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Seventy years later, after much political and socioeconomic change on the island, tourism imaginaries of Cuba still evoked the sensual and erotic pleasures that the country had to offer. Making a visible entrance to the international tourism trade, with the of foreign tourists skyrocketing from in to more than one million in Quintana et al.

Another perspective pays attention to how differences are articulated and the effects they have on the realities people experience, trying to grasp how different self-identifications are brought about and what they achieve in a given situation. The analysis presented in this article follows this second approach, and builds on a growing body of work that calls for subtler analyses of the way intimate encounters in tourism take place, of their power differentials, of the identifications that emerge from them, and of their potential ambiguities see for instance the writings of Pruitt and LaFont, ; Cohen, ; Herold et al.

According to Frohlick : :. Much has been said about how female tourists exert their economic and racial power to exploit Caribbean men they typecast in the imagery of hyper-sexual black masculinity; and also how, out of economic necessity, Caribbean men play up these images themselves to use their sexual labour in material-erotic exchanges with tourist women.

This literature draws attention to the modalities, tactics, and strategies through which foreign women are seduced, highlighting the competences and resourcefulness that local men develop in engaging with tourists. My focus is on processes of self-eroticization, of seduction, and of care for the other that, I argue, are revealing of the kind of competences, sensitivities, and modes of doing and being that these men developed through their intimate engagements with tourists.

While such exchanges varied greatly in their duration and scope, the examples used in this article come from extensive conversations with Cuban men with whom I established close ties, in most cases over several years. During the research, I was present on occasions in which these young men engaged with and tried to seduce foreign tourist women, and with them I also had the chance to comment and reflect upon such encounters a posteriori , assessing for instance their relative degree of success and the reasons for it.

As I have clarified elsewhere Simoni, a , my research in Cuba was not based on any supposedly representative sample of tourists and members of the visited population making contact in this country. While referring to a limited of cases, the findings presented in this article exemplify narratives and practices of seduction that I recurrently encountered during fieldwork, and which help shed light on the widespread range of skills, understandings, and moral attunements that intimate relationships between Cuban men and foreign tourist women brought into play. The reproduction of racial stereotypes explains here the attraction of the Caribbean as a tourist destination where sex is deemed easy and even a natural ingredient of the holiday experience.

If they had really come to Cuba to discover another country and another culture—as normative tourism discourses prescribed—then they had to experience first-hand such typicality. Proud of his seductive power, Rodrigo told me that whenever he went out in tourist venues at night, he was almost certain to end up with some foreign girl, in a way that was almost beyond his control.

Tired of these one-night stands, however, he was now looking for a stable relationship, a love story that would materialize in marriage and family life with a foreign girlfriend. A couple of years after I had this conversation with him, Rodrigo was finally able to fulfil his vision, becoming father to a baby he had with a woman from Spain, and then moving there to live as a family. To make this happen, he had spent almost ten years of his life doing his best to seduce and entertain long-term love relationships with foreign women.

Instead, Ernesto advocated remaining open and respecting the fully fledged humanity and individuality of every tourist, whose inclinations and interests had to be nourished and cultivated. What he tried to do when talking to foreign women was to say things that could touch them deeply, in their most intimate feelings, surprising them with profound remarks and compliments they had never heard before.

This, according to Yoanni, was also a way to show his maturity and caring personality, particularly important points when dealing with women who were older than one was, and who could be weary of engaging with muchachos , inexperienced youngsters. Based on the time I spent with him and saw him interacting with foreign women, Yoanni was extremely well versed in relating to them along the precepts he had described to me. Such limitation called for increased levels of skilfulness. How could one, in the space of just a few days, get a woman to spend all the time with you and think of continuing the relationship beyond the holiday affair?

And how to spend all the time together and reach a profound level of intimacy, but at the same time avoid any hint of harassment and pressure? A fine and subtle balancing was required. When possible, my Cuban interlocutors tried to create a sort of bubble of intimacy to cultivate the bond with their tourist partner, avoiding for instance usual friends and places that could distract them from the relationship, or bring unwanted attention and even competition.

