Raul’s Story and Prostitution in Cuba

Jancel Moreno

Foto: americatv.com

HAVANA TIMES — From May 418, the most important event for the Cuban LGBT community takes place, a drive against homophobia and transphobia.

This year, it is marked with a peculiar and much-needed CENESEX (Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual) campaign “for schools without homophobia and transphobia.”

Everything seems perfect, everyday it seems like the issues of homophobia and transphobia are being beaten, but there is another problem, one that continues to exist and which can’t even be controlled, and that is prostitution.

I will now tell you the story of Raul, a friend of mine, which is based on real events:

A teenager, he is only 19 years old, his name is Mario Hernandez, he lives in Alamar, with his grandparents, he doesn’t study, but he works, he works his body out every day at the gym, so he is in perfect physical condition, because Mario makes a living with his body.

It’s Friday, he leaves Alamar and he arrives at his destination, Vedado. Our boy walks down all of 23rd street, with a totally masculine swag, which is capable of making any girl who sees him fall crazily in love with him.

He’s arrived, the place is banging (that’s what he says to say that a place is busy), at the BimBom, on Infanta and 23rd Streets, there are always tourists there, it’s a sure bet.

Mario is wearing trousers that stick to his skin, which highlight his working tools, at the front and the back.

Leaning against the wall of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, he smokes a cigarette, while he works at looking at an apparently 55 year old man up and down, who according to him, could be his father.

The man approaches him, they introduce themselves, this time he isn’t Mario, now our friend is called Raul. The tourist was quite direct; he asked “how much do you ask for a night?”

Raul remains silent for a moment to give a bit of mystery and appear interesting, but he’s already thought about the price beforehand, 40 CUC for a whole night of Cuban sex. The foreigner accepts and takes him to Room 3 at the Ines Hostal, also on Infanta street.

The room is perfectly adapted for the encounter; they go in and begin to slowly kiss each other, Raul feels his phone vibrate for a second and asks to go to the bathroom so that Andres can start taking his clothes off.

He checks his phone in the bathroom, he has a missed call from his girlfriend; yup, Mario has a girlfriend who he’s been with for quite some time, but according to him, he has to make a living.

He finishes up in the bathroom and comes out into the room wearing fewer clothes, where the man is waiting for him to start the job.

Before starting, Raul warns the man that he won’t have sex without a condom; the tourist refuses, but convinces him by saying that he’ll pay 100 CUC to do it without protection. Both of them agreed and so the game finally started.

Raul woke up at 7 AM in the morning; he sees a note by his side and an envelope with 150 CUC inside. The message read: “Thank you for all the pleasure you gave me, I hope you never forget me, I’m already a part of you.” Puzzled by what he had just read, he leaves and goes to his home in the Alamar neighborhood.

Today, May 7th, it’s been two years since this story happened and Mario Hernandez is now here, at my home, crying, and telling me he has HIV.

19 thoughts on “Raul’s Story and Prostitution in Cuba

  • This article is not really about communism/capitalism (neither of which I would regard as inherently hideous – to use your terminology).
    I think I am correct in saying that the article refers to someone employing the services of a sex-worker in Havana and knowingly infecting him with HIV.
    For some reason you felt the need to introduce Mao Tse-Tung into the debate.
    I merely pointed out you got your facts wrong.
    I’m full of interest when it comes to 20th century right wing British politicians, but I can’t help noticing that you do not admit that your ‘fact’ regarding Mao was indeed a 100% non-fact.
    I don’t really think that you are prepared to admit this.
    So I shall move on and leave you to get on with your Cold War reminiscences.

  • Carlyle, please try and stick to the subject of the post.

  • I congratulate you on having thus far lived a rich and full life and I sincerely hope that are blessed with good health and sufficient wealth for a great many more years to come.
    I have however, no intention of entering into any kind of “I’m the Big Expert on Them Dodgy Commies” competition with you.

    I am neither a Communist nor an Anti-Communist. I know and have known a considerable number of Communists in various countries and I shall always feel comfortable agreeing/disagreeing with these acquaintances on a point by point basis.
    I would suggest that your life experiences fully entitle you to express strong opinions and I do not suggest that everything you present as fact is erroneous.
    I would however state that your facts are, on the whole, pretty selective.
    And that sometimes they are not facts at all.
    And if you are such a big cheese, then why don’t you simply have the good grace to admit that the following is incorrect?
    Why don’t you admit that the following fits in nicely with your strong anti-Mao viewpoint but is 100% at odds with historical fact??
    ‘……Think about the inevitable increase there will be in prostitution in China as a consequence of the Mao tze Dong policy of one child which has resulted in there being tens of millions more young men than young women.
    That is a direct consequence of a political decision taken by a communist dictator……’
    Mao Tse-Tung was totally against a one child policy.
    He was a ‘six feet under’ several years before it was introduced.

