The Cuban Love Doctor Is In

[tweetmeme source=”connergo” only_single=false]

Why do Cuban men cheat?

Are Cuban women faithful?

Steer clear of Cuban men?

Someone save me from my Cuban husband!

People look to me as some kind of authority when it comes to their Cuban lovers – although I’ve only written once on the Cuban fidelity question and never directly about love, lust or the like. Still, Those Faithful Cubans is one of my all-time most popular posts and people search daily for information on the issue as the above – actual search terms from the last week – illustrate.

Honestly, I do try to extend the benefit of the doubt in this regard, but one thing I’ve learned in my job as a health journalist here is to be experiential- and evidenced-based (see note 1). And what the evidence reveals on this topic likely won’t be welcome news for those of you with Cuban lovers or spouses.

Lest you think I’m about to malign an entire country and culture, let me clarify: there are exceptions to the rule – always – and if you’re in a relationship with a Cuban and reading this, you may be one of those lucky few. But in general…

They’ve all got someone on the side. Often, as one reader pointed out, this is a complicit arrangement – more up front and out in the open than on the side. I know men who have been married 20 years (or longer) and have kept the same mistress all the while. Polygamy without the papers I like to call it. In many cases, there’s little care taken to hide it – friends, family, colleagues are all hip to the scenario.

Upon first analysis, it seems logical to say: if everyone’s ok with it, what’s the problem? And trust me, this question has forced me to examine if my own moral code – faithful to a fault – is clouding my appreciation of the issue. But after turning the critical eye to my own beliefs and how they “cuadrar” (or not) with my adopted culture, I’ve concluded there is a problem with these arrangements for two fundamental, fucked up reasons: health and machismo.

Here in Havana, the latter is real, prevalent, and extraordinarily complicated – if you think otherwise, you’re not paying attention. When you hear the word ‘macho,’ the image that pops to mind is likely a hirsute brute in a wife beater, feet up on the coffee table, shouting kitchen-ward for another Coors and a nacho refill. Let me tell you: machismo here is as far from that as a Miami Cuban sandwich is from its Havana counterpart.

Cuban machismo is more subtle (and therefore potentially more dangerous, since you’re not always quite sure what you’re dealing with). It has to be – Cuban women are too empowered, strong-willed, and educated to put up with that shit. The economic dynamic here also plays a part since 57% of all technical and professional jobs are held by women, which doesn’t lend itself to the financial domination men lord over women elsewhere.

This isn’t to say that Cuban women are free from blame. Each time they shoo their sons from the kitchen telling them to play soccer with the other boys and every Saturday they make their daughters help clean house instead of suggesting they help dad fix the bike, they’re part of the traditional gender construct problem. In short, many of the fairer sex here replicate damaging stereotypes and patterns which prop up the macho paradigm (see note 2).

Tolerating mistresses validates machismo for a simple reason: it is not a two-way street. Try taking and maintaining a lover just like your male partner and watch the mierda hit the fan. The message is clearly ‘I can, but you can’t,’ coupled with ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ It’s a pitiable slice of paternalistic hypocrisy that chaps my ass. Can you tell?

And the one-way street runs into carnal endeavors as well: while he may be hot for a threesome with another chick, cuidado if it occurs to you to suggest the same with another man. While this surely is not unique to Cuban machismo, it involves factors specific to culture and place, especially Afro-Cuban religions which, on the whole are absurdly homophobic and macho (see note 3).

(I offer this as partial answer to the reader who searched on: Why don’t Cuban men like their bums touched?)

 The health-fidelity convergence is, at first blush, more straightforward. When a man or woman takes another partner (or several), they are potentially exposing their spouse to everything from HPV to HIV. Sure, there are protective measures everyone can and should take, but condoms, which cost pennies apiece and are sold everywhere, are as popular here as turds at the beach. And let’s face it: there are many ways to swap fluids without penetration, when a condom does you no good.

Machismo also muddies the health picture since some married Cuban men like to get out and savor their own flavor. And this can increase risk of HIV infection for wives since machismo-cum-homophobia is a condom-adverse state of mind. Indeed, here, the term ‘men who have sex with men’ is favored over ‘homosexual’ since only a small portion of men into guy-on-guy action self-identify as gay. I always laugh a sigh when I tell a Cuban friend someone is setting off my Gaydar and they respond: ‘But he’s married!’ Were I to say instead, that man has a mistress, the response would be along the lines of: ‘of course! Who doesn’t?’

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve limited this diatribe to the bio-medical effects this putería/mariconería has on health. But what of the mental, emotional, and spiritual toll long-term mistresses (and masters) have on health? Better I save that for a different post.

 I don’t have the answers, but to the reader who searched: when your boyfriend goes to Cuba for a month, I say: assume he’s gone rogue and use a condom until you know otherwise.


1. This is sound advice for everyone from Cuban newbies to vets: take everything with a grain of salt unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes.

2. Metrosexuals – a fairly recent phenomenon here – are bucking this trend. I just wonder how they keep so hairless given our lack of resources here?!

3. Admittedly, I’m not an expert in this field and if anyone is willing and able to share knowledge about the beliefs and codes of conduct vis-à-vis male/female relations and power structures in these religions, bring it on.


Filed under Americans in cuba, Cuban customs, Cuban idiosyncracies, Cuban phrases, cuban words without translation, Expat life, health system, Living Abroad, Relationships, Travel to Cuba

167 responses to “The Cuban Love Doctor Is In

  1. Chantal

    Hello Cuban Love Doctor,
    Once again you managed to brighten up my day. Love your posts!!!!
    There’s something to be said about Cuban men’s view on love and passion. They sure have mastered the art of it. Maybe we should have a few of them come teach our Canadian men. Then maybe, us tourists wouldn’t go looking for love in all the wrong places jajajajaja. I had a cuban friend show me his pinga once and ask me if it was big enough for me !!!! Believe me, if I could of I would of.

    • I don’t want to get too graphic here, but when you say: Believe me, if I could of I would of, do you mean that indeed, it was THAT big?!

      • Chantal

        You got it!!!!!!

      • janet

        I am so glad that I saw your blog; I met my CUBANISM who is all the bad you mentioned and worse. I too “Had I known then, what I know now.” There should be laws against there mission when they come to America, I know have two boys from him. I wonder since they all seem more feminine, because they like to gossip and are very metro yet macho, and not as worried about appearing “goal oriented, or educated,” It’s all about sex and animalistic ways. Oh the women, are the kingpin they try and act like “who me,” “Whaaaat,” “Not, meee!” while the Cubanita’s act like “a damsel in distress.” Think about it for every man/women cheating on their “lover,” another “lover” is being taken care of by the victim. As I was told by my Cubano, that they are all like this. My Cubano finds “married women” as his friends are taken care of other “married women,” As you stated they make friends easy, however Cubana’s are very standoffish to non-Cubana’s and are very jealous. With that said in general the females look out for one another and are the middle man/informer that sets the meetings up, when their man’s away, in the parking lot, school, work, mall, friend’s houses. You be the judge, anywhere.
        A lot of them do this by getting jobs that allow this, such as evening work, and truck driving etc. For I believe this is their culture, and I have had rounds about this as my children’s father. You wonder how they are able to keep such a persona, it is easy maybe like a gigolo/whore there is no connection because he is always backtracking, tired, and busy with lots of overtime, and helping everyone else especially in Cuba, which the “womanizing,’ with uneducated excuses/lies, manipulation, blames others, and steals[Note: Stupid, always gets caught, the reason I was with him so long was because I wanted a mature relationship were I did not feel or had to distrust, speculate, intimidate, infuriate, defend and offend, but once things did not add up, like his whereabouts, dirty socks when he left with clean ones, extra-long fake hair, and missing article from his wallet, phone accessory, or missing hats. Much, Much more] I notice this with all of the Cubans I met. I call it as I see it and if you are unable to except responsibility for your own actions and feel the need to blame others than it is obvious that this is more than “they are not into you.” Thus, I am not jealous, prejudice, or pretentious as my Cuban likes to categories/label me. But, I do not let him do as he please I demand respect, but he still is womanizing me I am educated enough to know that this is a life of a sociopath. Currently, my Cuban is living in an apartment con una Cubana vieja/60’s and I heard a phone conversation stating that he is her boyfriend as he slyly laughs, and I know his moves, and how he works because I study him and his aquatints. Not to mention, a “Latina,’ perhaps Colombiana or Mexicana, student translator. I couldn’t make out her accent is trying to help my Cubano so he can get his “citizenship,” and is calling him to “assist his elder roommate.” I called her and she said did not know about me that she knows that he lives with the elder Cubana. I did not ask her that, which she stated other statements to lead me to think she knew who I was. She did not speak English well enough for me to entrust her to do legal document. I knew that this was a booty call, since she said that my Cubano has filled out these “citizens” documents several times, and he claims that he is paying her $150.00 dollars. Yet, he is living pay-check-to-paycheck as he is paying my bills and I have shutoff’s and he know that he can go to his job to get the documents filled out as he “claims was done in class that is teaching him English.” I have seen these documents and I could even fill them out. So after I talked to her he still has her number but I have not seen or heard any other transaction. I often wonder if he is doing the older lady, he has pics of his “pinga,” on his phone saluting CUBA and said that there for me. “Cubano Pleeease!” He makes sure that he has a smart phone, which he stole my money that I had from the state, and insurance to get it, and my phone is a free minute phone from the government, I cannot take pictures or receive them, [Note: his eyes are brown and full of shit!] He is living “rent free,” as we all know there is some sort of exchange as nothing is free. Since, she likes “novella,” I feel that my Cubano is giving her a lot of stories, but it is evident he uses the vieja for as an excuse/sympathy for another/other “lover.” For example: He tells the “lover I have to go home tonight because the older lady has a medical appointment or needs a ride. As he goes to another/other “lover,” for the night/few hours and then goes to the “vieja’s.” This is just few, of many instances the word must get out. Otherwise this is going to continue. We as American came a long way, and for people to come and take advantage of us like this is unethical and something must be done. We have much more serious issues to deal with. When it comes to playing with innocent children and playing with peoples lively hood this is a serious matter.

        As this is similar to me my grandfather was married both here and in Mexico, as my father too was never faithful, the list goes on and on. I would love to write a book about this to help others. I wish that I could go to Cuba and do a study, to add to my book. Since, there is no law I feel it is necessary to write this book as we are just now seeing more and more Cubans coming to north America, and this has evolve over the past 12+ years. I now have two boys that I have to somehow break that “Stereo type,” since it is in all Hispanic/Latino cultures that the children get away with things and need limitations, otherwise they feel they can do as they please. Yet at the same time children are ignored as they are taken on a lot of responsibility and not living with proper “positive guidance and reinforcements,” and much, much more. As the girl does her motherly duties is responsible and is so busy acting as the lady of the house that she has no time for the social life, while the boy are able to do as they please. The parents must treat each as equals, mothers and father need to be educated, because you would hope for every educated parent there is that much more enforcement of education in the home of the children. I in turn would alleviate this unethical treatment.
        Once I began to collectively, put my assumptions of my Cuban together refuse him, we have been separated on and off for a year October, I put my foot down after given him much chances. Hence, he has not lived at my house since the end of May. He had the audacity to take us on a family outing, which he never does especially if it cost money three days later he calls me. [Note: Which is done when he is being delinquent, as he is always slipping and gets caught, because he thinks that he is clearing his conscious/ or lack thereof. Had I not experience this and know the signs he would still be getting away with his “games,” I have so much to tell you, if you only knew. I just think it would be worth what I have been through to just write a book.] Normally, his ex is the type to set him up to get caught or I just know how to catch him. This particular night was a cold rainy day and he called me as he began to have intercourse with a Cubana, she said as I always remind him “AYYE Chico,” as he quietly comfort her and suddenly moaned “ooooh!” too, he is a 2min man. When he came home like “what?” I showed him the door, and that was it. Since, I do not have means of transportation, care, etc. He keeps me isolated with my sons, who are heartbroken because they cannot understand.

      • I’m torn between two responses:

        1) Cut your losses, already.

        2) Sin comentario

        Either way: from what you describe, sucks to be you I’m afraid.

      • janet

        My Cubano unfaithfulness surely has nothing to do with our sex lives, or boredom. This is way beyond what one may think, it is definitely cultural/learned behavior, because I think that it is a form of control, and to achieve/advance for “something.” This has been the case since the first day I met him. As he has sex with so many women is close to becoming a senior and has never been monogamous, as he has no real connection, as he lies and manipulates. He seems to be happy as long as he is able to do what he wants with no limitations, just like the children with no discipline/limitations that I explained. I would like to know if this is “Nature vs. Nurture or, is he a sociopath?”

  2. El Cubanito

    Conner, have you ever seen The GodFather part 2. In the movie there is a character that they called Superman who is Cuban. Do you recollect that part of the movie? The Cuban guy who plays the part of Superman? I am from the providence of Santiago and most of my relatives are still here. One of my Uncle is called Horse and they do not called him Horse because he looks like one. Some of his sons or my cousin are just as talented as my Uncle. So to answer your question yes there is alot of talent to do great Porno Movies.

  3. Missing my Cuban, but not so much anymore

    Thank you for the latest blog!! You’re a great writer and very funny!!!

  4. Clarita

    ‘Maybe we should have a few of them come teach our Canadian men.’ love this one!! But I’d extend it to men in many places to benefit all the ladies out there.
    Speaking of the health risk, it is applicable to any promiscuous life style. Especially given the fact many STDs can be transmitted without penetration, as Conner mentioned. And from what I heard, which I guess Conner has the authority to verify, Cuba has a relatively low HIV infection rate. That means it is a safer place to have casual sex, if you have to do it ;P
    Last note, I didn’t know Cuban guys don’t like to have their bums touched! Is it true?

    • Thanks for asking about HIV in Cuba – I am a bit of an authority on the issue, having written about it extensively for Oxfam and MEDICC Review

      Indeed, Cuba has the lowest prevalence rate in the Americas which is a great achievement, however, it has its downside, which is low risk perception of contracting the disease. Precisely what Clarita touches on when she says: Cuba has a relatively low HIV infection rate. That means it is a safer place to have casual sex, if you have to do it ;P

      This is, as FOBs say: stinkin’ thinkin.’ Now, Im a bit of a crusader on the topic since I have friends with HIV and people very close to me who have died of AIDS. Casual sex and unprotected/unsafe sex are not the same thing. And while it may have a low rate now, # of new cases among Cubans under 49 is on the rise.

      Don’t get me started on the bum touching – I have a lot to say on the subject but it’s one of the only times since I began writing about Cuba I feel like it will get me in trouble if I write about it! Im going to have to do it under a nom de plume!

      • Quepasa

        I have heard from reliable source that HIV is on the rise in Cuba, and that the numbers reported are far too low.
        Yes, regular Cubans do not not like to be touched on the bump. You should get suspicious if a Cuban seems to like it !!!

