Alberto Yarini

Alberto Yarini y Ponce de León (1882-1910) was a Cuban racketeer and pimp during the period of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. Yarini was well known in his time, is Cuba's most famous pimp, and came to symbolize the concept of Cubanidad, the Cuban national identity, to many Cubans, long after his death.

Alberto Yarini

Yarini was born into an elite family, once owners of a Matanzas sugar plantations, with his father a dentist, and his uncle a medical surgeon, in Havana. He was educated in the United States, spoke fluent English as well as Spanish, and was politically well connected. He became known for importing prostitutes from France, and worked out of San Isidro, a barrio and red light district in Old Havana. He was killed on November 21, 1910, by gunfire from rival French pimp Louis Lotot and his confederates, who had been waiting for him. Lotot was himself killed in return gunfire from Yarini's bodyguard.[1][2][3][4][5]

La Caricatura front page on the death of Alberto Yarini


Cuban composer Carlos Felipe Hernández wrote the 1960 musical theatre piece Réquiem por Yarini, about Yarini's life.[6][7] Los Dioses Rotos (Fallen Gods), a 2009 film by Cuban filmmaker Ernesto Daranas, was based in part on Réquiem, and was a submission by Cuba to the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.[8]

Yarini is the subject of an upcoming dramatic film, The Prince of Old Havana, by Cuban American writer, actress and director Migdia Chinea-Varela.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Para Subsistir Dignamenta: Alberto Yarini and the Search for Cubanidad, 1882-1910". Mayra Beers, PhD thesis, Florida International University, February 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Beers, Mayra (January 2003). "Murder in San Isidro: Crime and Culture during the Second Cuban Republic". Cuban Studies. 34 (1): 97–129. doi:10.1353/cub.2004.0003.
  3. ^ Cluster, Dick; Hernández, Rafael (2008). "8". The History of Havana. Macmillan. pp. 123–134. ISBN 9780230603974.
  4. ^ Escalona, Roberto Luque (1992). The Tiger and the Children: Fidel Castro and the Judgement of History. Transaction Publishers. p. 43. ISBN 9781412840040.
  5. ^ Nathalie Handal (2014). "The City and the Writer: In Havana with Leonardo Padura". Words Without Borders. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Réquiem por Yarini Archived 2014-08-10 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved August 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Película cubana completa: Los Dioses Rotos December 21, 2013; retrieved August 9, 2014.
  8. ^ Victoria Alcalá, 20 of the best Cuban films, 2006-2011 Cuba Absolutely website]; retrieved August 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Migdia Chinea Directs the Prince of Old Havana". Latino LA. May 12, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  10. ^ The Prince of Old Havana website; retrieved August 9, 2014.

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