Cuba’s Colorful Classifieds

Dariela Aquique

Cuban family. Photo: Caridad
Cuban family. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Opina (“Opinions”) was a magazine published in Cuba in the 1980s. Of all the things it printed, the most popular was by far the classifieds section. There, people from across the island could advertise products or items they wanted to sell, announce that they were looking for a new home and offer any type of service (within the bounds of what was permitted in the country at the time).

Thanks to that section in Opina, many Cubans were able to find a new house to move to, or sell a cradle, or a king-sized mattress, or a furniture set.

With the onslaught of the Special Period, many things disappeared in Cuba. Opina magazine was one of them. The search for homes and the sale of personal items entered the black market. Things have changed again, however, with the arrival of the Internet and the appearance, some years back, of a number of web-sites with classifieds pages.

Comercioonline, which mostly publishes classified ads for the province of Santiago de Cuba, and, containing ads for products and services offered in Havana and part of Cuba’s western region, are two of the most widely used sites.

With the new laws that were recently passed in Cuba, and now that the sale and purchase of certain types of property, such as vehicles and houses, has been legalized, a classifieds page is – understandably – a popular place indeed. is, however, more than a space for these kinds of ads. It is also a place that offers us a glimpse at one of Cuba’s “hidden faces”.

There, you can come across ads as suggestive as these:

50 c.u.c- European couple looking for girl for our upcoming vacation in Cuba. We are 23 and 30, respectively. No bad habits.

10 c.u.c-  Sex services for both men and women. I am a voluptuous black woman.

20 c.u.c-  I am a Cuban man currently residing abroad. Looking for male masseuse for erotic massage.

The most explicit ads you find can be as colorful as these:

We’re a nice, good-looking couple, looking for a pretty, bisexual girl interested in doing a menage a trois with us. Don’t be shy and give us a call. You’ll have a good time, you won´t regret it. We’ll be in Havana as of April 11. Send us a picture. Hugs and kisses.

Looking for a woman interested in getting married to obtain permanent residency abroad. I live in Ecuador and am already a permanent resident there. I am 31 years old, so any Cuban woman who wants to travel to Ecuador and immediately become a resident there needs to be between the ages of 23 and 35. My fee for giving you the opportunity to come to Ecuador and get a residency card through me (already a resident) is 3,000 CUCs. Payments are made via wire transfers. If you’re interested, contact me via email as soon as possible. I need the money and you need a residence permit. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.  -Cheers

Of course, I have no problem with freedom of choice, with a market where people offer the products or services they want to, and ask for money in return. The Cuban State is the one now facing a problem, finding it more difficult to conceal the double standards that prevail on the island with each day that passes.

Who can now say we have no prostitution in Cuba, or that people won’t do anything in their power to leave the country?

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

2 thoughts on “Cuba’s Colorful Classifieds

  • Like so many other examples emerging from everyday life in Cuba, Cubans are like everyone one else. They want the same things to make them happy. Sometimes that means a threesome and sometimes it means a steak dinner or a shiny new car. It may mean a male/male massage or it may mean a 50 inch TV. The point is that as Raul is forced to relax the silly restrictions his ego-maniacal brother imposed on the Cuban people, it will be clear that they will gravitate toward the excesses of capitalism and not away from them. Cuban’s ‘New Man’ is looking more and more like the old one every day.

Comments are closed.