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Author: Abel Sierra Madero. This essay relates the research of a kind of male subjects pingueros inserted in the informal economy of pleasure linked to the tourism in Cuba. Studying their performance on homoerotic circuits in Havana, the text analyses how the pingueros when dealing with foreigners negotiate masculinity and identity; it also discusses the locally constructed concepts of gender and sexuality, on one hand, and nation and survival on the other. Finally it links the sexual tourism with the contradictions inside the revolutionary model.
Keywords: Cuban revolution, male sexual work, pingueros, homoerotic ambiences, Sexual tourism in Havana, la lucha, new man. Europe frolics in my little town, This is the land of the low-hanging fruit Coconut water, aged rum and mojitos, This is the land of the low-hanging fruit, Where everything is cheap and the weather is fine, this is the land of the low-hanging fruit.
Los Aldeanos. At 18, Alberto goes out every night seeking the company of foreign tourists who enjoy his firm, muscular body. He makes up a love story; in return, he receives the promise of emigration and a few dollars. The corner of the Yara movie theatre, one of the most popular, animated streets in the city and a well-known site for cruising among men, was teeming with people that particular evening.
A young man approached us and asked us for a light and then asked us for the time, two typical pretexts intended to help decipher the national origin of the other person. My friend looks slightly different than the average Cuban and has the distinctive accent of those who have lived abroad for a long time. In exchange, he promised to share his life story with us. I never saw him again. That was the beginning of a research project on pingueros : male subjects who have inserted themselves into an informal economy of pleasure related to sex tourism in order to gain access to money, commodities and other material benefits.
The jargon of the Cuban sexual marketplace has spawned a number of words related to the interaction of foreigners and locals, mostly within the context of tourism. Jineteros procure tourists, via a commission, in return for goods and services including incidental sex. In this work, I explore the various ways in which pingueros negotiate their masculinity and identity through interactions with foreigners.