        The the gay questions : there are load of “bugarones” in Cuba. A bugaron is a guy how likes to call himself hetro even-though he fucks other men. So watch out.

      • Quepasa: “reliable source?” Not sure about that – care to elaborate? Ive done extensive interviews with the folks that run the HIV program here, “Cuba’s AIDS doctor”, people with HIV, family members and without evidence, can’t take it on someone else’s word about health indicators. See: MEDICC Review’s issue dedicated to HIV in Cuba for what research reveals on the topic.

        Also, I find your comments about being “suspicious” terribly binary regarding sexual diversity (gay or straight with nothing in between) – something that works against understanding and acceptance. People have all kinds of desires/erotic zones, no matter if they’re with another man, a woman, or by themselves. Also, the men who have sex with men (what you call bugarones, which is a disrespectful term, ademas) is more complex than just screwing other men since if you’re the giver or the receiver has different connotations.

    • acanuck

      solo teatro!!!!,les encanta y no creo que solo a los cubanos pienso que en todo el mundo a la mayoria es un punto g que no c puede pasr por alto…

      Conner this is from my wife who is visiting me here in Canada right now.

  5. Chamaquita

    Once again awesome, you made my morning!

    When I first met my husbands family I was shocked that every tio seemed to have a girlfriend and the whole family knew but said nothing. Now I’m starting to think that having girlfriend(s) has nothing to do with not loving their wife, it’s just normal. I drink coffee in the morning and tio has a girlfriend, no big deal. Though I do wonder how I’d feel if the girl was’n tio’s girlfriend but my husband’s, maybe not so tolerant… :D

    Btw, love the aguacate.

    • Though I do wonder how I’d feel if the girl was’n tio’s girlfriend but my husband’s, maybe not so tolerant…

      Always like people who try and walk in other people’s shoes.

      Thanks re the photo. This is just so “Cuban summer” to me. I know the photo’s fuzzy; I had to shrink it for the dial up but Id like to see if I can upload a larger version

      OK, back to work.

  6. El Cubanito

    There is another side to this type of behavior other than health issues. Before my Father married my mother, he was already married 2 times before and consetquently I had Step Brothers and Sisters. I was like and love by some of my Step Brothers and Sisters and was consider the devil by some of the other Step Brothers and Sisters. During this time when my father was married to wife #2, he was also having an affair with another woman. This affair produce a daughter that my father had no knowledge of until one day in 1980. That day my father found out about the daughter he never knew as his new daughter was told of the identity of My Father. I met my new my new step sister who showed up at our doorstep on the 4th of July in 1980. My new Step Sister and me have had a great relationship since and I love her very much. Since I am only child since that day she has been the sister that I never had. My other Step Sister from Marriage #2 DO NOT and I REPEAT DO NOT LIKE HER, but that is there stupid business.

    The other side of these affairs.

    El Cubanito

    • Yes, I know people in similar situations (ie – brothers and sisters they never knew about). I mention this in my other post Those Faithful Cubans.

      These ‘parallel’ families can cause a lot of pain – Im glad your story is one of joy, Cubanito, having found a long lost sister.

      NB: for those not familiar with The Cuban Family, “step” is never used as a modifier – someone is your brother or sister if they share the blood of one parent, punto. I was corrected on this repeatedly when I arrived and now the children of my father by his second wife are simply my brother and sister.

      • Clarita

        haha how Cubano! surely with all the entanglement in their marriages and affairs, it would be too much effort to put on all the modifiers. :P
        But did you mean ‘half-” instead of ‘step-‘? I suppose they still make the distinction between with and without any blood relation?

      • Good catch – I did mean half, but no: they don’t distinguish between step either now that you mention it. My husband’s “daughter” doesn’t share his blood, but he raised her from age 5, so is considered blood.

      • El Cubanito

        Yes you are right about NOT using the term step. All of my Brother and Sisters are known as just my Borthers and Sisters. It is here in America where I have been drilled into my head that they are my Step. When I visit my Sister in Tampa and she introduce me as her Brother people do a double look. My sister complexion and looks are like Jessica Simpson and my are like Blair Underwood. Yes so we do get the double looked from everybody when we say we are “Brother and Sister”.

        El Cubanito

      • Spot on Cubanito. Even though I have no clue who Jessica Simpson or Blair Underwood is, I get your drift!!

    • jolie

      Wow your family is very “interesting” (crazy)

      Makes me be grateful for mine

  7. Love it! Looking forward to upcoming posts about the same subject :)
    Also, will be in Havana July 19-Aug 16 and would LOVE to meet you at some point!

  8. Ondine

    Well, I’m getting married to a Cuban in August and if he decides to have a girlfriend on the side without asking me first than I will too (a girlfriend that is). We’ll see how he likes THAT. :)

    In all seriousness though, while you have more experience with Cuba than I do, I know a lot of folks in the states that have led or do lead double lives too. I think we have some really effed up ideas about what relationships should look like and about monogamy, and unfortunately we don’t learn the skills to express our needs and desires in healthy ways. I think we have a lot of work to do in that department and it has to start within ourselves. As someone who has cheated before, it’s usually happened because I haven’t been able to express to my partner what I needed and I grew tired, resentful and lonely and acted out in order to sabotage our relationship and move on. Now that sounds a little different than what you’re talking about which is folks who are seemingly quite content to have two long-term but separate relationships… To me that kind of begs the question as to whether we expect to much out of our partners. Can one person really be everything we need sexually and emotionally… I dunno, I’m just throwing it out there.

    • Hey Ondine. You’re right, it happens all over (I didn’t mean to imply otherwise), but I think the difference is here, we just don’t put that much thought into it!! Sometimes the queso or esposo pesado or luchita gets to be so tiresome that we just go out in search of some….ooooh, I almost just typed some really nasty Cuban words!

      Of course one person cannot satisfy all needs. That’s what friends (w benefits, too!) are for.

    • PS – as I mention in the post: he’ll LOVE you having a jeva, but only if he gets to play too.

  9. Leo

    Another fantastic post! Connercita!
    My Cuban friend always calles his Step sister “Hermanita” and his step dad “Padrasto” which I hate the latter, because I always tell him that it rhymes with “bastardo” (in Italian it means born out of wedlock) jeje

  10. Leo

    Forgot to mention that the Aguacate is soo sexy and yummy….and makes me want to lick my laptop for some reason. …:)…porq parace como….
    ya tu sabes….jeje

  11. Leo

    ok one more post! ( cant help it its the cubata! hic..hic…jeje)
    I am an expert on touching “cuban bums” from army/police machos…. so let me know if you want some juicy tips…..for your up coming posts..:) besos…..

    • lay off the sauce sweetie! Dangerous to drink and type….

      • Clarita

        why why why is it such a big deal? I’m more and more curious now! I doubt many Cubans are reading your post, not the ones who are currently residing in Cuba anyway. So your words are safe with us! The one time I did it, there was not much response, positive or negative…. That was a little disappointing :P

      • “Us” is a big net Clarita – I have all kinds of eyes on me that wouldn’t take kindly to that kind of talk. Already this blog can’t be mentioned on TripAdvisor because Im such a potty mouth….

  12. viajerauk

    Another thumbs-up Likey vote for the aguacate, which looks lovely.

    The ‘no buttock touching’ thing is a very real deal. An absolute no-no to inflict upon self-identified hetero Cuban males. Allegedly, according to them, something which is only ever done to the passive partner, whatever the combination of genders involved.

    Weirdly it goes as far as face-touching too (something I only found out about recently). One Cuban male friend in the UK was near-mortally offended by having an Italian male friend greet him by stroking the side of his face. I should add that both of them are hetero, as far as I know.
    Cue MAJOR OFFENCE being taken and lots of scandalised gossip.

    I asked: why is it so bad? is it because it’s like being patronising, or over-intimate, or so tactile the strokee just feels a bit intruded upon? is it offensive because the strokee is being treated like a child? and the answer was: no, it’s because they’re being treated like a maricon. jeeeezzzzz.

    For Italians, this is just being friendly and informal – treating you like family. For Cubans, this gesture (when done to a male) is, again, a mark that they’re the passive or receptive partner in a gay couple. argh!

    About note #3: it’s too hard to generalise about what African – never mind Afro-Cuban – religions’ attitudes to gender roles really are because honestly they are SOOOOOO varied. For every case where one Afro-cuban religion appears to be fostering machismo (like the Abakuas refusing to initiate known and out gay men, or women, for instance) there is another where a gay man or woman or non-hetero-normative individual finds a space and some respect for their self and their talents in an Afro-Cuban religious setting. it’s extremely well known that some of the most sought-after decorators of ‘tronos’, the elaborate temporary shrines for some Santeria deities, are gay men, for example. Many gay men are Santeria initiates and particularly personally dedicated and devoted to female deities. So, there’s certainly some interesting interplays going on, but to paint Afro-Cuban religious practice as overall 100% machista and/or homophobic is a bit simplistic, imho only.

    sorry to read that things are not great for you at the moment and I hope they pick up VERY soon.

    • hi viajera – thanks for the very informative (as always) post. Especially the insight into afro cuban religions

      My experience w the “bum touching” has not been as simplistic as all that either – at least a couple Cuban men I know quite like it (hetero as far as THEY know!). Then there’s the joke my friend (who is famous so shall remain nameless) makes: up to here (indicating the first knuckle on his thumb) is erotic. Past that is gay.

      I didn’t mean to give the impression that “things aren’t great for me at the moment” – aside from my banged up foot and being perptually broke (nothing new there!), things are wonderful. And once Im 100% on my foot again, cuidado!!

      Ache pa’ti tambien.

    • Clarita

      apparently I made two deadly offenses. I should be glad the recipient didn’t flip out. ‘ up to the first knuckle’, can’t imagine how that works….

  13. Dan

    Hi Conner- maybe you can clear up the Cubanism around papaya and fruta bomba- it seemed to make Cubans snicker a whole bunch more a dozen years ago when travelers said papaya- now, a bit less or none at all. Are we still talking trash here or is it fading? and don’t forget, YOU brought all of this up!

    • Sooooooo, here in Havana the fruit widely known as papaya in other parts is called fruta bomba. as Dan knows, “Papaya” is slang for vagina (the nice slang; there are a lot nastier ones!). However, in the Oriente, this fruit is called papaya. This is common (different names for same thing in different regions). For instance mamey=zapote in Oriente.

      I think tourists are getting more slack as of late since we depend on them so much!

  14. Quepasa

    You asked me some questions. Not possible to reply directly on the comment. Maybe you closed it.? Just back from Cuba. “Bump comment” was meant to be “funny”. “Bugaron” is a well used term, at least in Santiago. Are you taking this too serious,….. it surprises me since your tone in the blog is otherwise.

    • Quepasa: not sure why you can’t respond to my comment; I haven’t closed it.

      On the tone: I work hard as a health journalist here (no es facil!) and when someone says “I heard from a reliable source,” it’s my job to try and verify – especially when extensive, years-worth of research reveals something divergent from what you claim.
      Likewise, I work very closely with CENESEX and the LGBT community here and we’re working tirelessly to open minds and dialogue about sexual diversity and your comments are exactly what we’re conversing about changing here. Just because a term is widely used, doesn’t mean it should be.

      For me, with family and friends who have died of AIDS, and others who are HIV+, I can’t take the issue lightly.

      • Quepasa

        I can understand you asking for sources in light of your work. My comments here are more related to your comment on my “bump and bugaron comments”. Still cannot comment on your original comment, the reply function is not there. For the record: I do not take the HIV/AIDS question lightly. Sources : health-workers. But then again, we all know how information flows/ not flows in Cuba.

  15. laurenquinn

    Great post (as per usual) and much to comment on, but I’ll keep it to one: was really struck by the “men-who-have-sex-with-men” thing. Totally the same deal in Cambodia, where engaging in homosexual acts is seen as different from assuming the whole “gay” identity. Kinda makes sense, I guess, just mad different. Wonder if that’s a weird coincidence or if that kind of disconnect is more common outside of the European/American mindset….

    • Hola! Thanks for stopping by/writing in. I do think the US “orientation” (ahem) is totally binary as concerns gender (male or female) and sex (gay or straight). Is life/the world EVER that black and white? At least not in my experience. Interesting about Cambodia. You are based there, yes? Somewhere Id like to explore if $$$ ever allowed….

      Happy travels!

  16. Waya waya

    I accidentally found your blog and my gosh, it was so interesting and all your follower’s comments were very insightful. I was lloking for bloggers that may be somehow in relationship with cuban gay men ( which am currently in) and looks like that he is pretty serious about it and sending me emails me everyday. I did send him a note today-regarding his HIV status or has he been tested . I thought that this is not offending for me to ask and hopefully he takes it with an opn mind. I am gay and I was very attracted to him but at the same time really confused. I will surely be one of your followers starting now and much kudos to you and I missed havana!

    • Welcome aboard! Very glad you found me – always interested in the LGBT POV.

      Confused? We all are, especially when it comes to Cuba/Cubans – anyone who tells you different is lying or delusional.

      On the HIV test: totally par for the course here, he should not be offended. He’s out I assume? If not, that’s a different story. But a word of advice: go get the test together. That’s the only way you’ll ever really know if he got it and if it came up not positive.

      But now I have to wonder: you’re ALREADY in a relationship with him and you’re just NOW asking about HIV status? Maybe I’m missing something?

      Also, all advice about Cubans “looking for love” and really just looking for a visa apply, no matter what your sexual orientation. Good luck and keep in touch!

      • Waya waya

        Hi conner! Thanks for the info and answer to your question- yes I am now in a relationship with him and I love cuba: the noises, the people and the cullture. Sometimes, i feel like things that i see and smell here in Uncle Sam is just a thing- just a thing and seeing people in Cuba with less and still manage to enjoy life is unbelievable. But of course, I personally hope that iregardless of thier stature, cuban people are the most happiest people on earth! ( is it not? )

      • WW: I don’t know about happiest people on earth, but I think Cubans are on to something the way they make time to enjoy life in spite of all its pain and suffering. They are a lesson in how it’s not what you have/wear/drive that makes life but what memories you make, the laughter you share, etc etc.

        Keep an eye peeled for my next post: Have You Got the Cojones? for more (eloquent!) musings on this topic.

  17. daughters and parent fantastic love

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on great daughters parent relationship. Regards

  18. I was unloved with s Cuban he was the best lover but he also broke my heart the most I am not sure over what I would like to fall unloved with another Cuban [last part deleted: while Im a potty mouth and I give my commenters lots of leeway, there’s no cause for groserias].

  19. Pingback: Focus On: Expat Life Blogs | The Daily Post at

  20. Hugely entertaining… Thanks for the humor too! :-)

  21. Pingback: Focus On: Expat Life Blogs | nullstreet

  22. kate.

