Report from Yaneiris – Woman Who Works the Streets in Havana

Holguín, Cuba August 3, 2011 – Via E-mail - Translated


Yaneiris – Age – 30’s;Birthplace – Holguín, Cuba; Residence – Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Cuba, Holguín, Cuba; Lives with Teenage, Profoundly Disabled Daughter, in Illegal Rental Unit when in Havana, Extended Family When in Other Locations; Occupation – Educated as Economist; Worked in Government Stores; Prostitute

Hola Franklin:

I was happy to hear from you. I appreciate your tracking me down. I know it wasn’t easy. As you know, I don’t have the same cell phone number any more, and it’s so hard to communicate that way. I know it was as frustrating to you as it was to me to try to understand each other on that tinny sounding touch-and-go cell phone.

And the two e-mail addresses I previously gave you belonged to friends. They don’t have the addresses anymore. One is in jail. And, as you know, you have to go to an Internet hot spot, and spend more money than we generally have available to get on line.

You know that after being arrested that night --- the night before you left, I had to appear at the tribunal, and now I have a record. They deported me and my daughter the next day to my home city -- in Holguín. I’ve been back to Havana three times since I got arrested, but every time I get picked up and sent back. At least they haven’t actually arrested me again since that horrible time.

Sometimes I travel to Santiago to get a little work. But it’s hard. The local girls are younger, and I have no hotel or other place to attract work, and there are not so many tourists as in Havana. And I get stopped on the highway, or interrogated in Santiago. Then I get sent home again.


When I got picked up in Havana, the neighborhood spy for the committee of the revolution here in Holguín reported to Havana authorities how long I had been gone, and now she watches me like a hawk and reports my every move. My family has now heard details of what I was doing in Havana, and I’m very ashamed. But a woman has to do what a woman has to do. I have to support my child, and as you know her medicine is very expensive and is not covered by the government subsidy or free medical programs. Well, as I told you, life in Cuba is hard.

I’m glad you contacted Angel to find out about me. He couldn’t tell you how to contact me, because he was not sure he should. But he gave me your information. He usually knows where I am.

I hope to see you some day. I only wish you had a way to free us from this Island prison.

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