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Daisy Valera: Until the middle of 2010, I was a university student. Today, at 22, I’m a graduate in nuclear chemistry and have joined the ranks of the Cuban work force. I love the cinema, books and architecture – even of the collapsing buildings. I like doing craftwork using thread, stone and metal. I fear monotony and I’m committed to the aim of building a better society.

Mexico’s Cuban Sandwich

February 6, 2015 | Print Print |

Daisy Valera

Daisy 2

Photo: Byron Motley

HAVANA TIMES — The Mexican torta, a kind of super-sized sandwich, is a multicultural food. That is why, in Mexico, we come across the “Spanish torta”, prepared with dry-cured ham, the “French torta”, with cheese from Oaxaca and the “Cuban torta,” the best and most expensive one of all.

Mexico’s Cuban sandwich is a culinary obscenity, combining breaded beef, leg of pork, chicken breast and who knows what else – a stack of meats and condiments to last you two lifetimes.

It baffles the Cuban who has just set foot in Mexico City, making one think that Mexicans haven’t gotten wind that the nearby island is actually the home of soy mince-meat and meager chicken rations, dispensed in lieu of fish.

Eventually, one inquires and discovers that people’s perceptions about the island’s economy are rather accurate, finding another myth in their place: that of the Cuban woman, the voluptuous Caribbean with a “lot of meat on her bones.” The name of the sandwich suddenly starts to make sense.

Arriving in Mexico means getting away from Cuban men, away from people who stare at your tits and ass as you walk down the street, the lascivious whistles, the ridiculous pick-up lines and being called “baby” every three seconds.

To arrive in Mexico as a Cuban woman means wearing a dress and having people stare at your knees – only your knees.

Ultimately, it is also living the myth, being the “Cuban sandwich-woman” for the taxi driver, the middle-class professional and the university academic.

“Is it true women in Cuba sleep with you if you give them pair of jeans?” “I’ve been planning a trip to the beaches down there. Is it expensive? A friend of mine went there a short while ago and had a really good time.” I debated between getting off the cab and making it slam into the nearest post on the road.

Daisy 1

Photo: Aimer Alvarez

“I went to Cancun on my last vacation and they offered us three days at a hotel in Varadero. The service wasn’t very good, but the waitresses were spectacular. Just looking at them made the trip worth my while.”

“I don’t think I could be with a Mexican woman. They’re far too stuck-up. You have to have so much coffee with them before you can have sex that you end up with an ulcer. I just bought an apartment; can I get your number?” I wanted to call him a buffoon to his face, but I kept quiet.

For Mexicans, Cuban women are a piece of meat in a bun, a caricature: the 1950s Tropicana rumba dancer, the prostitute of 1990s Havana, the hot Latin girl.

Perhaps women, as a friend of mine would say, cannot help express and suffer a kind of indolent eroticism.


What's your opinion?

  • Gerard Matthews

    This type of thing is rife the world over. Jamaica attracts middle.older women from the uk. Bankok attracts sad older men from the uk. Cuba attracts some older men from all over the world with a wad of money who think that they can buy anything. The world id full of abusers and perverts, so beware.

  • emagicmtman

    Clicked on expecting an article comparing the Mexican Cuban sandwich with the, err, Cuban Cuban sandwich. I should have known! What did Gore Vidal once say? “America, the land of the free and the home of the…literal!” A new restaurant recently opened in my burg and, upon my first–and probably last–visit I ordered a Cuban sandwich, one of the items featured on the menu. Ugh! What a poor excuse: luke-warm, mushy, utterly forgetable.
    Commenting on the real theme of this article, I’m happy to report that on several recent visits to Cuba I’ve observed older Canadian and European women dating younger Cuban men, so the practice is not all one sided. Still, whether older estranjeras with younger Cuban males, or older men with younger Cuban chicas, there is something pathetic and depressing about these scenes. To me, in the latter cases the chicas always seem like caged birds wishing to fly the coop. They have to listen to the boring conversation of their late middle aged escorts (if, indeed, there is any conversation, often just under-table foreplay); often, they have alienated expressions, as if, mentally, they are are thousand miles away (and I don’t just mean their fond desire to escape Cuba’s Third World poverty in exchange for First World affluence). As the other person contributing to this thread has said, this is nothing particular to Cuba, but goes on in many places.

    • Moses Patterson

      True, the ‘May-December’ relationships are nothing new nor unique to Cuba. What is Cuba-specific is that only in Cuba do you see young Cuban female doctors, lawyers or engineers cavorting with fat, bald, overripe, pink Canadian and European men. Elsewhere on the planet, well-educated professionals have no economic incentive to sell out their dignity in this fashion.

  • MailOrderLance

    Whoa, harsh. Older guys chasing after young girls in the Americas has been going on since Columbus made his way over in 1492. It’s been written that sailors would sign on to endure unspeakable life at see just to get a glimpse of the bare-breasted island girls. It’s human nature, deal with it.