    I recently divorced my Cuban husband. We split up over a year ago but I am still trying to un-feel the effects of the whole mind boggling experience. I can’t figure out if he was an extreme machista or a clinical narcissist. Are they maybe the same bag? In any case, he contacts me occasionally or pops up where I work and I don’t understand why (he is currently living with the Cuban woman he was sleeping with behind my back the last two months of our marriage) . Having any contact with him sends me into a tailspin. Cheating was really the least of my issues with him. The humiliation, criticism, crazy making, secretiveness, arrogance, sense of entitlement, and then, to top it off, the lying and cheating. ugh. It was just all slippery. I really didn’t realize his lack of character until having some time away and being able to analyze it with distance. He has paid me back much of the money I loaned him. Which is strangely deceptive. Is he really all that evil? His best friend tells me he really cares about me and I should be more open to talking to him. But his friend is Cuban too. Do they all cover each others’ backs? I know his friend actually respects me. So it all makes me even more confused.
    Does this sound oh too familiar? i still can’t believe it happened to me…..guess I just needed some camaraderie. Thanks for listening. Your blog has been helpful. Makes me feel I’m not entirely alone.
    PS: cubans are NOT happy. Let me tell you. I have never met a country with more resigned, complicated and self obsessed individuals in my life.

    • Nah, probably not evil, but knowing he screwed up a good thing (and feeling guilty – paying you back achieves 2 purposes: relieves guilt and provides chance – he thinks – to getting you back.)

      And yes, Cubans, in my experience, take each others’ back 99.9% of the time. You sound better off. Enjoy it!

      Im so glad Here is Havana helped in some small way. Makes it worth it!

  23. My name is Victoria i am from United States, I was in a relationship with Ben and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but February 14, 2012 a day i can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because i answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but i refused,and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and i begged him because i love him so much but he refused me i was so down cast and i felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back,a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first i was scared but i have to give this man a trial because i love Ben very much and i am not willing to loose him to any woman,so i ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart…i am testifying to this great spell caster The Great Esango Priest. if you need his help you can contact him

  24. If only.....

    I can really identify with Kate’s post from October. Romantic love in Cuba is a beautiful lie.

    • kate.

      Maybe not always. But we don’t live in a society that is survivor based so we are really hard wired differently than them. I think Russia is similar. It’s sad and I fell for it. But not all Cubans are like that. I hope.
      When I split from my husband a friend of a friend who had had a similar experience with her Cuban husband sent me this email which was eye opening and strangely reassuring:
      I’m going to be brutally honest for what it’s worth, so here it goes….. I had a Cuban boyfriend for a year then we broke up and I met and married another Cuban man for 4 years. I have known many many smart savvy women involved with Cuban men and I know a lot about them. They ALL ended badly. I can really honestly say the only chance in hell your guy is on the up and up is if he’s Cuban American. If he’s straight from Cuba, you should save yourself and end it now. Run for the hills! Hide your money.
      What you don’t understand is that no matter how wonderful or different or special you think he is there are cultural differences that are very strong and very true. They ALL secretly cheat no matter what they say because it’s totally acceptable in their culture but only the men in their life know about it. They are opportunists and will use women subtly to be taken care of because being born in a third world communist country breeds survival skills only and little to no moral fiber. Their character is shady and you will never know it as they are masters at deceit. Sorry to be a downer but please please be smart. These types of men need many other women to feel important and it’s just not accepted by our standards and should never be. That’s my 2 cents.

      • If only.....

        Thanks for your 2 cents, Kate. It’s very hard to know for sure. My first husband was Cuban. Bad ending. My ex-fiance was Cuban. Very different men, sad ending because I expected more of him (very well educated, strong family foundation, economically stable – family house, car, ample food). I still have many Cuban friends and am an immigrant’s daughter (also from the third world, or the next world, depending on one’s perspective). Still….there is something in Cuban culture that is hard on women (not just foreign women). I have Cuban female friends who live in Cuba and it’s not easy for them either. They don’t talk to their men about it, but there are complicated, unspoken expectations. Don’t think I’ll ever solve this one. And I’m sure my family will have me committed if I fall in love with another Cuban. But I tell you this much, my father was born and raised in Africa and regarded it as his unspoken right to have as many women as he wanted. My American mother’s protests and anger genuinely confused him. My African aunts would never confront their husbands about a suspected affair. They consider it beneath them. Probably nothing can be done about it. Well, best wishes to you. I know it’s not easy.

  25. If only.....

    Something has occurred to me this morning. Remember when the purpose of marriage was to consolidate alliances, bring stability to warring factions, provide for the economic needs of children? Well, I suspect that in Cuba, at least for men, marriage and love mean something like that. So having a mistress doesn’t conflict with that underlying purpose. I know a Cuban man whose Mother (Mother!) said, “Fine, have an American mistress, but just don’t end the marriage.” That’s why Cuban men can drive you crazy. They are not seeing the same set of realities that you’re seeing. And it’s not that they’re psychopaths. They’re Cuban. And they’re not the only ones. (I was dating a man from India who very calmly told me he wanted to go back to India and marry an Indian woman and be with me whenever he returned to the US. You should have seen the red hot lava flow.) It’s just that Western cultures do not look at infidelity in this way. And I’m glad because I know that I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to accept a partner’s infidelity or to be unfaithful myself. I suspect that when I say, “I love you,” and a Cuban man says, “I love you,” we are not saying the same thing. So we can both be very sincere, and still be completely at odds with one another.

    • Translation: Cuban men have just emerged from the cave?

      • If only.....

        No. I wouldn’t say that at all. I just think different cultures have different ways of seeing the world, and each way of seeing has it’s own set of consequences. I suppose that if I look at it without judgment I can just choose which way of life works for me, instead of eternally questioning why he/she is unfaithful. (Hard to do when you’re in love!).

        I am reminding myself that just because I understand Spanish, doesn’t mean that I understand Cuban culture. My Mother used to say that culture is like the air we breathe. Unless you’re born into it, you will have a hell of a time understanding it. (Maybe someone should do a cultural love map, show which cultures should make love and which should keep it platonic.) I personally love Cuban masculinity. It’s beautiful, really. But I should probably stay away from Cuban men going forward. I need to feel (and know) that the man in my house is my dear friend, that he has my back in every way. I “hear” that from Cuban men, but I only “see” it from the ones who are purely friends.

        I’ll tell you a story. My Father had so many affairs, even sleeping with my boyfriend’s mother (who was also his best friend’s wife) So many consequences from that one. In his culture it was expected and even applauded. This behavior made my Mother so unhappy. She spent many, many years trying to understand why a man who professed his love for her, would also be unfaithful. Even after their divorce she remained perplexed and unsatisfied until she passed away. Then my Father developed dementia, one consequence being that he forgot most of his cultural upbringing, but somehow remembered his religious upbringing. (I’m not particularly religious and although he was, he didn’t exactly practice what he preached and didn’t experience any religious guilt or the need to confess). He forgot that he was ever unfaithful to each of his three wives. So many of his less than desirable traits disappeared. Gone was the arrogance, the self-absorption, the lack of empathy. Enter a genuinely nice person.

        One day he forgot who I was and when I asked if he wanted to go out to a restaurant that evening he thought I was making a pass at him. He was genuinely offended and replied, “No, I can’t. I’m a married man.” That was a hilarious moment for me. Now my Father and I are very close. He is over 90, his dementia has improved dramatically, but he still doesn’t remember his infidelity. I’m glad he stuck around long enough for me to see this change. I wish my Mother could see him now. He still says that she was his one true love. And, despite his infidelities, I believe he genuinely means it.

      • I know you wouldn’t say that – but I would! Of course every culture is different, acculturation is a never ending process, etc etc but I have been breathing the air for going on 11 years and well, it can be kinda rancid. This aspect that I call blah, blah, blah (words instead of action/saying but not showing) is just one example. Having said that, Ive known an amazing love from a Cuban man and our teamwork was unsurpassed.

  26. If only.....

    That’s awesome and truly what I wish for all of the lovers out there, myself included.

  27. la nortica

    I just found your blog…have only taken a peep so far but i am really enjoying it. I spent a whole lotta time in Cuba from 1996-2001-ish…study, work, long term Cuban bf, coming-of-age, etc. Cuba (and the Cuban too I guess but to a lesser extent I now know) was my first great, intense, all-consuming love affair. Now, 11 years and 2 kids (and one Mexican man) later, I might be finally making it back….can hardly believe it…
    I always found the whole infidelity thing in Cuba so interesting, so different from the N american way. Infidelity is such a popular theme, or at least in the background somewhere, of almost every Cuban movie I’ve ever seen, and in almost every popular song. Here there’s all the shame and hiding, and there, as you say, it’s pretty much out in the open (for the cheating men at least). Except I learned that even if everyone and their dog knows about it, the cheated on wife can’t actually ‘officially’ know about it, because then she’d have to cause a scandal and leave. So there’s no ‘coming clean’ or working toward honesty, open communication, respect, etc in the relationship, as is supposedly the whole point in N American relationships. So hard to figure out the rules in Cuba.

    anyways looking forward to reading through your blog. Hopefully Cuba and I will be reunited soon!

    • Hola! Glad you stumbled upon HIH – seems like you’re just the kind of reader we appreciate around here (yes – there are qualitative gradations re: readership).

      Im sure you’ll find a whole different Cuba from the one you left so long ago. The fidelity dynamic hasn’t changed one iota of course and Im glad you put into writing one of the great contradictions here: the wife cant “know” but they all do, making for a very special kind of neurosis. And I thought NY Neurotic was the end all, be all!

      Hope you make it back soon; Havana feels a bit more like Dade County every day…..

  28. lilly

    So all these cute cuban men were going for my overweight friends, no attention to me im very physical fit( and quiet a catch)…. then at the end of the night the hottest one walked up to me in the club, and booom what a week of sex and partying. NO I DIDN’T MARRY HIM, I am not sure why there is such a problem having a fake perfect romance for 2 weeks. In my country men watch t.v and drink beer yeeehaaa. So all in all I know it was fake, but in the end the feelings about myself was real…. Follow your heart have a good time and don’t be blinding by the complements, and foot rubs…. I am seeing here that people are saying men are using women and vice versa…. It is a mutual thing between two people… get over it.

    p.s Hottest sex of my life!

    • If only.....

      “I am seeing here that people are saying men are using women and vice versa…. It is a mutual thing between two people… get over it.”

      I think what people are saying here is that they went into their relationships wanting more than the hottest sex of their lives. They were married and/or had children with Cuban men and expressed different expectations and were told by their Cuban partners that their partners wanted the same level of commitment. In those instances, it’s not a mutual thing between two people. And they didn’t want to use their Cuban men. There are a lot of men and women who go to developing countries and use people for sex. Supposedly everything is consensual. But I wonder whether we can ever consent to being used without losing a part of ourselves. I know many Cubans who refuse to even be seen with foreigners because they’re afraid of being perceived as prostitutes. Just a thought.

  29. American going crazy

    Just wondering I am married to a cuban I have been accused in the past of cheating but I have never cheated. I also notice that even with a sleep issue he sleeps way to much. Are all Cubans lazy like this? They always think that its a womens job to do everything? I am an American and he was born and raised in Havana Cuba he came here at a young age. He is always busy on the weekends and works long hours throughout the week. He carries all the cash on him I usually have to ask for some money. I have thought many of times that he was cheating on me in he last 8 years we have been married. He never complains about me that I know of. His family has been very good to me and I have never had any real issues with them his mother is the best I love her to death. When ever I say I am not happy with our current situation things start to change between us for the better and then after a few months or so everything has gone back to the way it was. Now do not get me wrong I stay on his ass and he is home every night during the week at the same time even earlier some times his brother talks with him about the later part of his work in front of me in english and nothing is being raised as a red flag from either one of them. A lot of their conversation is in English but there are those that are in spanish but mainly those that include his parents. I understand more than I can speak and my husband knows this. Every week I have something different that I surprise him with that I say. So is this typical of them or do I actually have one of the good ones. Oh and its ok I can handle the truth cause I am getting to my wits end with him.

    • Hola and Im so sorry you felt the need to write in (ie that you’re with a Cuban who’s acting Cuban).

      I really can’t say what your guy is up to but from what your instinct is telling you, what your experience tells you and what you read here, maybe you can draw your own conclusions? I will say that I can count on one hand the number of lazy Cubans Ive met (admittedly, I know many more Cubans here than the diaspora, but Im guessing you have to work HARDER outside) and controlling money is controlling YOU, your movements, etc. Here in Cuba, financial abuse falls under the rubric of spousal abuse (as does emotional, verbal, and physical).

      Good luck.

  30. Hopeless American

    I am in love with a Cuban woman. I feel lost, and she does too, because we cannot be together. The catch, is that she no longer lives in Cuba, she is married to someone else and living abroad. Firstly, I met her in a city, under circumstances undisclosed (however it was not in the street, at a tourist resort or attraction, or at a club or party or anything, it was through mutual sources- sources that prevent her from assuming I would ever return or consider marrying, trust me). I love this woman like I have never loved another, and I know she feels the same. She cares about me genuinely. I might add that my financial situation is much much worse than the one she has right now, so she doesn’t just want to set herself up for another husband in another place. I’m freaking heartbroken, I can’t be with this woman and it is starting to really take its toll. She didn’t show up online tonight (we agreed to meet) and I cried my eyes out all night. Regardless of why she didn’t meet up with me, I am worried about how these feelings will be over time. I met her years ago, for a matter of days, and we emailed back and forth a little (she was already engaged). Now, a few years later we began talking again and fell completely in love. It has been months and I feel this crazy desparation, this insanely powerful and yet hopeless love. I will never stop chasing her, no matter what horrible stories I hear. If it’s about money and freedom, then she would not love me. I have seen her tears, her feelings are genuine. I just don’t know. I want some help, I want some answers, answers to questions I don’t even know and have not stated in this comment. I am going crazy over here, in America- less so with thoughts of “if she comes here will she do that to me” and more of “is this relationship possible” and I’m sure she is asking the same. All we can do is try. Please, I would love to hear some feedback, she is the only person I can truly be myself around. without her, and I must go without her for years (with the exception of when I see her online), I feel completely and utterly alone, hopeless, and lost. She is the direction in my life, there cannot exist a love so great waiting for me later in life, I refuse to believe that. She is the only woman I will ever have eyes for.

    • J Geils said: Love stinks!
      The Bard called it: “a madness most discreet”

      Oh, Love – the four letter word that will doom you! (I know of what I speak – besides, it sounds like it has you already a bit untethered).

