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And by no means am I condoning paying for sexual favors, much less taking advantage of the poorer economy of this Latin American nation to satisfy your lust while here. It turns out that before the dual currency system was introduced in Cuba, and before international tourism became as prevalent as it is today, the profession was largely looked upon negatively by Cuban society.
A hooker was just a lowly prostitute, una prostituta, una cualquiera, a whore. My husband pointed one out to me once. She was standing below a tree on the highway waiting for horny truckers is all I can figure. The popular Cuban cartoon character Elpidio Valdes is one of these. A lot of the public opinion on girls who traded sex for money or cigarettes, rum, bling, or a night out on the town started to be less derisive and more accepting of their choice as a practical one, the clever Cuban girl taking advantage of the foreigner to get the things she wanted.
I recall being flabberghasted when a long time ago I read this quotation by Fidel: It seemed to me that that kind of comment would promote sex tourism, not at all the objective of the government of the Cuba I knew. We wanted to live together, and we were counseled that if that were the case then the only legal option we had was to marry.
A bit drastic, but thankfully in my case it ended up being the right decision. When the Pope visited Cuba there was a low point in the sex trade here. A lot of known jineteras were rounded up and jailed. A lot were sent back to their native provinces. Discos were closed down. Prostitution apparently became more of an underground thing, flourishing at private parties and such.
This lasted for around 5 years. She was indignant that they should think all Cuban women would want money for sex. I was driving a couple of French clients of mine to their hotel once and they mistakenly thought a Cuban girl who was hitchhiking asking me for a lift was a hooker. I explained that no, not every girl in Cuba is a hooker despite what they might have heard before coming here.