  • Nick as you are a relative newcomer to Havana Times, you may not recall one contributor to these pages who had read my book ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’ and having read the comments made by the usual sycophants, challenged them to find a single given fact within the book that was not correct.
    To date almost a year later, not one has been able to do so.
    My knowledge of communism is a consequence of living through the Second World War as a schoolchild, of knowledge derived from my late father serving in France with the Maquis (French underground and communist) then being the Military Governor of a substantial portion of Northern Italy where the communists were taking revenge on the fascists and then being one of the first two Britishers into Vienna when it fell to the Russians in May, 1945.
    We had an apartment in Vienna from 1945 until my fathers death there in the mid-nineties. As his actual occupation was as Head of Station of MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) in Vienna with agents serving in the area from Czechoslovakia to Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, several of whom I met, i gained substantial knowledge of communism, meeting some of those who escaped the USSR web by crossing the Iron Curtain – as you may know, many died on the wire – yes I saw the Curtain!
    I served as a British officer in Germany when it was still an occupied country and met very many displaced persons from Eastern Europe – they were stateless.
    Later in life I served on a British Parliamentary Committee with all the other members being M.P’s. Having signed the British Official Secrets Act, I have been careful in that which I have divulged.
    I have been married to a Cuban for quite a few years and my home is in Cuba. I daily watch the Cuban national news at 8.00 p.m, have Cuban friends, attend a Saturday morning discussion group that meets in the local library and am related to over sixty Cubans.
    You have the temerity to suggest that the facts which I provide are opinions whereas in your conceit you suggest that you are objective.
    So here is the challenge Nick!
    List the background of your knowledge of communism, of your experiences which enable you to dismiss the facts I provide as mere opinion. Go on, tell everybody on these pages the basis of your knowledge and finally try to correct any fact about Cuba that I have given.
    You Nick are evidence that total ignorance is bliss!

  • I just try to look at the history, look at the facts, look at all sides of the debate and form some sort of objective opinion on matters.
    Whereas with yourself, it would appear that you have formed a not particularly objective opinion a good many years ago.
    And ever since then you look out for facts to select which back up that opinion.
    Perhaps you are not too concerned if your ‘facts’ are really strong opinions masquerading as facts, if they are a bit distorted or a little far fetched.
    Maybe you think no one will notice.
    Maybe if you really want things to be facts badly enough (because they fit in so well with your viewpoint), they will actually morph into being real facts?
    Well all I can say is that I wish the very best of luck to you in these endeavours of yours.
    And meanwhile I shall remain ever thankful for the food I eat, the air I breathe and the apparent gift of being able to be objective.

  • Read the book: ‘Mao’. Nick. If he was interested in population increase why did he kill so many of his own countrymen?
    The discussion is about prostitution. Do you disagree that the one child policy which has resulted in their being many millions more young men than young women in China will inevitably lead to an increase in prostitution?
    Do you deny that the US despite its wealth receives sex tourists?
    Do you deny that HIV rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world – without sex- tourism by the wealthy?

  • It would seem that you are desperately trying to find a way to contradict what I am saying…..
    But despite managing to shoe-horn Mao into your comment, you don’t quite achieve your goal of contradiction.

    And as per usual you get your history mixed up in your scatter-gun criticism of all political systems you disapprove of.
    I’m no expert on Chinese history (as you seemingly purport to be), but even I know that the one child policy was introduced several years after Mao’s death.
    In actual fact Mao was totally and utterly against the one child policy believing that continued rapid population growth was the quickest way of making China into a big economic power.

    But you don’t like to let the facts to get in the way of a good story huh?

  • When Nick you speak of sex tourism being “One of the inevitable results of huge global wealth disparity.” have you included single Canadians who visit Florida, Californiia, Arizona and Las Vegas for “a good time” ?
    Sex itself Nck is a fact of life.
    Think about the inevitable increase there will be in prostitution in China as a consequence of the Mao tze Dong policy of one child which has resulted in there being tens of millions more young men than young women.
    That is a direct consequence of a political decision taken by a communist dictator, it didn’t take Moses Patterson to initiate the introduction of politics into consideration of prostitution. Remember it is the world’s oldest profession.