      I can’t offer you much advice – your situation is complicated by the cryptic nature of your meeting, that you’ve only been in each other’s company a few days years ago and oh yeah, there’s that husband she already has. You sound truly in the depths which just provides more questions, not answers, unfortunately and the internet love fest doesn’t help…Maybe the advice I was given when my brother was dying is the most appropriate for your case: it’s going to get worse before it gets worse.

      Good Luck.

      • Disappointed68

        Oh, how I learned so much tonight reading through all the comments and stories. I last October met a wonderful cuban man or so I thought. Luckily, were 1,200 miles apart because I could be one broken hearted woman by now. Lol. Cultural differences are difficult and I had no idea of the things I read tonight. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I couldn’t handle one more cheater in my life so I can save myself from great disappointment . The Tia n Tio n prima n promo n hermano welcomed me and are always so very excited to see me when I come. Well, to me I thought great they like me all is good I’m meeting the family . Now , I see something different. Lol and I get it.

        I will continue to follow and read other posts as the days go on keeping in mind a faithful cuban man is almost impossible to find.

      • Im so very glad our shared experiences have helped folks from far and wide. Thanks for reading and writing in.

  31. (des)enamorada

    Hi Conner,

    I’m an American, just returned from a 10 day trip to Cuba where I had an incredible encounter with a cubano (Trinidad). Turns out I am part of the problem–we both have novios. Mine happened to be in the States and his was studying medicine in another city. Hiis rationalizations were seductive (like other parts of him as well!), saying you have to live in the present, not feel guilty, etc. etc. etc. He also complained about what a jealous person his novia was, andd said that all cuban women are celosa (meanwhile, I am thinking: well, obviously!!). The other thing that I found odd (but maybe not so much after reading your post and these comments) is that his family MUST have figured out that we were together due to the fact that I was staying in their casa particular, yet no one seemed bothered or even awkward at all. Except for me. I don’t have this sort of thick-skinned attitude towards relationships because this one incident has caused me to question my current relationship, but that’s another story completely. Is it your experience that all Cuban men (and women) shave their nether regions? This young man said he had never been with another woman who was not completely hairless down there!

    • Welcome to the roller coaster; hope you enjoy the ride.

      Im now referring to this Cuban characteristic as “flexibile fidelity.” His GF is in another province? His parents run a casa? She knows he’s getting his rocks off somehow. You just better hope she ain’t a santera or she’ll be putting the bad juju on you. Just kidding! But I do wonder and very much welcome so real, live Cubans commenting on this: if your significant other has a querida/o that is a foreigner, does that somehow make it worse? The same?

      On shaving: I will go on record (again) that I detest the metrosexual craze that has taken over here whereby men are shaving EVERYTHING, including their eyebrows. Ive always liked hippies and hippies mean hair. So, I like my guys hairy (hairier than me, without a doubt) and personally find the shaved body thing a turn off. The maintenance! The money and time spent on personal grooming! Don’t you have anything better to do? Having said that, shaved genitals are ok by me, I mean, when a guy’s hot, he’s hot no matter what the situation “down there.” I think it’s also an age thing: the male “tembas” I know are not shaven; some of the women are, but more bikini-line than Brazilian.

      PS – as an American traveling here, I have to say, you give new meaning to “people-to-people!”

  32. (des)enamorada

    This cubano did say, somewhat bitterly, that his novia probably does whatever she wants when she’s at school too. He said that I was the first foreigner that he’s been with (but who knows really) and called me his “complacente” which I took to mean “friends with benefits.” I went out with him and his friends, who knew that he had a novia, and agreed to his request that we act completely platonic in public.

    The “flexible fidelity” complex really intrigued me, especially the complete absence of guilt involved in the whole web of semi-secrecy. So being new to the Cuban romantic culture, I naively asked my “complacente” if married men also have girlfriends on the side, or if the rules are more flexible only while dating. He replied that no no no, of course married men can’t have novias because they are sharing a home with their “chica;” that would be impossible! As if the logistics of the situation was what stood in the way! I was a little skeptical, and even more so now after devouring all of your fascinating insights on the ways of married Cuban men!

    Anyways, what’s done is done. I probably have a santera hex on me. As naive as it may sound, I do feel like we shared a special connection. I certainly will be going back to Cuba for a longer term stay (not to see this unnamed gentleman–no te preocupes!) because there are so many layers of the culture and the history and people that I find utterly fascinating and alluring . And yes, I have read your “Cojones” article! (I have been obsessively reading all of your articles in fact, and even used your app in Havana.)

    You and your husband must have an incredible connection and mutual understanding. Thanks for sharing your insights and honest perspectives!

    • “He replied that no no no, of course married men can’t have novias….”

      Extrapolating from this comment: I predict you will be getting a marriage proposal from this guy (he’s flat out lying here, in a way we call ‘descara’o’). Please keep us posted!

  33. Jessica Ugarte

    Right now I’m somewhat satisfied yet disappointed… My Cuban matches all of the things you’ve just explained, and all this time he’s had me convinced that I’m crazy! I am a smart, young white woman who is 3 months pregnant with his child and have a lot of questions on top of worries… I knew bettter but always hoping for the best. I know now now that I’m not alone in this.. Thank you.-Proud Mommy to be.

    • Hola. Im sorry to have confirmed your suspicions. On the upside: you’re not crazy (and have a lovely baby on the way)! Mucho health and happiness for you and your impending bundle of joy.

  34. Acanuck

    Cuban guys are brought up very spoiled by their mothers. They do everything for them and have no responsibilities in the home. Life lessons are not learned at home as they should be. So many of them are real mommas boys. A lot of their macho comes from that.
    I think they are needing a lot of mothering in their relationships.
    I often think this accounts for much of their behaviour that leads to infidelity and marriage problems.
    Cuban women know this and will give them what they want. For most of them a Cuban wife is the only option that works. They are more tolerant of the iinfidelity as long as it remains covert and not public.
    Of course there are exceptions and I do know a few good Cuban guys who look down on this kind of behaviour.

    • As I always say: beware of the Cuban who is an only child/son.

      PS – I’ve not found it to be true that it must remain private; I know several querida/o situations where it’s public. And Cubans like to take photos of their philandering which is just plain stupid: I know several who have been caught bc they got all snap happy with their lover.

      • whyareCubanosSoHot??

        My cubano novio IS an only child but seems to be the polar opposite of spoiled & macho (other than still living at home at 29; but this seems to be common for ALL Cuban “children”, until they get married).
        His military mama was the one cheating & his Papa moved out when he was 7. Since then, my amigo seems to have taken on the Cinderella role. Mama’s espouso is the spoiled ugly stepsister lol & mi hombre gets stuck with all the chores.
        He appears to be very self sufficient & even picks up after me whenever I am there. Hopefully this will continue after the marriage! Also hoping that his early negative experiences with cheating parents & the disastrous results mean that he won’t have a chica on the side.
        And yes I know all the horror stories of Cuban- Canadian fake love. Going slow, taking my time, watching for signs, but still taking a shot. He is def NOT a smooth talking, resort-lizard Casanova. Also doesn’t prove its true love as opposed to a visa marriage.
        Only time will tell…….
        And p.s. – I consider myself to be polyamorous AND I’m usually bored of a mate by 3-4yrs in, tops……so we’ll see if he can hang onto ME lol. Not the other way around.
        Wonderful insightful blog Conner…… Gracias!!

  35. acanuck.

    Yes, I have never met people who love taking photos of themselves like Cubans do. They love those digital cameras and cell phones that hold 100s of photos. If you want to know what they are doing, check their photos.
    Ask them what chores they had to do while growing up. I bet they don’t even know what you are talking about.

  36. acanuck.

    Ladies don’t believe anything a Cuban resort worker tells you. They are hitting on the female tourists in every group that comes in. Either for sex, money or a free ride out of Cuba. Use them and leave them there.
    Watch them perform when you are at a resort. You will soon see the truth. I always do. That is one of my ways of putting in a boring stay at a resort.

  37. Joanna

    Hello! I just happened upon your site because I recently met a Cuban man who is living and working in the US for 2 years now. I like him, but I cant put my finger on something that is bugging me. Its just that “feeling” that I should turn and run? He is very attractive, has a son in Cuba, but says he is not married and has no girlfriends. He is telling me he wants to be my boyfriend, make love, that I am good for him etc. What i find interesting is that he asked me to accept his friend request on facebook. I did, and i see so many women that are sending me clips of love songs such as, Crazy for you – by Adele, but in Spanish. (his english very limited) or posts from women that show things like a man and woman embracing saying i love you, lets make love (in spanish according to google translater LOL). So, im wondering, does this mean that these women send this because they are/were involved with him, or is this just how people in that culture speak to eachtoher. For instance, even if i simply am attracted to someone, I am NOT going to send them the Crazy for you by adele….so, is my gut instinct right? I am sure, from all the self portraits on his facebook that he is very aware of just how guapo he is, but i see alot of women who tell him this as well. Id rather know now, than later. Any help or insight would be great.

    Thanks for this site!


    • Yesterday while listening to a heavy metal station on my satellite radio here in Havana, some musician was talking about his oeuvre, how he goes about making music and his general philosophy on life. I don’t know who it was, but wish I did because he wrapped up his guest appearance saying: “I’m someone who believes love can change the world.”

      I, too, believe that love can change the world, so I’m being practical and realistic rather than cynical and jaded when I say: listen to your gut and run the other way from this one. He’s playing you (and many others, by the sound of it).

      • joanna

        thank you so much for the advice, i think you’re right and will get my running sneakers on now.

  38. acanuck

    The strange thing is he is in the US and still behaving as if he is in Cuba.

    • Nothing at all strange about that in my experience. You can take the Cuban out of Cuba but….

      • acanuck

        I think it is more difficult for these guys to find a victim once they are out of Cuba, using the techniques they used in Cuba. The ladies are not so naïve, but on a Cuba resort vacation, their common sense just leaves them.
        It always amazes me how vulnerable they get while on a Cuba vacation. Does the resort management deliberately hire employees that meet a profile; personality and looks, they know attracts the ladies?

      • I don’t know Canuck. As an immigrant myself, I’d say that 2 years is a short amount of time to shed ingrained cultural mores/techniques. Don’t worry: Im sure the guy will hone and tailor his approach to snag some US jeva soon!

        (and I wouldn’t know anything about having my common sense leave me at a resort – scuba diving, dancing, camping, or playing bike polo, maybe…..)

      • acanuck

        You need plenty of common sense as an expatriate living in Cuba. I have no doubt you have it all under control. Took me a while as a part time expatriate. Right now I miss that damn place.

        I needed to say the following somewhere and your blog is the victim.
        Our son just got approved on a multi-entry for Canada. My wife already has it. Cuba exit visas are no longer a problem. School is finishing and they soon will be here for the summer. We have wanted this for so many years and finally we have it . Freedom to travel for all of us. I couldn’t be happier.

      • Congratulations! I wish my US family had freedom to travel here…

  39. kate

    Yes, to snag a US based cubana! it’s the cliche, marry a yuma, then find a cubana. always the same story.

    • De que mierda hablas?

      Lol, of course. We love our Cubanas, there’s no one else like them. They’re the only ones we can truly handle and who can truly handle us. We’re too much for other cultures to handle.

  40. Jax

    Two years ago I met a man at work, in NY. The connection was instant. He turned out to be a Cuban born and raised in Havana until age 19. He moved to NY 3 years prior to me meeting him by his father claiming him. I’m an American of full Sicilian descent. It’s been well over a year since we’ve been engaged and had the most beautiful baby girl. Every paycheck he hands over all his money to support his family, helps with all of the chores (he actually does more than me without me asking), we share a phone plan where all of his calls could be accounted for if I chose to, and he doesn’t go anywhere without me except for work. In short, minus his short Cuban temper, he’s amazing! Our fights are over silly things and nothing more. He’s exceptionally good looking and he has ladies drooling him all the time, but he makes me feel secure about that. Well, I’m no monster either… His eyes never stray. His family has excellent values similar to most Americans and seem to have instilled that in him once he came to live with them in NY. His man night outs consist of him going to the diner with my father. Other than that, I’m always on his arm and he’s always proud to show me off!

    From what I have seen of our relationship so far, he’s an amazing man. He has no need to use me. I haven’t worked since I’ve had the baby (although I plan on going back shortly) and he’s paid all the bills so he’s not using me for money. He’s a permanent resident and could become a citizen at any time because of his father, so he doesn’t need me for citizenship. All he’s asked for his help studying for the citizenship exam! He doesn’t have a secret life in Cuba, confirmed by both his family and his lack of any connection there.

    What I’m trying to say is, yes, this could be a great trick that he’s performing…or this could be the real thing. There is hope for some people falling in love with a Cuban. I’m glad to be one of the lucky ones :)

  41. acanuck

    Jax I would say you are a real keeper. There are no guarantees in any relationship, with Cubans or not.. Yours is working out so just go with it.

  42. Keith

    Hi, I am going through a relationship with a Cuban woman. I actually met her in Britain. The worst two years of my life. Don’t get me wrong great times too. I never knew much about Cuba until two years ago…….So a year into our relationship we go to her home town of Guantanamo. I was expecting the deprivation etc. (and there was quite a lot) but the nightclubs were full and drink was very, very expensive to a legally employed Cuban (strange). Anyway I have unraveled her past and it took 20 months of sleepless nights, arguments and more will-power than a Cuban woman could muster, not because I wanted to but because in this highly disturbing case I had to to rescue her from intensive, immoral and cultural conditioning of the greatest severity. So story goes she is a 14 year old girl, she gets groomed by a Cuban ‘man’ aged 36 (married with 3 kids). By 16 she moves in with him (not in family home). The parents try and persuade her from seeing him but she won’t. They don’t go to the Police (and her brother is in the Police). She is totally conditioned (she asked me at the start of our relationship “do you think it was right that when I moved in with my first husband that his wife phoned him up every night to tell him he had to come home as one of the children was sick?” – I kid you not! Anyway her Mother agrees before this that her daughter should stay at home but the pedophile could come and collect her. The daughter – a complete mess by then does exactly what she is told by her ‘husband’ except for one thing: she has an abortion. She then has a second abortion aged 20 – but it doesn’t work. He finds out she is pregnant and has they ‘baby’. Because of the chemical abortion method that failed the baby is badly mentally & physically disabled. The baby is kept because the husband wants it and everyone ‘adores’ it. Oh I forgot to mention that she hemorrhaged after she gave birth and had a hysterctomy. She continues the relationship because he is her husband and promises her things he never keeps. Eventually the penny drops and they argue and he finishes the relationship. Oh he has other girls and always had had so he is fine. He does come and visit the child at the family home. Nobody goes to the police, she does not believe he did anything wrong. But nappies cost money. Specialists are free but the transport isn’t. So she gets married to a foreigner and comes to live in Britain to pay for her “son’s” upkeep. She still loves the pedophile, wears his rings etc.. Marriage goes wrong. Needs replacement. Finds me, easy going English guy. Then I realise I have an intelligent, willful 14 year old child in a 25 year old body, whose brain is so conditioned that I might never find the true person. Even when with me she is faithful to him (ok perhaps not in a sexual way but in her mind, yes). So move forward 20 months. The pedophile is now being investigated by the Police (I doubt it will do any good but you never know!) as are the witnesses/victims. I am not now on speaking terms with her family because of their disgraceful behaviour. I hope she will come back to Britain and marry me and we will have a surrogate child or children, but will I trust her? Never totally but she has friends here and people who now know the truth and still believe in her as I do, but she has to believe in herself. Cuba is terminally sick

  43. Garnette Ward

    This is a very interesting article :)

  44. Pingback: Cuban Marriage Counseling | Here is Havana

  45. Claudia

    It’s great to read a happy story for once. I am referring to Jax, However she met her husband in New York. He had been already living and working there for some years, and that is the difference.