This allowed them to focus solely on their newfound girlfriend, making her their absolute priority, enchanting her, and helping bring about exceptionally intense, intimate, and all-absorbing moments, in which the breadth and quality of the time spent together felt amplified. A way to nurture the sense of an intimate, special relation was also to go on what could resemble a sort of honeymoon, taking the form of an excursion or even a tour of the island, during which full attention and dedication could be given to the tourist partner, treating her like no one had done before, and making her feel that.

Put simply, it could be said that there is more than a superficial sexual stereotype at play here, in the form of a reservoir of skills, competences, sensitivities, vitalities, and attunement that Cuban men cultivated in their relations with tourist women. But rather than reducing such skills, competences, and sensitivities to the reiteration of a well-established, cultural gender script for romancing, it seems more accurate to view the Cuban men I engaged with as working over any such pre-existing scripts, adapting and transforming them to suit the specificities of their relationships with tourist women.

Grasping multiple points of views, understanding different approaches to tourism and tourists, attending to the subtleties of relating to people who differed in terms of their origins, background, age, socioeconomic status, interests and more, such endeavours, as some of my interlocutors put it, could be seen as un arte : an art of communicating and dealing with people, of sparking interest and developing relationships, in this case of love and romance.

There was, in other words, recognition that the skills one cultivated by interacting with tourists constituted a positive body of knowledge about human beings and human relationships, notably relations of the intimate kind. Here too, this young man liked to contrast his attitude to that of other Cubans who had migrated after marrying a tourist woman. Among them, Yoanni told me, many failed miserably once they made it to Europe, as they ended up spending the day on the sofa, doing nothing, and were ultimately destined to be deported back to Cuba, empty handed.

Firm in his determination to marry and settle in Europe, Yoanni told me that he would not waste his chance once he got there. He was prepared for the life one had to lead. For instance, he would do all he could to get a job and work hard, and also do his part in the household.

He knew that men and women were supposed to be equal in Europe, and share work and domestic chores in equal measure. While waiting to find a job in such imagined country he was thinking of Sweden that time, where he already had some connections , he would keep busy learning the language and taking care of the house, preparing meals for his working wife, without neglecting to give her all the intimacy, love, and sex she needed once she came back from work every evening.

The problem, told me Yoanni, expressing a rather widespread view, was that tourist women were full of doubts about the real intentions of Cuban men, and that many of them ended up enjoying only the sex part of the relationship, thus failing to appreciate the smooth and necessary continuities, which the men strived to bring about, between sex, romance, and care in its broadest possible sense. But once their plane took off, they went back to a life of respectability, following the advice of friends and family that would dissuade them to continue indulging in unrealistic fantasies, and quickly forgot about what had happened in Cuba.

These changes of attitude in tourists—madly in love in Cuba but easy to cool off once abroad—made it all the more important to establish the deepest bonds and ensure their commitment when they were on the island, sealing the union, so to speak, as much as possible in the course of their holiday. Cabezas, Amalia L. Rights, Resistance, and Redefinition , London, Routledge, p.

Daigle, Megan D. Fosado, Gisela C. Gloaguen, Philippe ed. Graburn, Nelson H. Smith ed. Hodge, Derrick G. Hume, Lynne and Jane Mulcock eds. Kempadoo, Kamala ed. Phillips, Joan L. Roland, Kaifa L. Smith, Valene L. Time Out. Havana and the Best of Cuba , , London , Penguin. Narratives that are very similar to the ones analyzed here are also reported by Pruitt and LaFont for Jamaica and by Herold and his colleagues for the Dominican Republic. The quotes presented have been translated into English by the author and are based on recollection after the events took place.

Most of them understood a little of several languages, rather than being proficient in one in particular. Such knowledge was often the fruit of very practice-oriented learning processes, including practice with foreign tourists. Some of my interlocutors were also studying languages at schools, listening to educational tapes, CDs, TV programmes, etc. In regard to tourist women engaging with Cuban men, even those who did not speak Spanish well tended to have at least some knowledge of this language and tried to put it into practice.

— Plan du site. Sommaire - Document suivant. Keywords : seduction , sex , romance , care , Cuba , tourism. Epilogue: Sex, Love, and Care into the Future. Haut de . Suivez-nous Flux RSS. Dans tout OpenEdition. Accueil Catalogue des revues OpenEdition Search. Tout OpenEdition. OpenEdition Freemium.

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From Cuba with Love: Sex and Money in the 21st Century