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Spotlight

RTS204JQ
In Cuba, condom use goes beyond sex
Cubans use them to fish, ferment wine, fix punctures or tie up hair; latex condoms have become the ultimate multipurpose tool on the Communist-run island where shortages of basic goods have forced locals to become masters of invention.

Decades of U.S. trade sanctions and a dysfunctional Soviet-style, centralized economy mean the aisles of Cuba's shops are often glaringly bare. And when available, imports that are sold at a steep markup by the state or on the black market may be too expensive for those on an average state wage of $30 per month.

Yet condoms, both those domestically produced and imported from Asia, are in relatively bountiful supply, partly due to the Caribbean country's focus on sexual health. Government subsidies mean they are cheap; a box of three condoms costs just one Cuban peso (around 4 dollar cents).

Strong and stretchy, they lend themselves to various industrial as well as recreational applications beyond contraception and protection against sexually transmitted infections, Cubans say.
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September 05, 2018
Welder Heriberto Lopez (R) throws inflated condoms carrying baited hooks for fishing in Havana, Cuba,...
Havana, Cuba
Welder Heriberto Lopez (R) throws inflated condoms carrying baited hooks for fishing in Havana
Welder Heriberto Lopez (R) throws inflated condoms carrying baited hooks for fishing in Havana, Cuba, May 3, 2018. Picture taken on May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Stylist Sandra Hernandez shows condoms used as as hairbands in her hairdressing salon in Havana, Cuba,...
Havana, Cuba
Stylist Sandra Hernandez shows condoms used as as hairbands in her hairdressing salon in Havana
Stylist Sandra Hernandez shows condoms used as as hairbands in her hairdressing salon in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Orestes Estevez shows the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture...
Havana, Cuba
Orestes Estevez shows the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana
Orestes Estevez shows the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
A vintage car passes by an inflated condom on the street in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken...
Havana, Cuba
Vintage car passes by an inflated condom on the street in Havana
A vintage car passes by an inflated condom on the street in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken on August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
A box of condoms used as hairbands are seen on a table in a hairdressing salon in Havana, Cuba, May 16,...
Havana, Cuba
Box of condoms used as hairbands are seen on a table in a hairdressing salon in Havana
A box of condoms used as hairbands are seen on a table in a hairdressing salon in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Stylist Sandra Hernandez (R) uses a condom as hairbands in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken...
Havana, Cuba
A box of condoms used as hairbands are seen on a table in a hairdressing salon in Havana
Stylist Sandra Hernandez (R) uses a condom as hairbands in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
A child carries an inflated condom during the May Day rally in Havana, Cuba, May 1, 2018. Picture taken...
Havana, Cuba
Child carries an inflated condom during the May Day rally in Havana
A child carries an inflated condom during the May Day rally in Havana, Cuba, May 1, 2018. Picture taken on May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Ana Carbajal shows packages of medicine tied together with a condom at her home in Havana, Cuba, August...
Havana, Cuba
Ana Carbajal shows packages of medicine tied together with a condom at her home in Havana
Ana Carbajal shows packages of medicine tied together with a condom at her home in Havana, Cuba, August 28, 2018. Picture taken on August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Arturo Perez, 14, plays on the street with a condom in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken on...
Havana, Cuba
Perez plays on the street with a condom in Havana
Arturo Perez, 14, plays on the street with a condom in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken on August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Bricklayer Alex Perez (R) watches the sea as he prepares to launch inflated condoms carrying baited hooks...
Havana, Cuba
Bricklayer Alex Perez watches the sea as he prepares to launch inflated condoms carrying baited hooks...
Bricklayer Alex Perez (R) watches the sea as he prepares to launch inflated condoms carrying baited hooks for fishing in Havana, Cuba, May 3, 2018. Picture taken on May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
A box of condoms used in the process of wine production is seen in a makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba,...
Havana, Cuba
Box of condoms used in the process of wine production is seen in a makeshift winery in Havana
A box of condoms used in the process of wine production is seen in a makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Condoms used in the process of wine production are seen in a makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16,...
Havana, Cuba
Condoms used in the process of wine production are seen in a makeshift winery in Havana
Condoms used in the process of wine production are seen in a makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
An empty condom wrapper lies on the street in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken on August...
Havana, Cuba
Empty condom wrapper lies on the street in Havana
An empty condom wrapper lies on the street in Havana, Cuba, August 27, 2018. Picture taken on August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
CUBA-CONDOMS/
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September 05, 2018
Orestes Estevez checks a condom used in the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba,...
Havana, Cuba
Orestes Estevez checks a condom used in the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana
Orestes Estevez checks a condom used in the production of wine in his makeshift winery in Havana, Cuba, May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
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