    It seems that most relationships in Cuba between Cubans and foreigners is governed by finance. How can a relationship with a Cuban living on 20CUC a month ever be equal, and even if they proclaim to ‘love’ you, surely you have to question if in fact the motive is purely money driven.

    Cubans can talk the talk but rarely walk the walk The proclamations of ‘love’ the many sweet endearments..’Mi Amor’ ‘Mi Estrella’ ‘Mi Corason’ can have a hollow ring when the reality of day to day living with them is so very different. i.e. their actions are telling you something different.

    Cuban men are spoiled rotten by their moms who wait on them hand and foot. When ou observe a Cuban macho man shout at or boss his mom around it can be very distasteful.

    When he dresses up and splashes the cologne for a night out with his ‘amigos’ despite the fact ore there and have spent $many hundreds to fl there to be with him for a couple of weeks, yet he can saunter off into the night, acting like a single guy, with the explanation that ‘Cuban men like to discuss with their male friends’ ..

    The are completely oblivious that their actions are Neanderthal and as ou watch them stroll out leaving a waft of vile smelling cologne in their wake you heartily despise him more by the minute and realize that you would rather a spell in the slammer than a lifetime of misery with this machisto cave man who has little regard for the feelings or opinions of a mujer. Just like his father before him, women are for cooking cleaning and to provide a security buffer. All Cuban men in reality want an ever doting angelic momma who will accept their b.s.mood swings and stubborness and still love them unconditionally. I find it strange that some manage to achieve this in 2015.

    • This is a pretty harsh condemnation. Is there machismo? Yes y fuerte. Are there a disproportionate amount of “Peter Pans” (ie never grow up; spoiled by mom) among grown men here? Perhaps. Are many cubans attaching themselves to foreigners only after money/stuff/visas, etc? Definitely. But much depends on the circles you run in; in our community the behavior you describe is an anomaly. If you want to meet some of the good guys, its possible!

  46. Claudia

    I do not agree. Not at all. And btw it’s not a ‘harsh condemnation’ Nor is it an ‘anomaly’

    Not at all.

    The man I am referring to is not some sleazebag resort worker/ male whore playing multiple female tourists.

    Neither is he some pretty boy Havana hustler who spends his days playing bike polo with wealthy yumas and following tourists around Havana.

    He is a hard working dedicated professional who has played for Industriales for the past 20 years.

    A Habanero, and much respected member of his local community who is seen as a hero in Cuba.

    So no. i do not agree whatsoever with you assumption. And it is indeed an assumption and sweeping generalization.

    You see, even the professionals can have an agenda, and can act like jiniteros.

    He’s a Cuban after all!.

  47. Deborah

    Machismo is a thinly veiled attempt at covering up egregious sexism, infidelity, laziness and basically a total lack of integrity. Please google below:

  48. AA+

    Hi,,, I’m Asian married with a Cuban guy. Sorry if my English is not so good.

    My husband is Cuban from Havana,, He always says he love me as his life and always be my side. We’ve been married about 6-7 years. I found that he cheated on me. All the time that we have been together he always have a lover (i mean just for having sex). He said to me that it is normal to his country that a man can have many of lovers, but will never leave his wife. Is it normal? I feels so lost, upset, humiliated, fooled etc. For me, my culture this mean this guy is very selfish and completely doesn’t respect his wife. But I want to understand him, maybe the problem is my culture and his culture are too too far….

    • Yup, pretty normal for Cubans to have lovers – for decades sometimes (as Im sure you learned from reading my posts!). Many Cubans do not see any moral dilemma in having a eife and lover(s) on the side.

      Cross cultural relationships are very tough and I know that doesn’t help heal the betrayal you are feeling. I wish you luck.

  49. Adele

    Hi Connor,

    Your comment on Cuban men ’emerging from a cave’ is spot on. I have never known a race of such spoilt machista clinical narcisist who think they are God’s gift to women.

    They are lazy, do nothing to help in the home, sleep too much, snore loudly, drink too much, and are not nearly as good in the sack as they’d like to think they are.

    I blame their mothers who’ve spoilt them.They wait on them hand and foot. Cuban women also play a part by being in competition with other women and accepting their b.s..

    • I feel compelled to point out: this is not true for all Cuban men. I know many who defy what both you and I describe! I do agree, however, that Cuban women share responsibility for the machista men.

  50. hopeless romantic

    I am engaged to a cubano and in the begining I had my doubts. Which most people get in relationships, but the small things he did helped to lesson the doubts. I did not go to Cuba looking for a romance, I was simply on vacation. I barely acknowledged him, then he started chasing me. I would be tanning by the pool or swimming and he would watch me, but of course when I turned his way he looked away. He left flowers on my room door with a note, showed up at the beach when I was there and many other things. When I was there in June for 2 weeks he was at my side everyday accept father’s day which he spent with his father. In january I broke my ankle and when I was there he was very caring, he would hold out his hand to help me up and down stairs, held me close in crowds to protect me, and other simple little things that shows he cares. His mother is a gyno and his father a perimedic. I met his parents and he was always very respectful to his mother. I am really hoping and praying that I truely did find a good guy.

    • Um, good luck?! (the behavior you observed is 100% S.O.P. with Cuban men – especially the ones looking for a yuma visa. You were at an all-inclusive, right? You might want to search the web – try for all the women who have been scammed precisely the same way. You may have found a good one – they’re out there!, but by what you’re describing, its hard to know)

      • Hopeless romantic

        I have known him since 2013 he has never asked me for money or anything. I have been to the site you mention and well I didn’t stay very long there, because I did not like all the judgements. Like I had said on cubaamor people that use people are in every country, there are some here in Canada too. Sorry but it is sad when people automatically think every cuban is the same. I know it is hard to tell by what I said, but something inside me tells me he truely cares about me. I think it would be easier to tell for people who actually observe his behaviour with me. Thanks for your response

      • Hopeless romantic

        I also forgot to mention that he has bought me gifts for my birthday for the past 2 years

  51. Kate

    Best advice ever if you are a Western female: Don’t marry a Cuban man from the island unless he has lived in the US or abroad at least 5 years. End of story. Trust me!

  52. Hopeless romantic

    I am not a western female lol

  53. Adele

    Connor in many of your posts you refer to the Cuban male as having a ‘testa dura’. I think that many women would go so far as to describe them as being bullying sociopaths. Not all but many.

    It seems that many of the posters here are being less than honest in their account of Cuban men. There are too many of the ‘Why are Cuban men so hot’ variety which basically is skating over the real issues, i.e. the bullying nature of the spoilt machista Cuban man.

    There is an undercurrent of bullying and female abuse in Cuba which no doubt you can relate to, having lived there for many years.

    I have experienced examples of this bullying and abuse when recently staying in a casa in Holguin. On many occasions I witnessed the lady of the casa (in her 60’s) physically slap and shout at her older 80 year olod sister, for the crime of watering the plants in the garden. Poor Maria was screamed at and slapped for what her sister saw as a major offence. I squirmed when I saw this and felt really bad for the older lady who was being the repeated victim of this abuse.

    On a recent visit I spoke to two Cuban women, hotel receptionists, one had to divorce her husband for repeated violence because of the effect it was having on her children. They are now receiving psychiatric help as a result of emotional trauma from witnessing their father abuse their mother physically and emotionally for many years.

    Another accepted her husband’s affair as she ‘did not want to break up the family’. With this attitude nothing is likely to to change.

    Violence is a big problem there. Here’ an article on the topic:

    • I personally have not witnessed or experienced the “undercurrent of bullying and female abuse” you describe (also, you mention males being “bullying sociopaths” but provide an example of inter-familial/sibling abuse which aren’t the same things). Ive seen a few (very few considering time spent/wide range of relationships here) instances of physical/economic/spiritual abuse. It exists – as Im sure Yoani in the Huff Post article probably beats to death (I dont have time or inclination to read her) but I would not say its a “big problem”. But Im also a health journalist and so am very evidence based and anywhere in the world, familial/gender violence data are always underreported so its hard for me, you or yoani to really measure and analyze the magnitude of the problem.

  54. Adele

    To Kate, great advice I agree 100%.

  55. Adele

    I find it strange that you ‘do not find the time nor inclination to red the blogs of Yoani Sanches’.

    After all she is of the world’s most foremost and significant bloggers.

    Could it be a case of sour grapes?.

    She is one of the most popular bloggers in the world today. She is widely published, (unlike you). She has interviewed Barack Obama.

    She says it like it is, and has no hidden agenda. She is Cuban.

    I respect her words and i believe he say it like it is and is reflective of real life in Cuba today. Why would she need to fabricate her reports.

    Her blogs resound with clarity and honesty.

    Hence her global popularity.

  56. Adele

    Also I think that you who have lived in Cuba for the past 14 years is in a better position to ..’provide an example of the bullying sociopaths whom abuse women in Cuba’…

    You, after all live with and are married to a Cuban man.

    Who better to provide us with evidence.

  57. Adele

    You claim to be a ‘health journalist’ but you have said that you report on STD’s and HIV.

    You are certainly not an expert on the emotional issues which affect victims of domestic abuse. Or is that an area you also specialize in.?

    Perhas you could provide us with an example of your own personal experience, which might be a lot more realistic.

  58. Adele

    You do seem to have a bee in your bonnet regarding Yoani Sanches. Why do you dismiss her work?. She is highly respected globally for her blogs. Widely read. Published in the Huffington Post and many other international and national newspapers.

    You said you had ‘neither the desire nor the inclination”s cycle of to read’ her blog on Cuba’s Cycle of Violence.

    Why is this?

    Could it be that her words have struck a sensitive chord in you, and reflfect what you have experienced during your 14 years of marriage to a Cuban man?.Or is it plain jealousy at her worldwide popularity and acclaim?.

    I have travelled extensively around Cuba and spoken with many Cuban women. Almost all of them have confirmed that what Yoani has written to be true. The women confirm that their male partners in the main are verbally and emotionally abusive, in many cases also violent. It’s learned behaviour
    inherited from seeing their fathers abuse their mothers.

    Cuban men are always very charming at the beginning of the relationship but that charm soon fades into a more macabre reality as soon as they have hooked the woman in. The mask drops as soon as they are living together and he morphs into a Jekyll and Hyde character.

    Many of mothers who have experienced violence now have children receiving psychological help as a result of the violence they have witnessed. All of the women’s partners had cheated on them, surprisingly some had remained with them ‘for the sake of the children.

    Yoani’s blogs have a ring of truth, she tells it like it is. She is passionate about what she writes, hence her popularity globally. She was born there has lived ther all her life. She is an authority on Cuba and it’s people.

    • I don’t have the time because Im constantly on deadline (yes, Im widely published!! Although you opined to the contrary) and on super slow Cuban dial up. I don’t have the inclination because 1) she is not a good writer and life is too short for bad writing. There are many people writing for Cuba who do a much better job (Ravsberg, E Diaz) and 2) she is constantly cherry picking her analysis and as a political scientist (yes, another hat I wear), this is just shoddy work.

      You repeatedly mention her “worldwide popularity and acclaim.” This is true – so many people know her worldwide, she’s translated into 18 languages, she blogs and tweets constantly (NOT using dial up incidentally). But NO ONE knows her in Cuba. And isn’t that where shes trying to be relevant? So I should a third point to why I don’t have the time or inclination to read her: she’s not relevant here on the ground where all the action is.

      Please do not draw libelous conclusions about my husband, my marriage and our relationship – as far as I know you know neither of us (and any readers that do feel free to weigh in!!) and I promise you: you’re way off base.

      Also: you could fact check a bit on Yoani: she has not “lived her whole life in Cuba” She actually tried to forge a life in Europe and returned when that effort failed.

  59. Adele

    July 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I think they are more mentally abusive and pathologically immature…..

    I completely agree. Well Said!

  60. Adele

    Generation Y is read by millions globally. She does not trivialize Cuba by writing about bodily functions or borrowing a tampax or heavy metal bands.

    She tells it like it is, the truth as it is in Cuba today. She has written about the hot topic never covered by the Cuban media – domestic violence, she has also covered bullying in schools. She has taken a huge risk in doing so.

    If she did chose to return from Europe that is surely her choice, it does not reflect on her popularity or success. Many Cuban com men who trick women into sham marriages and are flown abroad, also return when they realise that life is not a bed of roses in Europe or Canada and they have to work for a living, the state does not mollycoddle them as it does in Cuba, so they return home to Momma and the state handouts, raciones, free healthcare and education etc.

    • Wow, you are a dog with a bone!!
      1. I write about all sorts of topics – trivial and dead serious. Since my paid writing gigs are usually dead serious, my blog is where I get cathartic writing relief. If you find it so trivial, feel free to click away.
      2. My pointing out that she hasn’t lived in cuba all her life didn’t refer to her popularity – it referred to your lack of correct facts (way to dar la vuelta a la tortilla m’ija!)

      Since you’ve shown yourself to be a not-too-careful reader, I shall not spend any more time answering your comments. Happy reading!!

  61. Jax

    I left a comment here back in 2013 telling the story of how I met my Cuban and how wonderful things were. Well, I’ve been getting many e-mails since then alerting me of new comments. Most of them regarding people’s bad experiences with their relationships with a Cuban.

    My Cuban and I are still together and still VERY happy. There are certainly differences between his culture and mine. Ex: It’s not uncommon for him to just grab something I’m looking at, tasting food directly from the pot, or sticking his gum on the night stand next to his bed. But, besides for these trivial things, he is a VERY good person. He has never been unfaithful to me and I’m sure of it. I mean, unless he has a lunch break lover that never calls or texts, he has never given me a second to think otherwise. When he craves a night out on the town, he always wants to enjoy it WITH me. He is also certainly not using me for money. I do work full time and make a slightly higher salary than him, but we split all of the bills 50/50 and he is more likely to spend extra money on our home or our family before himself. He is “machismo” as many of you stated, but he’s also not overbearing. He gets jealous and he likes a hot meal at the end of the day…but he also cleans the house on the weekends, does all of the laundry, and goes grocery shopping.

