Prostitution in Cuba is illegal, as it is in most countries. However, like in most countries, it exists. In Cuba it seems to be tolerated by society, ignored by the police. They keep it low keyed, but the problem to me seems to be the age of the girls involved…young.
Cuba is a poor country; kept that way because of the communist system or the embargo, depending on your point of view. Everyone has to hustle just to survive. Young women have fewer ways to hustle. These “jinateras” therefore hustle tourists. Their aim might be just dinner and dancing in places they could never afford on their own, or spending the night with a tourist with a few dollars thrown in. It may be excitement for them or it may be for survival. The situation is bad enough, but it seems even worse with the age of these girls.
This has caught the attention of the daughter of the country’s leader. Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro is publicly discussing the situation. Her proposal is to punish the clients who hire the services:
“We have to act. We can’t simply say that we are against sexual exploitation as a form of sexual work. We cannot say that we want to protect our children and adolescents from sexual exploitation. It’s not just wanting it, but breaking our heads to find a way to do it,” Mariela Castro said recently on the nationally televised Cuban program Mesa Redonda, which discussed the International Symposium on Gender Violence, Prostitution, Sexual Tourism and Human Trafficking held earlier this year in Havana.
I wish them luck in their fight against prostitution in Cuba, but I think with the Cuban economy is such bad shape they won’t want to do anything to discourage tourism. Such is the way of politicians everywhere.