised the business, one of humankind’s oldest, while on a trip to Holland.

In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the director of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) affirmed that in Cuba there are people who participate in prostitution “even to fix a bathroom”.

Mariela Castro Espin acknowledged the practice of prostitution on the island, the sale of drugs, and affirmed the necessity of “learning to create mechanisms” to exercise prostitution in a way that would not bother tourists and that the rights of those who carry out this “sexual work” be respected.

“The Malecon is not a problem”, she assured during the interview in a very relaxed tone.  In the destiny where “Havana and those who visit it” converge there are people who perform “prostitution on their own account”, acknowledged the CENESEX director during a visit to the Prostitution Information Center.

From her European experience she seeks to “openly handle the issue” and claimed to admire and respect the way in which prostituted in Holland “have found a dignified way to carry out their sexual labor and make themselves be respected”.

The epitome of a dictatorship’s cynicism (and the cynicism of all of their representatives) is to try to let people forget that after seizing power on January of 1959, prostitutes were taken to supposed rehabilitation centers and exposed to severe violations in the style of the Military Unit for Production Help (HUMAP).

The words of her mother spoken during a Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women must be fresh in the mind of Mariela.  In that meeting, her mother lashed out against “prostitutes” (which, up to that moment was taboo).  Supposedly, with the “successes of the Revolution, prostitution was an ill of the past”.  But as of that moment, seclusion centers for prostitutes were created in each Cuban province where the young women spent up to more than 4 years without any rights.  They were considered “assured interns” not prisoners.

Meanwhile, in Cuban male prisons, the prisoners are all heaped together and can buy sexual services from prostitutes authorized by prison functionaries.

The prison authorities pretend to look away when it comes to this phenomenon and eventually make some money off of it.

As sad and painful as it is, prostitution in Cuba is generalized- all social levels and not only the marginal sectors practice it.  From a secondary school girl who, in the morning goes to school, and at night goes out to “hustle”.  Or the nurse or schoolteacher who go out to “make the bread”, according to the jargon of that ‘business’.

The image which these representatives who supposedly freed us want to sell us is truly repugnant.

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