When confronted with the fact that university-graduated professionals in Cuba had turned to prostitution in order to feed themselves and their families, Fidel Castro responded by joking that Cuba had the best educated prostitutes in the world. With Cuba’s state-run socialist economy that assures equal poverty and misery for all (except the communist party elite), prostitution has been the only way many Cubans can earn enough money to survive. Now, with Venezuela adopting the same state-run socialist economy that assures equal poverty and misery for all (except the party elite), Venezuelan professionals are turning to prostitution as well.
It is just another phase in the total Cubanifacation of Venezuela, but no less disturbing or depressing. Venezuela is steadily becoming another Cuba. If nothing is done about it, Venezuelans will soon be enjoying the same benefits of socialism — misery, poverty, tyranny — Cubans have been enjoying for decades.
In Venezuela, they were teachers and doctors. To buy food, they became prostitutes.
At a squat, concrete brothel on the muddy banks of the Arauca River, Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now sell their bodies at his establishment for $25 an hour.
“We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer,” he yelled over the din of vallenato music. “All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”
And all of them came from Venezuela.
As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.
The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed. A recent study suggested as many as 350,000 Venezuelans had entered Colombia in the last six years.
But with jobs scarce, many young — and not so young — women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet.
Dayana, a 30-year-old mother of four, nursed a beer as she watched potential clients walk down the dirt road that runs in front of wooden shacks, bars and bordellos. Dressed for work in brightly-colored spandex, Dayana said she used to be the manager of a food-processing plant on the outskirts of Caracas.
But that job disappeared after the government seized the factory and “looted it,” she said.
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