The Golden Dream of A Prostitute / Cubanet, Gladys Linares
Cubanet, Gladys Linares, Havana, 5 December 2016 — I don’t remember
exactly how much time had passed since I’d seen Cristina, but it must
have been more than three years, because today, when I saw her at the
home of a mutual friend and asked about her daughter, who had caused her
so many headaches, she responded, very content, “She’s good, calm,
married and has a son who is about to turn two.”
When Cristina turned 16 and was studying in high school, she started to
change radically. At first she made up the story that she was studying
with some classmates, and was late or that she slept over at some
girlfriend’s house. And so, little by little, until she stopped showing
up some night at all, although she continued in high school and some
teachers said she was a good student.
Then she left school and started to disappear more often, sometimes even
for a week. Desperate, her mother went out looking for her and tried
everything to discipline her, from persuasion to violence, but without
results. According to a friend, the young woman said she didn’t continue
her studies because even if she graduated she would not be able to meet
her basic economic needs, and that what she needed was “a yuma
[foreigner] to be able to live well.”
Among her clients was a Spaniard three times her age. This gentleman
wanted to meet her mom and came to collect her at home. The girl ended
up pregnant. The Spaniard repaired the house, which was in very bad
conditions. When the child was born he married her and came by even more
often. He took her to live in Spain for a time, but she couldn’t adapt.
His family lived there, his kids, his grandkids — some of them older
than she was — and she didn’t feel comfortable among them.
Then, he bought her a mansion in La Vibora, on Santa Catalina Avenue. It
had land with fruit trees, a swimming pool, servants and it was
peaceful. The Spaniard even bought a car for when he was in Cuba, and
when her husband was gone she had a chauffeur.
Although I can’t think that this is what Cristina as a mother would have
wanted for her daughter, the truth is that at least the young woman is
not spending her nights in the streets looking for clients, being
extorted by pimps or police or risking going to jail at any moment.
This story of the life of a prostitute is not the happiest, but in
today’s Cuba, this has become the golden dream of a prostitute. Nor is
it the exception: many young women come to the oldest profession to
escape the poverty and the homelessness our population faces.
For years, Fidel Castro thundered that the Revolution had ended gambling
and prostitution, “the evils of the capitalist society,” although later
he was forced to publicly recognize its existence: “Our prostitutes are
the healthiest and best educated in the world,” said Castro, which is
also a lie.
And with the economic crisis that began in the ’90s, the so-called
“special period in times of peace,” prostitution spreads like wildfire.
Today, thousands and thousands of young people throughout the country
turn to this practice to satisfy their economic needs and/or their
anxiousness to emigrate. Surprisingly, the hookers are not looked badly
on by a broad sector of the population, but in many cases are admired,
because in general they display a higher standard of living that is
possible in Cuba on the salary of a job.
Source: The Golden Dream of A Prostitute / Cubanet, Gladys Linares –
Translating Cuba –