    I guess my point is, there are good ones out there. This may or may not be true, but I think that the people who have been hurt and betrayed are the ones that are more likely to contribute their experiences as a means to vent. I know many Cubans (like my husband that were born & raised in Havana) that are faithful husbands, wonderful fathers, and amazing friends.

    I hope this gives all of you some hope! xo

    • Yay!!! this is so great – that you guys are still living the dream AND that you came back to encourage other readers. Si se puede!! Ive always maintained that there are good ones out there. Im happy to hear you’re with one of ’em!

  62. Kiara

    So I just came across this (and your other) post(s)!
    I am a 24 year old European young lady and met a young handsome guy in Cuba.
    We spent over a week together, spending multiple nights together and met by coincidence when I bought his paintings from a gallery place in Trinidad.
    Now I feel like since I have been back 2 weeks ago, I have already went thru a cycle of traditional emotions that people with Cuban love interests go thru.
    I have been happy, and have been totally distressed with ready all these ‘watch out for all cuban love scammers’.
    Long story short, I got scared, told him thru mail my concerns (your confidence is only so strong), and made him dissapointed in my bad judgement.
    Next I put those negative thoughts aside and decided to book a trip back to Cuba in 2 months! Just because I feel like I want to know where things could go between me and him. We have this connection and childhood similarities I have never had with someone before.
    So this is all awesome.

    On the subject of machismo I have noticed certain things..
    He noticed I am pretty much a free bird when it comes to living life and sightseeing. For instance when I showed him pictures of me crashing a random domino streetgame where 3 men where playing he jokingly told me that ‘he can’t leave me alone so it seems’, which is funny ofcourse.
    On the other hand when we went to the club together he told me he was afraid of leaving me alone to dance when he needed to go to the bathroom, in fear I would dance with another man.
    I notice he is more ‘jealous’ than a European (I’m from Belgium) guy which I think is actually sexy, but at the same time it is new to me to be worried who I dance with, because it is just dance to me..

    That being said, we split ways when I left for home and we decided to keep in touch. He said he would ‘believe I would be staying in a convent’ and I would do the same. However, I think he has many opportunities in his surroundings as he was with another woman less than a month before we met.
    Now reading all of this, I am worried, eventhough we didn’t swear a fidelity oath to each other, I would hope it’s true he really tells me the truth if he saw someone else in the meantime, even if it’s only sexual.. But I don’t know he would..

    Any feedback? :)

  63. Sally Ann

    I met my Cuban 2 years ago and fell hopelessly in love. He too quicker than me he even had my initial tattooed on his arm. Shortly after we met he returned to Cuba for a month on his return all changed. The macho ism and drinking got out of control. Our sex life was amazing but I started to have my doubts about his fidelity I saw messages from his ex in Cuba stating her heart was like a stone since he left. He took to calling Cuba from beurofax to talk to his son… his sin was 3 and did not talk but he would be on the phone for an hour and I was not permitted to join him. Eventually his drinking and violence took a toll and I threw him out … He we t straight to the arms of a Lithuanian 18 year old student (he is 44). He moved in with her but kept coming back to ne telling me he loved me but we had problems …. now she us gone back to Lithuania and he is seeking me out again. I am finding so much of his culture hard to accept… The fact that male friends take priority over the women that it us nothing to cancel a meal with ne to go with a friend and tell me nothing. That flirting and going with other women is acceptable.. I love him with all my heart nut I am not sure I can do this… do I become Cuban and forget my English culture ? We live in Spain his culture is not acceptable here either. The lies and manipulation wow… its mind blowing I don’t know how Cuban women cope…. but maybe as they have close knit groups it’s easier for them than it is for me alone in Spain.

    • Hola Sally Ann. Im sorry to hear of your plight. You did right to kick him to the curb. He sounds like a bum! Cuban women are a breed all their own, with amazing coping (and other) survival mechanisms. Cross cultural relationships are very very tough and it sounds like yours is better filed under: Gave It My Best Shot But….Good luck!

  64. Jeni

    I met a sexy Cuban man who told me he was married to a friend for the green card. He neglected to tell me they lived together. Ever since, I desire a Cuban man. So many are very sexy. I tried searching for a Cuban dating site, but I suspect they are not too tech savvy. When I see a Cuban man, I get so shy because I am overwhelmed by the attraction that I cannot function! Any suggestions of how to land a Cuban man?

  65. Anna

    Hello everybody,
    I just don’t get it.. Do the Cubans have some real and pure feelings for someone in this world or it’s all about the money and self satisfaction?
    Someone tried to do some academic research about that society?
    Men who are kind of sociopaths, exploiting and manipulate the tourists like they are not human beings and don’t have any feelings. Don’t they have any values ?
    I’m 29 years old and met my Cubano about half a year ago when traveled to Cuba for two weeks. He was older then me in a few years, a little bit shy and not such a good looking, but still knew all the tricks how to attract me. Includes “te quiero mucho” and all the romantic emails with “mi amor” and so and so.
    After i came to Cuba again to get know better my Cuban love, i realized that he cheated on me badly. He had connection with some woman in Russia who apperantly was his wife or something and waited for him to come back (he is a musicion and worked in Russia for two years but told me that will never return there because stucked there with no money, and had the opportunity to buy a ticket back to Cuba only after two years when earned the money). I’m sure that he still have some relations with the mother of his son and maybe with other women as well, he was lieing all the time in everything. At the end i understood that he only wanted my money, although i look good, younger then him. Although we had a good moments as well, i’m a dancer and we enjoyd to dance , laugh, he is a good cooker and we had an amazing sex, he hurted me a lot , i had never been cheated so much. Of course my love dream was ruined and confidence in those people as well.
    I read a lot of stories and trying to find out-
    Does someone teach them how to cheat on tourists ? How does all they know to use the same words and the same behavior?? They cheat one at each other as well?
    They cheat on their wives as well, they ready to sleep and spend years with foreign women who older then they are, so where exactly their own selves? It might be very confusing to live like that in all those lies. Do they know who they really are and what they feel? Don’t have any humanity or moral?
    I still try to let him understand that he hurt me and could recieve more if he was homest eventhough i know it’s not functional, and he keeps on going with all the “te amo y te extrano mi princesa” shit.
    I like Cuba a lot but for now sadly i left with that bitter taste.
    Would like to some answers and sorry for my english i’m not an english speaker.

    • Hi Anna. Im sorry for what happened to you (as you can see from other commenters, you’re not alone, if that’s any consolation!). However, you can’t condemn/implicate an entire society for this guy’s behavior. Cubans have values, but as in any cross cultural situation, they may not be the same values as yours (or mine). I hope you return some day and have better experiences.

      • Anna

        First of all thanks for your repIy and your blog. I don’t condemn or implicate an entire society. I talk about those people who behave that way and they are not few. Just try to find out if they have some real feelinfs towards someone that are not motivated by money.

  66. Sophia

    Thank you Anna for your honesty, I am sorry to hear what your Cuban man put you through. He sounds like a self obsessed selfish sociopath who is out for what he can get with no regard for anyone’s feelings, and you are better off without him.

    As Conner rightly pointed out, it’s the Cuban women who pander to these selfish monsters who are creating this kind of machismo. The mothers who send them out of the kitchen and who cater to their every need, the wives who tolerate their mistresses. Cuban women seem to be in competition with each other, they seem to have absolutely no respect for other women and have no hesitation about sleeping with their friend’s husband or boyfriend.

    Conner describes this type of ‘puteria’ so well. I saw it for myself when I recently stayed at a resort in Cuba, the receptionist took a liking to my partner and slipped him her mobile no. She is aware that we have been together for four years yet she had no qualms about handing him her no.

    Another receptionist told me that he husband had cheated on her with her friend, had a three year affair, but she took him back, ‘for the sake of the children’.

    So long as they are in competition for worthless men, nothing will change and they are just fanning the flames of machismo culture and bad behaviour and spreading STD’s.

    Cuba seem so proud of the fact that their HIV figures are low, but have they released their STD and HPV figures? I think we would be shocked at how high those figures are.

    Not shocked when you see the amount of prostitution which has flourished in all areas of Cuba, from Holguin to Santiago and Havana, prostitution is everywhere. In many hotels the working gals outnumber the regular tourists.

    In one hotel I stayed at 90% of the guests were elderly men in their 60’s and 70’s with young Cuban girls whom they had booked in for a week on a daily rate of $40. It’s organized prostitution run by a woman in Holguin who has set up a website with pictures of the girls some as young as 16.

    The manager of the hotel (in Rafael Freyre, which is well known) and the security are aware of it but choose to turn a blind eye to it. The manager drives a very fancy car.

    Clearly on the take. At that same hotel I witnessed a boy of 12 being sent to the room of a lone Canadian man in his 50’s. Another time I saw a young Afro-Cuban boy of 5 stay in the room of an elderly black Cuban woman who was not his mother and a Canadian man in his late 60’s. It is disgusting. When honest reviews are written the vile manager has them removed and send threatening messages to the writer via Trip Advisor. His PR woman Anna is clearly well versed in polishing up the smut the dirt.

    Sleaze and whoring such as this is driving down tourism numbers in Cuba, I have seen tourism decline and is it any wonder.

    It would be interesting to know how many marriages work out, we all read of the scams and fraud, but do any survive?

    Cuba has descended into a cesspit of sleaze and corruption and is no longer an attractive destination for decent folk who want no part of it.

    • Yikes! This is all very disturbing, on several levels. So:
      1. Anyone interested in Cuba’s STI figures can search out the Anuario Estadistica de Salud (available here:
      2. Im currently researching and writing A LOT (stay tuned!) on ethical and responsible tourism to Cuba. And one of the questions that keeps coming up is the rights/responsibilities of the emitting and recipient country.

      Sophia: you seem to have a lot of damning information on what is happening in a specific resort in Rafael Freyre (and you are not the first to report such stuff coming from the orient; I personally have not witnessed such abhorrent behavior so can’t comment). Can I implore you to contact NATIONAL tourism and police (seems like there might too much of a “vested interest” in and around the resort itself) about what you’ve been witnessing? I think until people who are witnessing this speak up – and to the correct authorities, not just on a blog – we won’t see any traction on this.

      Feel free to contact me privately. This is NOT the kind of tourism we want/need in Cuba!!

  67. Sophia

    To Jeni are you for real? You come across as a Cuban here for a wind up/joke.

    If a Cuban man has tricked a woman into marrying him for a Green Card and is living with her what makes you think he would be faithful to you?

    Why would you put yourself through so much stress by getting involved with a fraudster and cheater like that?. Do you enjoy problems in your life/

    You say you find Cuban men attractive that they are so hot. They are not, They are no different to men of other nationality, only they are have a gift for charming words, they are no hotter in bed. They are however a lot more promiscuous and you will stand a much greater chance of being infected by an STD than when you sleep with a man of another nationality. Their have a free and easy approach to promiscuity. And that included Cuban women who would not think twice about sleeping with her best friend’s man,

    No Cuban men are not ‘hotter’, hey know how to lie better, they how to manipulate women better. How to con you better and be believeable when doing so. Their system has encouraged them to be that way. The art of the scam the con is ingrained in them from 50 plus years of socialismo.

    • I cant say I agree with Sophia’s assessment but there’s an EASY answer to unwanted STIs: CONDOMS. We distribute them (Trojans, Durex, Colors) free at Cuba Libro. Cmon on in for yours and screw safer!

  68. Sophia

    haha Conner , no problem I always have safe sex. Even in a committed relationship, you never know!. And you who live there are well aware of how promiscuous many Cuban men are.

    What shocks me is how very unliberated, unemancipated the Cuban woman is when it comes to their men. They are in competition with each other for worthless men who play them. I could not believe the woman at the front desk of the hotel who’s husband played away with her friend for three years and she took him back. It’s almost condoning his vile behaviour.

    I was shocked to hear about the levels of domestic violence and how the police tend to turn a blind eye to it.’ They seem to have the attitude ..’Well she probably deserved it’. Those poor women are on their own when it comes to DV. and most have nowhere to escape to since housing is in such short supply there.

    I will definitely contact the National Tourism, do you mean the one in Havana or their Tourism Board in Toronto?. With regard to the police, to be honest with you I do not have much faith or trust in them to do anything about the prostitution racket in Freyre.

    Izlasul is the main culprit.

    They run the hotel in Freyre. They had to close down Cabanas in Guardalavaca (also Izlasul) following many complaints about prostitution and exploitation of children

    Now it seems they are playing the same game in Freyre, and are making big bucks from the many old guys who fly there to sleep with young Cuban girls.

    It’s shameful and it’s an exploitation of poverty. Whenever this grubby subject is raised on Trip Advisor the management have the post removed and the PR goes into overdrive.

    • Hey Sophia

      The good news is: they took action at Cabanas – that means there’s hope for Freyre. I would draft a letter and send it to: MINTUR (in Havana), the tourism board in Toronto, the administration of Islazul (Havana) and Mariela Castro, director of CENESEX. Even though you don’t have confidence in the police, including them in the loop is important (so that when they DON’T do anything, they cant say to the authorities: we were unaware of the problem). AND MAKE IT CLEAR YOURE sending it to all these people (with a CC at the bottom). Make it as specific as possible, avoid unproven accusations and underscore the moral/legal angle.

      Im currently writing a post on responsible tourism and your willingness to contact Cuban authorities is a great example.


  69. Sophia

    Thank you so much Conner for suggesting the above contacts, much appreciated.

    What I witnessed in Freyre really disturbed me. Not so much the working girls who have made a choice, but the adolescent boy being sent to the room of a 55 year old lone male at 8pm at night, arriving at the hotel all alone.

    I was in the lobby having a coffee, and suddenly I thought, hey this is’nt right, two security guys stood there doing nothing, also the receptionist had phone through to the guy’s room and said ‘I’m sending Eduardo up’.

    I went to the senior security guy – Alejandro and asked him if he was a father, he said yes why, I said ‘would you be so quick to send your son to the room of a pedophile. Unless you call that boy back I will contact the police’, Immediately the boy was called back and put in a cab home to Freyre 7 miles away.

    Meanwhile the receptionist slipped below the desk and was talking in a muffled tone to the boy’s mother.

    When I complained to the manager next day he was angry, I was lambasted for ‘interfering’. He said I would be reported to Immigration if I spoke about this. It was a real threat. A nasty little man.

    He terminated the receptionist’s contract that same day and the Canadian man did a hasty check out, was nowhere to be seen. So that says a lot.

    That particular hotel is in the middle of nowhere and seems to suit the many elderly Canadian men who fly there just for sex. The rate apparently is $40 a day. The girls change partners faster than they change their knickers.

