Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today - Page 12

the aesthetic template within which artists work today. It is in direct contrast with the documentary photography of the first years of the Revolution that one should begin to consider the contemporary, innovative use of photography in post-Soviet Cuba.1 The 1960s witnessed the end of tourism, restrictions on foreign travel for Cuban citizens, and the American embargo. By contrast, in the early 1990s the borders suddenly became permeable. Immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and upon losing Soviet subsidies and its Eastern European trade partners, Cuba entered an acute state of crisis that became known as The Special Period in Times of Peace. The government tried to attract much-needed revenue by resorting once again to tourism, which meant exposing a fairly isolated population to a sudden influx of foreign visitors. Notably, tourism brought the resurgence of prostitution, a pre-revolutionary social problem that had been eradicated. The new phenomenon, called jineterismo, was an informal practice that resembled dating: young Cuban women of color, often with university degrees, would go out with tourists for the duration of their trip, and show them around town. In exchange for their extended company, jineteras received imported gifts, hard currency, and perhaps marriage proposals that would allow them to leave a country then in the grips of a 6WfW&RV6