Misogynist Graffiti in Havana Becomes an Enigmatic Message

Two men taking a break on Thursday in front of a hand-painted sign at the corner of Belascoaín and Zanja streets.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia Lopez Moya, Havana, 4 January 2024 — “I buy women in bad shape,” the message read back in April, when 14ymedio first reported on it. As of a few days ago, all that was left were the words “in bad shape,” which now seem like a cryptic description of that corner, of the city and of Cuba itself.

On Thursday, two men were sitting in front of it, taking a break. Some passersby could not help but make a joke. “Look what you’re doing there in front of that sign criticizing the state,” a security guard from the nearby Banco Metropolitano remarked ironically. Only then did both individuals turn their heads and read the words.

One of them got up a few seconds later and continued on his way. The other wasted no time picking up the bag he had left on the ground and also walked hurriedly away from the site. This odd, green-lettered graffiti no longer carries the suggestion of mockery or harm to women but rather something worse in the eyes of many Cubans: “an anti-government slogan” in the words of a resident on nearby Tetuán Street.

That’s how it’s been for months. No one seemed to care. My prediction is that it won’t long before they erase it completely.

“That’s how it’s been for months. No one seemed to care. My prediction is that it won’t be long before it’s gone completely,” she concluded. The question for some residents is why the person who got rid the the first four words did not go to the trouble to erase the rest. “It looks like they did it with the same paint as the wall, so they must have been well-organized.”

In a country where the number of murdered women just keeps growing due to inaction by the state, this enigmatic phrase is more frightening than the previous sexist statement.


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