Someone reading this book might get the idea that drugs, prostitutes and violence are rife in Cuba. Obviously this is all the stuff of fantastic Noir writing, but what's the real Cuba for you?
The drug problem in Cuba is getting quite serious, crime is worse than ever since 1960 and prostitution is gaining momentum. The fact that some people abroad have an idyllic view of my country stems from two realities. First, the government controls the media and many years ago the decision was taken not to report news that might jeopardise the notion that Cuban society is perfect and that nobody has reasons to become addicted to drugs, steal something or prostitute herself (or himself). Secondly, nearly all visitors to Cuba classify in two broad categories: those invited by the government and the tourists. Both are insulated from reality in official acts, hotels, tourist resorts and dollars-only stores; security is tight in all these places.
Nonetheless, I sincerely believe that if you compare Cuba with other countries, our problems are less acute for several reasons. One is vigilance and repression, another is education, remittances from relatives living abroad allow a significant percentage of the population to survive without having to steal or peddle drugs or become prostitutes. There are other factors as well, but a full review would demand too much space.
For me, the real Cuba is no different than, for example, the real Great Britain is for the Britons, the real India is for the Indians or the real Japan is for the Japanese. A majority of decent, law-abiding, affectionate people and a minority of crooks, bastards and s.o.bs. Luckily, everywhere is the same. No more, no less.