HAVANA TIMES — While sitting in the Plaza de Armas one day waiting for my friend and Havana Times colleague, Veronica Vega, I heard a conversation between two foreigners, almost without wanting to; the girl was Argentinian and the guy, seemed European to me in his appearance and accent, although he spoke Spanish very fluently.
They had just met and each of them was telling the other about the places they had visited in Havana and other cities in the province. However, what most caught my attention was the way in which they spoke about how Cubans behave.
The Argentinian complained that she could barely walk around in peace, as people were constantly inviting her to go out, others offering somewhere to sleep, restaurants, or just wanting to become friends. They would immediately pop out at her. They also used to give her lewd compliments.
Meanwhile, the European guy said that he hadn’t found a way to distinguish between a woman who was really charmed by him or who just wanted to get him in bed and then charge him at the end.
He was looking for companionship, of course, but he didn’t know what to do, because he doubted the fact if they really liked him or just his wallet.
They both agreed that the majority of women walking around with old geezers were pretending to be in love, just to, shamefully, get at their money, and therefore you couldn’t trust any of them. They similarly addressed the issue that they knew Cuban couples who have come to an agreement, and one of them “jineteas” (chases after a tourist) with the other’s permission.
They made their contempt very clear. A short while afterwards, they made plans to meet in the evening, they got up and left.
I was left fuming, at not being able to defend my people and wanting to tell them that not all Cuban men and women prostitute themselves, and that there are cases and things, which set out the difference.
Making a judgement about us, without going into depth, is impossible. You can’t get an idea without coming into direct contact with us. In a hotel, from a comfortable room, you don’t get to know anybody.
I have met friendly foreigners who know how to tell who is who, they don’t get offended and they don’t generalize.