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Youth Prostitution Feeding Cuba;s Tourist Industry

On the eve of Art and Compassion Inc’s Ministry, Youth Outreach Trip to Cuba, (the ministry organization I have partnered with), I post this article I found and add a video that will shock, perturb, disgust and alter you, like i... Most especially if you have children and care for those who are abused because of their weakness and social conditioning. (Please have the video translated if you don’t understand Spanish).

{posted from: http://tinyurl.com/hiltonhotelsban}

Communist Cuba is attempting to right its economic problems by permitting the sexual trade of its children for badly needed monetary resources.

A generation of young people may have been invested to make Cuba’s tourism more appealing to foreign tourists looking for more than beautiful beaches and soft trade breezes.

Fidel Castro maintains his grip on the Cuban people as long as Cuba is able to produce funds to keep his regime afloat. Take away tourism dollars and Castro may self destruct and free a generation of Cuba’s children from sexual exploitation.

Tourism is Cuba’s most important moneymaker, generating almost $2 billion last year. In Spain alone, twenty flights leave for Havana every week, carrying to the Caribbean island a yearly total of some 200,000 single male tourists, all in search of cut-price sex. (Tunku Varadarajan, “Time-bomb that Flies in From Havana,” The Times, July 10, 1996. Lexis-Nexis document.)

Most tourists come from Canada, Spain and Italy. Tourism has recently replaced sugar as the single most important export in the economy. Much of this tourism, however, centers on travel for sex. Foreign tour companies use code words such as “Cuba Amor” to advertise package tours. At least one Spanish travel company offers a catalogue of Cuban women who would serve as companions during a tourist’s stay. (Adams, p. 1A).

By 1995 the Italian travel magazine Viaggiare recognized Cuba as the “paradise of sexual tourism,” awarding it five stars for its “general erotic level.” According to the magazine, Cuba beat out such competitors as Brazil and Thailand. (Adams, p. 1A; Dalia Acosta, Culture Tourism: Cuba Brushes up its Tourist Image, Interpress Service, Sept. 19, 1997. Lexis-Nexis).

Some reports suggest girls will sell sex acts for less than $10 and sometimes for as little as $3. Inexperienced women and girls can be persuaded and/or tricked into spending a whole night with a client for the cost of a meal, a few drinks or small gift. “Habitual sex tourists state that it costs them less to spend two weeks indulging themselves in Cuba than it does in other centers of sex tourism, such as the Philippines and Thailand. (O’Connell Davidson, p.41).

Sex tourism is often a means to satisfy very specific sexual preferences. Many men choose to travel to particular destinations because they know that it is possible to pursue their tastes more cheaply and safely. Pedophiles are an obvious example of this type of sex tourist, but more common are men who have a preference for experiencing multiple, anonymous sexual encounters with teenagers and women in their early 20s.

Sexual access to girls between the ages of 14 and 16 is not difficult to attain, and girls between the ages of 16 and 18 are very accessible. More disturbing still, such tourists are paying older Cuban women and men, often prostitutes themselves, to procure 14 and 15-year old boys and girls for them.

Sex tourists are also frequently drawn to Cuba because of the prospect of exotic encounters that contain a racial component. This is especially the case for those consumers who find it difficult to satisfy racialized fantasies at home.

As is the case elsewhere in Latin America, sex tourists view Cuban women as caliente–hot. In addition Davidson reports than many sex tourists are either openly racist and/or fascinated with Black sexuality, which they imagine to be untamed and uninhibited. (O’Connell Davidson, p. 46) Interestingly, the government of Cuba uses racial stereotypes “showcasing ‘traditional’ Afro-Cuban religious rituals and art, ‘traditional’ Afro-Cuban music, and of course, Afro-Cuban women (Fusco, p. 67). in conjunction with other images of Cuba as tropical, exotic and full of scantily clad native women.

These same stereotypes carry over to the sex tourism industry and feed into the sexual fantasies of the male tourist. As Davidson notes, many more jineteras are Afro-Cuban as opposed to mixed race or white. (O’Connell Davidson, p. 45. See also Fusco, p. 64).

The explosive growth of sex tourism in Cuba in the 1990s has coincided with the island becoming a major destination for international tourists. The Cuban government began to emphasize foreign tourism as a development tool in the 1980s, in part as a response to a stagnant economy. (Espino, p. 153; 158). Said one foreign diplomat of the boom in prostitution, “the decline and fall of Cuba’s economy and the turn to attracting foreigners has made it inevitable. The only way for most of these kids to survive is to sell themselves. (Freed, p 1).

The Fourth Party Congress in 1991 declared tourism to be “an important source of revenue for economic development. (Quoted in Espino, p. 147). The government has, particularly through government agency INTUR and state-run corporations Cubanacán and Gaviota, built up tourism infrastructure and welcomed foreign investment through joint ventures in hotels. It has also aggressively marketed Cuba as a tourist destination abroad, especially in Europe and Canada. To at least some degree the government has used sexuality to promote tourism.

The government has been aware of the explosion of sex tourism for some time and officially has distinguished prostitution under socialism from that of earlier periods: “this prostitution was different from that prostitution: that prostitution was what women did to buy food for their starving infants; this prostitution reflected a malaise born of boredom and frustration rather than economic desperation. (Gordon, p. 20).

Reflecting the official line, Fidel Castro remarked in 1993 that thanks to socialism Cuban girls must make the cleanest and best-educated prostitutes in the world. (Thomas Von Mouillard, Sex Tourism Arrives in Cuba, The Ottawa Citizen, March 13, 1993, p. K5. (Lexis-Nexis); Adams, p. A1) Castro said in 1992 in a speech to the Cuban National Assembly: “There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist. Those who do so do it on their own, voluntarily, and without any need for it. We can say that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy, because we in the country with the lowest numbers of AIDS cases… Therefore, there is truly no prostitution healthier that Cuba’s. He also said in 1992 that: “Cuban women become jineteras (prostitutes) because they like sex.”

Cuba, which traditionally has had one of the world’s lowest levels of positive HIV cases, has seen an increase there and in other sexually transmitted diseases. (Adams, p. 1A). The number of international tourist arrivals to Cuba has continued to rise. The Cuban economy, while recovering somewhat compared to the early and mid-1990s, is still struggling and most ordinary Cubans continue to scramble for scarce dollars. With no new large-scale crackdowns having taken place, thousands of sex workers continue to work openly at Varadero, Havana, and other tourist centers on the island.

The New Republic, June 2000 claimed, “The government referred to the women as “promoters of tourism.” Travel Intelligence, AA Gil 2001 reported that “The sex, of course, is what most of the tourist come to Havana for. Have no doubts about this. They’re not here to show solidarity with 40 years of continuous revolution, or to study architecture, and they certainly aren’t for the food”. Received on Wed Feb 07 2007 – 23:35:36 PST

For those of you who would like to help Art and Compassion's Youth 4 Christ Ministry, go to www.hopeandpromise.org or call 561-683-0707. They are in need of a wharehouse/office space, supplies and materials, clothing, shoes, medications, art supplies and sports equipment and cash donations. Your sponsorship will get in the hands of those who need it and will impact souls in the name of Jesus Christ.

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