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Dancing on the edge

A few weeks before the Pope's January visit, George Walden arrived in Cuba to find that prostitution seems to be the only part of the country's economy which functions. Is Cuba heading for a grand finale?

By George Walden   January 1998

Just as there was no alcoholism in the Soviet Union, so there are no prostitutes in Cuba. The fiction is essential: recognise the human truth of any totalitarian country and the regime is done for. The truth in Cuba is that sex is the only economy left: prostitution has reached the point where it appears that one half of society is selling itself to the other. Women line the streets of Havana-especially the road to the once swanky Miramar district-cheek by jowl with the police. There is little to fear from authority: something which does not exist cannot be arrested.…

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