Salt Residue and Whatever Happens (Part 2)

Francisco Rafael Castro Cariacedo
Francisco Rafael Castro Cariacedo

Alexander was still dying of embarrassment two hours after I told him that I am Cuban and that there is no way in the world I would pay to have sex with anyone.

The two hours seemed like two lifetimes, listening to him speak of things I had only read in sensationalist magazines, newspapers and books from abroad that attack the government and accuse it of violating human rights.

Two hours were enough to erode the absurd innocence in which I had been living for so long and the blindness that prevented me from seeing the numerous errors we commit every day and the idiotic way we spend our energy avoiding or hiding.

Scene on the Malecon seawall, photo by Ana Maria Gonzalez
Scene on the Malecon seawall, photo by Ana Maria Gonzalez

Hiding the truth from whom? For what reason? Why discredit ourselves so foolishly? To what end?

I pondered these and other questions on the walk home. Replaying in my mind were the words of Alexander, a former bodyguard who, since his house collapsed in Pinar del Rio, has felt it necessary to travel every week to the Capital to prostitute himself.

He sleeps in the street on nights he cannot find a client. He survives on a pizza or a sandwich or nothing on days when he has no customer.

Every week Alexander goes home with between 50 and 70 convertible pesos (US $65-85), an amount that would seem like a small fortune to most Cubans, but to him it isn’t enough to purchase

Scene on the Malecon seawall, photo by Ana Maria Gonzalez
Scene on the Malecon seawall, photo by Ana Maria Gonzalez

the construction materials he needs to rebuild his house and to feed and cloth himself and pay for his weekly trips. He said that despite having gone through all the possible and impossible procedures with all the pertinent and not pertinent agencies, to seek help with the materials, he has only received vague long-term promises in reply.

Many questions pounded away in my head during my walk home. I had strong doubts about the veracity of Alexander’s testimony, until I shared this experience with some friends. To be continued…



0 thoughts on “Salt Residue and Whatever Happens (Part 2)

  • Thank you for your writing. I will be looking for your next entry. I posted on another blog on this site, I am a young gay women who travels to Cuba fairly often. This site is amazing and a wonderful glimpse into the lives of the people of Havana. Thank you for your honesty and candor. Gay people all over the world face many of the same hardships, transgendered people especially are forced into similar positions where I live. In Cuba, because of the currency situation, this takes on a different face and meaning and requires different solutions. But the struggle for gay rights is universal. Thank you and I hope you continue writing. I will point other friends of mine to your blog.

    Reply
  • It is sad when sex is commodified, but for the same reasons in Cuba as here in the U.S. of A: economic necessity, and this has gone on since civilization’s beginning, and will continue ’til its end. Still, when this most precious form of expression becomes but another service performed in exchange for money or goods, I can’t help but feeling it is something which kills the soul.
    (In my mis-spent youth, however, when hormones were in charge, many encounters were hardly romantic; rather, as the existentialists say, they were for “sex in itself” (i.e. sex for the sake of sex, not love). Such non-romantic encounters often left a bitter taste in the mouth the next morning: alienation.

    Reply

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