In a March 2009 speech on the floor of the US Senate, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) attacked the Cuban government for allowing prostitution to flourish among underage boys and girls. Not citing facts uncovered on a Congressional fact-finding trip or from some federal agency, the Senator quoted from the most recent issue of Voyeur Magazine, noting that he was shocked, shocked, that prostitution was taking place in Cuba. This from a US Senator who represents Atlantic City and who pals around in the Dominican Republic with a Miami-based physician who is a huge contributor to the Senator’s campaign.
And recently amid allegations that he had been serviced by under-aged prostitutes in the DR, Menendez claimed it was all a set up by the Castro government. He claimed that they targeted him because of his crackdown on Cuban prostitution. Hmm. A crackdown consists of more than merely spouting hot air in the US Capitol. Perhaps the Senator could provide some evidence of his ‘crackdown’?
And supporting Menendez’ claim, is no less an expert on kiddie sex that Mauricio Claver (this is America, speak English and use one last name). Executive Director of the organized crime syndicate known as Center for a Free Cuba/Capitol Hill Cubans ($1.2 million in taxpayer funds looted) he has weighed in several times on his daily electronic rag. He has routinely cited articles in the hyper-slanted El Nuevo Herald, yet those articles merely cite the case of James McTurk a retired Canadian postal worker who has been involved in sex abuse of children during trips to Cuba.
So extracting information from the CHC posts, on my most recent Mission trip to Havana I set out to test these allegations using the streets and businesses that were cited. First of all I will concede that sex with an adult is available along the Malecon in the evening when under-aged loitering is seriously enforced by police. Walking along the seawall it is likely that a tourist may be propositioned by a young lady or young man.
But walk 100 yards with that person and they will be stopped by police who notice that May-December pairing. I know this all too well; I have been walking to events at various churches with young people and they have been stopped by police, so I learned long ago to walk 30 paces behind anyone under the age of 40.
Besides, the Malecon is 8km long. (5 mi.) The Las Vegas Strip is 6.75km (4.2 mi.). Having been to Vegas on many business trips I would guarantee there are far more hookers on the Strip than on the Malecon. The Malecon plays host to lovers, groups of friends socializing, and musical troupes. So where is Senator Menendez’ outrage over prostitution in Las Vegas. For that matter how about on his own Boardwalk in Atlantic City or in his playground, the Dominican Republic? (Foto – Friends socializing on the Malecon)
Two Cuban male friends and I made the rounds of places cited by Claver’s postings: San Juan Cafe, Cafe Paris, La Minta, El Maragoto. Even with a fairly thick wad of CUCs in my hand, I was only approached once at the San Juan by a 25 year old.
The next night we hit the streets in search of the child sex trade touted by El Nuevo Herald’s Juan Tomayo and Claver. San Lazaro, Infanta, Reina, Monte, and finally Belascoain. I offered 3CUC notes to anyone who could direct us to any young sex workers. I was cursed at, yelled at, slapped, spit on, and threatened with a machete. When necessary my Cuban friends stepped in and showed the people the Spanish language article from El Nuevo Herald and explained we were trying to determine the validity of the story. We found NO under-age sex workers being pimped by their families as alleged by El Nuevo Herald. (Foto – Granite blocks mark street names in Havana)
I received quite a surprise as we descended Belascoain opposite Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras. Since most Cubans keep their doors and windows open you can look right into the apartments. I was stunned to see one of my doctors from CIREN who had treated me two years ago for Early Onset Alzheimer’s. My neuropsychologist and I hugged and I got to meet his wife and son.
My cohorts and I were invited in, I sent one to buy a bottle of rum and one of cola and we had a nice 90 minute visit. When the doctor read the article he shook his head in disgust. “I’ve lived here twenty years and raised my son Luis Enrique here. He nor his friends have ever been involved in prostitution. United States is supposed to stand for truth. How can this be told about the Cuban families?”
Always fabricating new ways to trash the Cuban government, it looks like Senator Menendez and Mauricio Claver are going to have to look elsewhere – perhaps Thailand, perhaps the Dominica Republic – for kiddie sex scapegoats.