Apr 25, 2008

Las reinas de la noche in Havana

Those are the jineteras.
And jineteros for what matters.

And I just finished reading the most heartbreaking story about their daily lives in the worker's paradise. I'm talking about the book Jineteras, by Cuban writer Amir Valle.

I can't tell you enough times how heartbreaking some of the testimonies are. I can't tell you enough times what a such a piece hypocrite the communist dictatorship has been for half a century, trying to deny this fact of the Cuban society.

I did have to skip some parts, though.
I just couldn't stand the narrative of the chronological history of prostitution in Cuba, going as far back as the time of the taínos. They couldn't hook me up.

In general, I liked the book because through his interviews, Valle shows to the world some of the hidden truths of communist's Cuba.
Yeah, the perfect world, my a...

I would never dare to judge the people who had the courage to talk about them the way they did for the book. Since a very young age, I've decided I'm nobody to judge anybody else's actions; God knows what made them chose that path.
That's what I had in mind when I started reading.

However, the book also left me with some bitter taste and thoughts of an undecided author.
Let me explain you why.

I do not expect that all books about Cuba ought to be a rant against Castro in the most extremist terms. Actually, the mastery of an author is demonstrated when he can do so in a subtle style, IMHO.

But with Jineteras, several times I felt that, even when Valle was critizicing the system by exposing its dirty laundry, I perceived him as trying to apologize for doing so.

It might sound speculative, but it was like if he had some interest in Cuba that could be damaged if he dared to take a different position.

I felt, in some parts of the book, as if it was a sugar-coated exposé.

And, even when extremism is not a good position in life because in this world not everything is black and white, there are some instances when you have to be straight forward, y tirar con todos los cañones.

The issue calls for that kind of artillery.
And that power of fire is missing in key parts of this book.

But I am not disheartened. One more book down.
I keep on going in my own Cuba's re-education program.

FYI, I'm also reading "Unvanquished, Cuba's resistance to Fidel Castro", by Enrique Encinosa. And I've started a list. A list of the things I am discovering about the real story of the so called revolution.


Anonymous said...


I will be going to Miami soon ... can't wait to make it to Cuba Nostalgia (my first time ever) and I was wondering if you could recommend some of the books you have read about Cuba (in Spanish or English) for me to read ... I left Cuba when I was a toddler. although quite different from your situation, I would also like to read about our homeland ... Thanks in advance ...

I wish you well :) Melek


Esta era una ves un borracho que venia caminando por el malecon de "Labana" y se encuentra una boina verde, el borracho dice: "Ehhhh, la boina de mi comandante" y cuando la recoge habia una plasta de mierdad debajo y dice el borracho: "Ehhh y el cerebro tambien".

Cubanita said...

Ja, ja, ja... esta bueno el cuento del borracho!

I'm still kind of starting into this project of reading, but I can definitively recommend you some of the best I've read so far:

-"Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the useful idiots who idolize him" & "Fidel Castro: Hollywood's favorite tyrant" by Humberto Fontova are a must. Concretos y directo al grano.

-Fidel Castro & Company, Inc: Communist tyranny in Cuba, by Manuel Urrutia was a complete revelation to me because it made me understand clearly the whole rollo during those first months.

-Although I haven't finished yet, "Unvanquished" by Enrique Encinosa is also a must.

-El hundimiento del remolcador 13 de marzo. I read this one a while ago and it's heartbreaking, it can literally make you cry.

-Como llego la noche, the biography of Hubert Matos is waiting in my night stand. Read only the first two pages and I can't wait to finish Unvanquished to go right to that one.

-Carlos Alberto Montaner's books about Cuba's history were my first guide to understand the "other" history of the revolution. "Viaje al corazon de Cuba" is one of my favorites.

I hope it helps! I am so not happy that I can't go to Miami now...I would love the be at Cuba Nostalgia for the first time :(