  • Reread the post carefully. There is no direct link between the sex this unfortunate male prostitute had with the tourist in the story and his being infected with AIDS. Put your crying towel away just yet.

  • Not at all cynical. Also, I am hardly scraping. I’m entitled to take what I choose from the article. This was the angle from which I chose to respond. If you choose to lament about the downside of sex tourism, to each his own.

  • You miss my point entirely.
    I’m not getting in a jab at capitalism. Capitalism is a fact of life.
    I’m taking issue with the fact that Mr P is using the the awful tale related in the article as yet another pretext to politicise.
    The article is not about wages in Cuba. it’s about sex tourism and it’s effects.
    Like capitalism, sex tourism is also a fact of life.
    One of the inevitable results of huge global wealth disparity.
    But surely people can indulge themselves in this type of activity in a safe manner?
    Rather than knowingly spread infection in the way described in the article?
    Are you and Mr P incapable of expressing an opinion on the sick behaviour of the tourist described in the article?
    And just by the way….
    Sex tourism destinations exist throughout the less developed parts of the world not just those parts which have political systems that you and Mr P disapprove of.

  • In your enthusiasm Nick to get in a jab at capitalism, you ignore the fact that the highest rates of HIV in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. It is not spread there by immoral capitalist tourists but by the native peoples usually paying nothing, let alone the princely sum of $150 – which I would remind you, is more than six months pay for the average Cuban living under the repression of ‘Socialismo’.
    And yet you speak of cynicism in others!

  • Not for the first time your comments are misplaced.
    This is an article about a tourist going to Cuba and deliberately infecting a sex-worker with HIV. He paid a mere $150 for doing this.
    This story may be true or it may be apocryphal.
    Sex tourism is a global phenomena and one of the most base of the myriad ways in which the developed world exploits the less developed world.
    You don’t comment on this theme or on the apparently shocking act of this tourist.
    Instead you cynically choose to utilise the victim’s story as merely another opportunity for putting forward your dreary old pro capitalist rhetoric.
    I note that you are scraping the bottom of the barrel yet again Mr P?

  • Sadly, there’s a big difference between what happens on the US and elsewhere in the world and what happens in Cuba.Yes, in the US, there are those very high-priced hookers that earn those incredible sums. But even an average doctor can outearn these girls (and boys). In Cuba, the average jinetera (hooker) easily outearns even the highest-paid Cuban surgeon. See the difference?

  • And the answer is …….. SEX ECONOMY. It pays more than the average salary of most professions even in the U.S. $10,000.00 for a night of doing the wild thing. Yup, that’s what the 1 percenters pay for such services, but you know what they say, “What happens in Vegas……..” , and of course there was also the Heidi Fleiss debacle too, Hollywood has a very dark underbelly. But of course we never hear about it in the news, well I guess they are a part of Hollywood themselves 🙂 or thy are to busy hating on Trump. 🙂

  • Jancel, if there is any sliver of truth to your story, I hope that the tourist is fed to the sharks (we have a whole extra bunch of them crowding the Southern California coastline right now). In the U.S. if a person purposely spreads a potentially fatal communicable disease, they can be charged with a serious crime.

    Regardless, it is not uncommon for male or female prostitutes to give in to unprotected sex in exchange for additional cash, however I seriously doubt that the person infected with HIV would do such thing to purposely spread this horrible disease. (Hope that some day soon a cure will be discovered for HIV AND Cancer).

    Well, when I first read this article I was angry, until I read the comments below. I had never heard this particular urban legend. Haha sucker me 🙂

    Thank you Chuck, Moses, and Stephen for the insight.

  • Just a form of advertising the need for using ubbers!!!

  • What kind of economic system pays a 19 year-old more for one night of sex than a it pays an experienced neurosurgeon in 3 months? The one in Cuba, obviously.

  • This is the common urban legend. While it’s true that people are routinely infected with the HIV virus because of unprotected sex, I seriously doubt the end of the story. I have heard many versions of this: the tourist who is told not to open his gift until he gets home: it’s a little wooden coffin that says “you have aids” – the man who goes to his hotel bathroom the morning after and see written in lipstick on the mirror, “welcome to the world of aids” – and now “Raul’s” story. People do contract AIDS, but I doubt there’s and entire group of HIV positive people dramatically creating AIDS messages. There is a lesson in all these stories, and it’s not the use a condom warning, like you thought, it’s for tourists – “Don’t take advantage of another person’s disadvantages.”

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