    The attractive 22 year old who was next door to me told me she was incredibly bored (I speak Spanish) She had been booked by a small Peruvian man in his 60’s for two weeks, she had a boyfriend in Holguin whom she would visit at weekends, she also had a 40 year old German guy who was arranging a visa for her.

    It was all very very sleazy. The same old boys return there twice or three times a year and have set up a website – ‘Friends Of Don Lino’. If anyone writes the truth on Trip Advisor, they have it removed and send threatening messages to the author via T.A. All very nasty..

    It really is a brothel posing as a hotel, and Izlasul should be ashamed of themselves. They know what is going but but they are clearly making more money from sex tourism than ordinary tourism when numbers drop in the summer months. These old guys who would not get a second glance in Toronto or Quebec tip security and staff well and no questions are asked.

    • Sophia: this makes me so sad and very very MAD. Im starting to disseminate information about this but I implore you to write to the authorities – include that disgusting website in your missive. Also see above the UN report on the Committee on the Rights of the Child. That might be cited in the letter, too.

  70. Angelo

    Prostitution is rampant in Cuba and Cuban collude in it big time. Child
    Exploitation (which Cubans collude in) is equally disgusting. The Toronto Sun did an interesting article on it last year.

    You can read it here:

    Is it any wonder that tourism numbers are on the decline.

    • Hi Angelo

      Thanks for providing this link. This practice is illegal, disgusting and inhuman/amoral.

      Can you provide info/data/links about “tourism numbers on the decline?” Do you mean Canadian tourists? Because tourist numbers are definitely not on the decline overall.

  71. Angelo

    Cuba: land of sun, sand and cheap child prostitutes: Editorial. While Canada toughens its penalties for sexual predators at home, it lets known offenders slip out of the country to engage in sex tourism in Cuba.

    Detective Sergeant Kim Gross, of the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit, at police headquarters.


    Detective Sergeant Kim Gross, of the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit, at police headquarters.
    Published on Tue Mar 19 2013

    Cuba has long been a favourite sun-spot for Canadians. It’s relatively cheap, loaded with resorts and just 2,300 km away.

    But some tourists are drawn by more its unspoiled beaches and fine cigars. The Caribbean island has become a magnet for men eager to engage in sex with pre-pubescent girls , some as young as four. A confidential 2011 RCMP report on child sex tourism, obtained by a Star investigative team using Canada’s Access to Information Act, identifies Cuba as one of the most popular destinations in the Americas for child sex tourism.

    The Canadian government, while acknowledging sex offenders are going abroad to exploit children, has done little to stop them. The Cuban government, eager for hard currency, denies that a problem even exists.

    “There are no exit records that are kept of these individuals so it’s very difficult for us to know whether someone is in fact leaving the country for these reasons,” Vic Toews, the federal minister of public safety , told the Star. “My preference is that these individuals are prosecuted within the jurisdiction where they are discovered.”

    That is not likely to happen. Cuban police are willing to look the other way, if their palms are greased. The government rarely prosecutes foreign sexual predators. It refuses to release records of child exploitation to international or domestic relief agencies. And Raúl Castro – Fidel’s younger brother who succeeded him as president in 2008 – insists that the island is a family-friendly tourist mecca.

    For four months, a team of Star reporters working with their counterparts from Miami’s Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald , probed this illicit trade from the streets of Havana to the highest echelons of the law enforcement system, speaking to police, politicians, diplomats and citizens working to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

    They found that sex with young girls in Cuba costs as little as $30 a night. A network of hotel staff, cabbies and pimps was eager to set up an encounter for a tourist – for a small fee. Impoverished families were so desperate for money – or so dazzled by gifts and material goods unavailable in Cuba – that they pushed their children into prostitution.

    What they uncovered in Canada was equally shocking. The government of Stephen Harper, which trumpets its commitment to crack down on sexual predators, has so far turned an almost blind eye to sexual tourism. Only five individuals have been convicted for crimes against children outside the country.

    Although Canada has had a law against abusing children abroad since 1997, it is undermined by the inability of law enforcement officials to monitor sexual offenders as they slip out of the country. Nor can border officials identify them when they return because they don’t have access to the national Sex Offender Registry . Under Ottawa’s privacy rules, the RCMP cannot share the list.

    The result: Canadians are “among the most enthusiastic customers of the Cuban child sex trade.” Unless they do something stupid – such as take pornographic photos to a commercial outlet for printing – there is little chance they’ll be caught.

    Canada can’t stop this blight alone. But there are some obvious steps it could take. It could exempt sex offenders from privacy rules that prevent border guards from recognizing them. Require anyone who has been charged or convicted of sexual crimes to report all trips outside the country. Increase fines and jail terms for those charged with sex tourism. Provide the RCMP’s Child Exploitation Unit with the resources it needs to investigate crimes against children abroad. Work more closely with American authorities to detect border-crossing sexual predators. And put pressure on the Cuban government to prosecute sex tourists.

    In the wake of the Star’s reporting on this troubling issue, Toews is promising more action to fight international sex tourism. On Monday, he said the government is consulting with experts “in order to prevent traffickers and offenders from travelling abroad” and is “committed to putting an end to the sexual exploitation of children, no matter where it may occur.”

    Those are welcome statements. The Conservatives never miss an opportunity to express their abhorrence for those who sexually exploit children. It’s high time the government backed up its rhetoric with strong action.

    • Thanks for this. The Toronto Star is not known for detailed, responsible reporting re Cuba and this is a good example. They claim to have spent 4 months w Nuevo Herald reporters “speaking to police and politicians” and I know for a fact this is impossible given how they entered the country (ie not on a journalistic visa). Also, why are NONE of these sources cited in the article? Makes you go hmmmmm.

      Also, there is just this report out from the UN (where Cuban officials ARE quoted; a bit more credible source, I believe). Regardless: the country needs to put a STOP to this NOW.

      Committee on the Rights of the Child considers reports of Cuba on the sale of children and children in armed conflict

      29 September 2015

      The Committee on the Rights of the Child today considered the initial reports of Cuba on how the country is implementing the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the Optional Protocol on children involved in armed conflict.

      Introducing the reports, Maria Esther Reus Gonzalez, Minister of Justice, stated that the reports represented an outcome of an intense consultation process with the involvement of the Government institutions, civil society organizations, and individuals. During their preparation, Cuba had managed to identify challenges to achieving a more effective legal framework and to protecting children?s rights. Among positive developments, Ms. Gonzalez noted that Cuba had the best education system in the world, according to the World Bank. It was also noteworthy that Cuba had become the first country to receive the validation of the World Health Organisation for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis. Unlike many other countries, no armed conflict existed in Cuba, thanks to the national stability and security. In addition, the Government attached great importance to the security of the children of Cuba, and set the minimum age as 18 to join the Armed Forces and to use firearms.

      Under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Committee Experts noted that the report was not clear in answering questions about existing mechanisms to punish pornography and prostitution. Accordingly, Experts inquired about measures to protect children and adolescents from sex tourism, pornography, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation. Reporting mechanisms for sexual violation, complaints mechanisms and help lines, recovery and social reintegration services for child victims, and the implementation of the National Plan of Action for Children were also raised. On the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, Experts asked about children in the Armed Forces, presence of military schools, minimum age for military service and voluntary recruitments, awareness-raising programmes about the Optional Protocol, and the possible ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

      Peter Guran, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, drew attention to the possibility of upcoming challenges for the State party and its children due to the current changes. He hoped that the Committee?s concluding recommendations would assist the State party in addressing challenges and the legislative reform.

      Ms. Gonzalez, in concluding remarks, stressed that the Government was fully committed to the promotion and protection of children?s rights. Nothing would prevent Cuba from perfecting its socialist system and increasing institutional cooperation.

      The delegation of Cuba included representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations Office at Geneva,.

      The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 October, when it will adopts its concluding observations and recommendations for the reports reviewed during the session, and close the seventieth session.


      The initial report of Cuba under the Optional Protocol on the sale on children, child prostitution and child pornography can be read here: (CRC/C/OPSC/CUB/1), while the initial report of Cuba under the Optional Protocol on involvement of children in armed conflict is available here: (CRC/C/OPAC/CUB/1).

      Presentation of the Reports

      MARIA ESTHER REUS GONZALEZ, Minister of Justice, said that the reports were the result of an intense consultation process, involving various Government institutions, civil society organisations and other partners. The process, in that regard, had allowed the State party to identify current challenges concerning the promotion and protection of children and adolescents. Cuba was among the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2011, the Government had undertaken social, economic and legal reforms leading to a legislative, social and institutional revolution in the country. In just three years, 279 legal standards had been published, 675 repealed and 51 amended.

      The Government had been working tirelessly to protect children and adolescents in the country. In that regard, it had initiated and implemented policies and strategies, which were instrumental in ensuring the protection of children?s rights. Despite the progress made over the years, the Government was fully aware that it needed to do much more. Therefore, Cuba was willing to take all the necessary steps to overcome the challenges it faced and to consolidate the internal consensus in order to achieve a more effective legal framework and a greater harmonisation.

      Ms. Gonzalez said that the National Plan of Action for Children, Adolescents and their Families for the period 2015-2020 had been developed with the support of the United Nations Children?s Fund office in Havana. Further, cooperation with United Nations agencies and other international organisations had motivated the State party to develop programmes and measures to further promote and protect children?s rights. Cuba had ratified the International Labour Organisations Convention 182 on the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour.

      Due to the stability and security in the society, there was no armed conflict or non-state armed groups in Cuba. However, the State party still attached great importance to the issue. Accordingly, the Government had ratified the related Optional Protocol in 2007. Furthermore, no one under the age of 18 was compelled to join the Army and was expected to use firearms as the security of the Cuban people, particularly the children, was a high priority.

      According to the World Bank, Cuba had the best education system in the world, and it had spent 13 per cent of its gross domestic product on education. Cuba had become the first country to receive the validation of the World Health Organisation for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis. Further, in Cuba no child was forced to work to support its family, and, thus, child labour did not exist.

      The Government promoted tourism of ?peace, health, family, culture, and relaxation?, and not tourism of ?casinos, drugs, and crime?. To that end, Cuba had undertaken measures, regulating contracts with tour operators and travel agencies and alerting visitors about the severity of the legislation. Additionally, the Government had taken steps to restrict access to Internet websites which contained pornographic behaviours and acts involving children. Noting that the ?zero tolerance policy? was applied to all acts that threatened the normal development of children, Ms. Gonzalez stated that the Government would take all necessary measures to severely punish the perpetrators.

      Questions by Experts

      PETER GURAN, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, thanked the delegation for the report as well as its replies to the list of issues. He drew attention to tourism, which had been converted into the most dynamic sector of the Cuban economy, and its potential impacts on children.

      The Expert wanted to know about the steps taken by the State party with regard to the implementation of the National Plan of Action for Children.

      There was a lack of clear definition of sale of children, prostitution, child pornography in the legislation. Did the Government intend to extend the scope of the definition?

      Mr. Guran noted that pornography and prostitution were very worrying. What kind of programmes and policies were undertaken by the Government to eliminate the possibility of such acts?

      WANDERLINO NOGUEIRA FIERRO, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, said that some of the answers to the list of issues were not clear. What kind of measures undertaken by the Government to ensure that the dissemination and promotion of the rights of the child, as well as its awareness raising efforts among the public?

      What kind of measures did the Government take to support the victims of sexual violation? Was there a help line mechanism, and if so, was it easily available to all children?

      One Expert inquired about measures taken planned to be taken by the State party to eliminate paedophilia, pornography and child prostitution.

      With regard to the complaint mechanisms, what kind of measures were undertaken by the Government to ensure confidentiality?

      Question was asked about recovery and social reintegration services provided to boys, girls and adolescents who had been the victims of the crimes described in the Optional Protocol.

      Did the State party explicitly prohibit sex tourism in the national legislation? What were the measures taken by the Government to eliminate such act?

      One Expert inquired about the criminalisation procedure of sexual offences.

      Did the State party have a law addressing the possession of child pornography and the committing of sex crimes via the Internet, another Expert asked.

      Replies by the Delegation

      With regard to sex tourism, the delegation said that the Ministry of Tourism had undertaken administrative measures for the prevention of such tourism in any of its manifestations. Stricter regulations were in place when such acts involved minors. There were systems in place for detection and confrontation, directly associated with the police and specialized authorities. Chapter 4 of the National Plan focused on the healthier and safe tourism for all children.

      Centres for prostitution or other demeaning acts for human beings related to the sex trade, as well as places for the sale of pornographic or advertising materials that promoted such activities, were prohibited.
      Efforts had been made to forbid manipulating the tourist image of Cuba as a sexual paradise. Family-based tourism was promoted, providing free accommodation for children under 12 and discounts for large families. In addition, children unaccompanied by adults were not allowed to buy or consume alcoholic beverages, cigars and cigarettes.

      On the dissemination of information regarding the Convention and the Optional Protocols, a delegate noted that Cuba had implemented strategies dealing with making adolescents and youths aware of their rights. Youth centres played an important role in disseminating information about the children?s rights and the Convention.

      In Cuba, no court cases had been recorded for the crime of trafficking in persons for the purpose of human organ transfers, illegal adoption or forced labour. Adoption was regulated under the Family Code. According to the Department for the Protection of Citizen Rights? methodological indications, prior to issuing the ruling for adoption, the Department had to validate the legitimacy of documents presented by the applicants. The adoption needed to have no hidden purposes and needed to comply with the principles inspiring adoption in the Family Code that might adversely affect interests of the minors. Cuba favoured the adoption of minors by national substitute parents.

      Cuba had appropriate legal instruments to face the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the delegation stated. The penalty was seven to 15 years? of imprisonment if the intention was to use the minor in any form of international trafficking involving acts of corruption, pornography, prostitution, organ trading, forced labour, drug trafficking or illegal consumption of drugs.

      Statistics regarding offences covered by the Protocol showed that the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography did not constitute a widespread social phenomenon in the country.

      Follow-up Questions by Experts

      An Expert asked whether the State party intended to penalise child prostitution under the age of 18.

      If a Cuban child outside of the country was subjected to sexual violation, what would the Government do to tackle with the issue?

      Was there a law prohibiting foreigners with criminal records in child related offences from entering Cuba?

      One Expert was interested in learning more about the reintegration of children into families and the community after they had experienced sexual violence.

      Considering the scope of the current Penal Code, did the State party was planning to make changes on it, an Expert asked.

      Another Expert wanted clarity on whether prostitution was a crime or not. At what age was a girl allowed to prostitute? Did the Government prohibit such acts?

      Replies by the Delegation

      Corruption of minors was considered as an offence under Article 310.1 of the Criminal Code. It consisted of involving a person under the age of 16 in prostitution, debauchery, heterosexual or homosexual pornography or other indecent activities, and incurred imprisonment for a period of seven to 15 years.

      Punishment for corruption of minors also included the imprisonment for a period of two to five years imposed on a person who had parental authority over a minor found to use drugs or engaged in prostitution, and who consented to such acts or failed to prevent them to report.

      According to the surveys, the rate of victims was relatively stable, the rate of complaints was increasing, and therefore the rate of unreported offence was decreasing. The rate of resolved cases was rising, while rate of persons fearing victimization was declining.

      The public was aware of the existence of the Office of the Public Prosecutor and its role. The Cuban people used the mechanism to file complaints and report various problems, including issues related to the Protocol. Accordingly, in the period 2010-2013, the branch offices of the Attorney General’s Office had dealt with 358,019 persons and processed 54,881 written claims, complaints and allegations of various kinds, of which 22.3 per cent had been found to have merit.

      With regard to budget allocation, due to economic problems, the Government had struggled with sustaining social programs. However, despite financial difficulties, the Government continued to spend 13 per cent of its gross domestic products on the such programmes.

      On the data collection and statistics, the country sought to improve its crime and public security data base, led by the institution focusing solely on statistics. Also, the Government had cooperated with international organisations to gather data on various issues.

      With regards to the question on the Penal Code, a delegate noted that the changes were already taking place. The Government had amended the law in order to improve the standards when it came to protect girls, boys and adolescents.

      In the few cases of child or adolescent victims of offences, the persons concerned received individualized treatment. Services focusing on the rehabilitation and emotional stability of child or adolescent victims were offered by the National System of Education in evaluation and orientation centres.

      The centres were staffed with specialists trained in child psychology and sexuality, psychologists, clinicians, teachers and jurists working together with examining judges to identify the best means of collecting evidence in a pleasant setting in which children and adolescents will feel at ease with the proceedings.

      Prostitution was not an offence in Cuba. The basic principle was the prevention of children and adolescents to be involved in such act. That was why the delegation was stressing the need for preventive mechanism and/or measures.

      Questions by the Experts on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

      WANDERLINO NOGUEIRA NETO, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, inquired whether the Government intended to amend the national legislation, and adopt measures to ensure that all children under the age of 18, regardless of their situation, was prevented from participating in hostilities.

      What were the current training and awareness-raising programmes concerning the provisions of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict?

      One Expert inquired the minimum age for the registration to the military service. In addition, what was the minimum age for the voluntary and obligatory recruitment?

      Another Expert asked whether students at military schools were trained to handle arms.

      One Expert acknowledged the non-existence of the armed conflict in Cuba. However, the Cuban legislation lacked penalising the recruitment of children into the armed groups. What were the intentions of the State party?

      Did the State party intend to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court?

      Replies by the Delegation

      Recruitment in the military service for men over 18 was compulsory. An exception would continue to be made for those who secured a university place – they could do their military service voluntarily and avoid any delays or interruptions in their studies. The recruitment age during states of emergency and general mobilizations was the same as for the military service.

      People under the age of 18 who joined the Armed Forces voluntarily accounted for under 10 per cent of all recruits. The logic was that it could be helpful for young people to complete the military service required by law immediately after leaving upper secondary school, which should make it easier for them to move on to higher education the following year.

      Cuba had always supported the international criminal jurisdiction regardless of its political loyalty, the delegation said. Unfortunately, because of the lack of representation and transparency, Cuba was not planning to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

      The media played a fundamental role in raising awareness on the rights of children and adolescents. It also fostered the understanding and acceptance of racial, religious and gender diversity. Radio and television programming in Cuba was fully in line with the main objectives of the Information Project on Children?s and Adolescents? Rights.

      The minimum age for entering or enrolling in a military school was 17. The Camilo Cienfuegos military schools were vocational pre-university military academies, operating under the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. Their purpose was to imbue young people with high political and moral values, discipline, appropriate physical and mental skills. The Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces implemented the curricula approved by the Ministry of Education, which were fully in line with those taught in pre-university educational institutions at the national level.

      Follow-up Questions by Experts

      Had the State party implemented the Optional Protocol in judicial settings, an Expert asked.

      Were there any non-State armed groups in the country?

      Question was asked how the State party ensured the birth registration of children.

      One Expert asked whether foreign students coming from Africa to Cuba had received military training.

      Replies by the Delegation

      There were no non-State armed groups in Cuba, and existing legislation set the recruitment age at 18 years or, in exceptional cases, 17 years.

      On the birth registration of children, the delegation stated that more than 99.9 per cent of the population was registered in the system. Every child left the hospital or health centre with a birth certificate.

      The judges were trained and acted according to the Convention as well as the Optional Protocols.

      General mobilisation might arise from exceptional circumstances, the delegation explained. If that happened, certain rights would be restricted, yet minors could not be recruited.

      A delegate noted that there were many foreign students in Cuba. None of them received military training.

      Concluding Remarks

      PETER GURAN, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, thanked the delegation for the fruitful debate. He expressed hope that the Committee?s concluding recommendations would assist the State party in addressing challenges and the legislative reform. He underlined the possibility of potential challenges that the country and its children might face in the near future as a result of current changes in the country.

      WNDERLINO NOGUERIA NETO, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Cuba, echoed the previous statement about the peaceful transition of Cuba and the upcoming challenges.

      MARIA ESTHER REUS GONZALEZ, Minister of Justice, hoped that the delegation?s explanations and clarifications had helped the Committee gain a better understanding and a more complete picture of children?s rights in Cuba. The Government was fully committed to the promotion and protection of children?s rights. Nothing would prevent Cuba from perfecting its socialist system and increasing institutional cooperation.

      BENYAM DAWIT MEYMUR, Chairperson of the Committee, thanked the State party representatives for the high level discussion. He appreciated the commitment of the State party and encouraged it to ratify the Third Optional Protocol. Mr. Meymur said that he looked forward to receiving the upcoming reports, and sent his best wishes to the children of Cuba.


      For use of the information media; not an official record

      – See more at:

  72. Angelo

    Whew! Sooo many words!!

    .All I can say is that Cuba Tourism can cut and paste till kingdom come.

    But the reality is – it’s become a sleazy sex tourism destination and children are being abused and exploited for money. And their parents are very greedy and very corrupt and it is criminal and needs to be exposed.

    They can drone on about ‘The Rights of The Child’ etc. etc. But where the hell are these stony faced beurocrats when lone boys are being checked into the rooms and prostitution is rampant.

    No matter how many words are pasted on to this forum, I can tell you that prostitution is rampant in Cuba, from Havana to Holguin to Santiago and Varadero men and women are selling their bodies to foreigners and it is not the kind of atmosphere most tourists want to be in.

    I work in tourism in Canada and I have seen the numbers decline over the years to half of what they were in the 90’s.

    Canadians are seeking new destinations where they are not going to be scammed, hustled or conned.

    Cuba is seen as a ‘Sex Tourism’ destination and no amount of fancy words such as ‘Sustainable’ or ‘Responsible’ Tourism will change that fact.

    That is the truth!.

    • I agree with you – words aren’t the answer: ACTION is, which is why Im providing info and contacts and feedback to those who want to do something about it. And as an aside: Cubans are complaining about CANADIAN tourists – the drunken bachelor parties, the sex tourists, the bad tippers. Now that they have a taste of US tourism, they definitely have more perspective,

      Also, one of the basic tenets of responsible tourism is to respect the laws of the country in which you’re traveling. The Canadians (and others) participating in sex tourism have a responsibility in this two-way street, too.

  73. Angelo

    I completely agree Conner. Responsible tourism is indeed a two way street. I have seen such gross behaviour by fellow Canadians that it makes me ashamed to be Canadian.

    I have seen obese predatory drunken Canadian women in their 40’s who had left their children behind in Canada, flirt with the hotel security, invite them to lunch at a nearby restaurant and on to a party with lots of other drunken Canadians.

    By inviting these guys, including the life guard, they had left the hotel pool abandoned, unattended. The pool was full of children, both Cuban and foreign on one of the busiest weekends of the year. It is shameful and the women are as much to blame as the ineffectual inept manager who does not want to control his staff.

    It’s a free for all in some Cuban hotels, security drink alcohol, the room maid chats up husbands, asks for clothing, toiletries. The front desk staff are cheeky, abandon the desk, making a bee line for the bar when they see a single foreign man. They seem to do as they please. And get away with it. All very unprofessional.

    You are right when you say that Action is required. Corrupt managers on the take, who are at the root core of the problem, who turn a blind eye to exploitation of children and a blind eye to the prostitution rings operating in their hotels , are to blame, and should be fired.

    Resort staff need to be trained in how to treat customers with respect and dignity. Not to hustle them for the shirt off their back. Not to slip their mobile no to the guest’s wife or husband. Cuban resort staff are very unprofessional.

    But yes it can be a two way street, However low wages and the embargo will always be blamed, however there is no excuse for the rampant prostitution which drives decent tourists away, especially families who do not like to vacation in an atmosphere of sleaze, vice and corruption.

    Corrupt police who refuse to investigate unless they are bribed are also part of the problem. Police who turn a blind eye to domestic violence by Cuban men are also to blame for the cesspit that Cuba is sliding into. Domestic violence is never right, should never be condoned and the perpetrators brought to justice. That is not happening right now.

    Until the Cuban Tourism Authority, Government, police and resorts, accept that they have a serious problem nothing will change.

  74. Angelo

    Resort staff in Cuba do as they please, they have a could not care less attitude.

    This has to change. American tourists expect at least some respect when they have paid $hundreds for a vacation. They will not accept or put up with this kiss my ass attitude which you find at Cuban resorts.

    Seeing staff drink alcohol, disappear with drunken predatory female guests leaving a pool full of children is unacceptable, anywhere iin the world. Why should be accepted in Cuba?.

    Cubans have this superiority complex, they seem to think they have a God given right to insult their guests and get away with it. Well tourists are voting with their feet, and I hope some of the ‘Authentica’ Cuban Tourism Authority are reading this.

    The title ‘Authentica’ is actually irionic since Cuba right now is about as ‘Authentic’ as a burger king and leave you with as much a bad tatse.

    A lady was stunned to see a receptionist chat up her husband whenever he called her at a hotel in Jibacoa.each time he called he was cut off, and the receptionist a middle aged woman in her 50’s would try to chat him up.

    When the woman complained to the manager, a little Spanish looking man (why are all hotel managers in Cuba small and white?). She was told:

    ‘Lady your husband needs to control you’!

    Can you believe that a hotel manager would give this response to a woman in this day and age.

    All I can say is that women’s rights in Cuba are in the dark ages. On a par with Saudi Arabia.

    Is it any wonder tourists are voting with their feet?

    And you cannot say there are so many Americans expected. Americans would not put up with or accept this crap.

    • I can see this is an issue you care a lot about. I urge you to take some action besides commenting on blogs. I do not agree with you on all points (especially the wild assertion that women’s rights in Cuba are on par with Saudia Arabia!) and tourists numbers ARE up, up, up and while I don’t think this trend will continue (for a variety of reasons) growing at such a pace, this is what the data show currently. Cuba is crawling with people from the US – something which I have direct experience with daily. Will most of them repeat a trip to Cuba? probably not, but they’re coming in droves now.

  75. Angelo

    Conner it’s only natural that Americans will arrive in droves. They have a fascination with the country, the last bastion of Communism in the Caribbean.

    Socialismo in the sun with lots of sunshine sea salsa and rum. What could be more exotic or or romantic an image to conjure up.

    Then they book into a hotel such as the Nacional or Inglaterra, Stroll along the malecon, and are approached by jiniteras, hookers and hustlers and the reality sets in that it’s not such plain sailing as they thought when they saw that Buena Vista movie with it’s pink Cadillacs, great music against a stunning backdrop.

    No doubt they will run into the tout with the cheesy grin who will ‘guide/’ them to ‘the best paladar in Havana’ only to find they’ve been well and truly fleeced when they get the bill and the tout has managed to get a cut and managed to eat his way round the menu.

    They might encounter a pushy receptionist slipping the husband or wife her mobile no. They will be asked for the shirt of their back by the room maid. Taste the bland all day buffet and cheap spirits in the all inclusive, and maybe decide against a return visit.

    That is the reality Conner and I do honestly believe that Cuba Tourism needs to get it’s act in order, take control over the way the hotels are run, Check out the day to day reality, see what is really going on and stop spreading the unachievable myth, because until they address some serious issues it is just that, a myth.

    • What you describe is precisely why I founded Cuba Libro – a cool, comfortable space for visitors and regular ole Cubans to meet, talk, build friendships and break down myths.

      Speaking of myths – you’re starting to make aggressive accusations – “Check out the daily reality” (which Ive lived for close to 14 years) and “stop spreading unachievable myth”. EVERYTHING Ive ever written about Cuba talks about the good, the bad and the ugly and on the topic about which you have commented several times over fewer days: I am working to do something about it. Hardly crossing my arms and calling Cuba a socialist paradise full of rum, salsa and the rest of that claptrap.

  76. Angelo

    You are right, at least you are providing a platform for those people who care about Cuba to voice their honest concerns about the country, precisely because they care about Cuba and it’s people and every day For that you should be applauded.

    Sweeping the under the carpet is not the way to go. Cuba Tourism Ignoring the panels/forums set up to address responsible tourism (which you mentioned in your thread on responsible tourism) is not helping the country.

    Neither is the Tourist Board spinning the myth, the fantasy of the sun salsa and rum, right, when they know and we know the reality is very different.

    You talk about me ‘making wild assertions’.

    I can assure you that everything I have written on here is true, every single word. And you who have lived there for 14 years are aware that what I write is true, since you are living there and know what I am relating to.

    Responsible Tourism is, as I have said before a two way street and if the Cuban Government continue to hide their head in the sand and do nothing to change how their country is being managed in terms of tourism it will continue to slide into the cesspit of sleaze and corruption.

    Cuba’s image is also not helped by the many thousands of cases of marriage fraud and scams, which we read about each year. Foreigners who have lost many $thousands in arranging visas, flights etc to assist their partner’s exit from Cuba only to have her or him do a vanishing act as soon as they set foot on a foreign shore.

    You can lecture all you like about tourist’s responsibilities, their ‘do’s and dont’s. But from what I have seen over the years most tourist are ‘responsible’ it is just the few who are irresponsible and corrupt as the few hotel managers who are corrupt and on the take and who do enormous damage to their country’s image by allowing prostitution to flourish and by allowing the exploitation of minors.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the country cannot pretend to be one thing while hiding the reality of what is really going on.

    So long as they keep ignoring the problems, keep polishing the smut, and spinning the false image.

    So long as the sleaze and corruption (which by the way always begins at the top) stops, then the everyday sleaze and corruption will not go away and will continue to have an overall effect on their tourism.

  77. Pingback: Want to Help Cuba? Travel Responsibly | Here is Havana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s