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What Is Real in Cuba?

by Stephanie

I've met some lovely people on my travels around Cuba, some genuine some hustlers. You can always tell when they approach you with a 'Where You From My Fren". If you ever hear those words run away as fast as you can.

I met what seemed like a genuine guy a year ago. From a small town east of Trinidad. I spotted him first not the other way round. We met up every night for a week and have been emailing each other ever since.
Lately he seemed impatient, and kept asking me to return in August, which is when fares are at their highest. I put my foot down and said no. He kept on saying we could go on excursions together, cook together etc. I then asked him about his living situation. He said he lives with his single parent mother, who's divorced from his father. She is a nurse.

He is unemployed, having recently been made redundant from a factory. So I could see why he had so much time on his hands. He was unemployed.

I looked up fares but they were double what I would pay in the off season. So I was firm and not coerced into booking a flight. I then wrote and told him I was the kind of woman who would never maintain a man or his family. I was in no way referring to him, but was thinking about an elderly woman I'd met during my visit. She was actually maintaining a guy and his family. And I remember thinking 'What An Idiot".

Clearly she was being used.
I also told him I did not believe in marriage and would not be marrying him or anyone else.
I was shocked by his angry reply. He accused me of 'discriminating against all Cubans'. This clearly is not the case. He said I 'should not judge all Cubans as the same'.

I wrote back and asked him to calm down that I was not referring to him but just telling him the kind of woman I was. That many silly older women, usually Canadian fly to Cuba and fall for the B.S. and send money and cellphones etc.

I told him that Love Does Not Have A Price Tag. Not that I have ever spent on him. But I merely wanted to spell out to him the aspects of Cuba that I disliked. I referred to the perros who would not get out of bed to work for 15CUC a month, they'd prefer to be maintained by a Yuma.
Again I was not referring to him but told him this is merely how I felt about the gameplaying that goes on all over Cuba.
That not all Yumas were easy. Not all Yumas were walking ATM's. Certainly this Yuma is not.

I do hope I have not upset him. But if goes all ballistic I feel it is his problem. I have emailed him again to spell out that I was not referring to him. Just wanted him to know my feelings about the kind of B.S. that is played out in every town in Cuba every day, and that I was not going to be mug to be part of that B.S.

Now he could be genuine. He could have misunderstood me.
Time will tell. Either way if he does not get back to me I will not have lost anything.

Comments by Vic Havana-guide.com

Yes, it's difficult to know what's real in Cuba.
Do not believe the stories about unemployment. When he speaks to his CDR (Communist Party Member)
he will get another job. The problem is most Cubans prefer not to work for a salary of 20 cuc.
He can earn more on the streets. You will not meet the genuine Cubans in the tourist areas of Old Havana or the all-in's of Varadero. The honest genuine Cubans do not seek contact with the tourists, most of them are proud that can offer you a coffee in their house instead of asking for money.

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Sep 22, 2010
Lengths Jiniteros Will Go Lure A Yuma To Get Out.
by: Kelly - Nova Scotia

You see them on Facebook and on Couch Surfing when most Cuban do not have access to the net.

One particular hustler - Rodolfo has managed to get a German with a face like Miss Piggy from the Muppets who operate his page on Couch surfing.

'He surfed Me For Two Weeks' she states as an endorsement on his page (operated by her)

Clearly besotted and expecting some poor woman to be duped into flying him out of Cuba so she can 'Surf him' in Hessen.

But jinitero supremo, Rodolfo fails to reveal in his CS profile that he already has a wife novia and daughter in Havana.

What he also fails to tell Couch Surfers lured by Kxxxx, is that his home is over an hour outside of Havana in the suburbs. Also he lives them back by 10pm!. So chances of seeing Havana by night are limited and interrupted by police who arrest him.

So C.S. backpackers have to fork out 30 cuc to get there.

He is continually arrested when he 'guides' them round Havana. It would be far cheaper for them to book into a casa for 20 cuc.

But Rodolfo's cheesy grin beams out from his C.S. page inviting to host naive Couch Surfers to his home, in the hope he can dupe onoe of them to fly him to Canada, Europe or anywhere out of Cuba.

Meanwhile Ms Piggy lives in hope in Hessen.

You could'nt make it up, but it's the bitter truth of the lengths Cuban con men will go to to play the Yuma.

Jul 24, 2010
Time Will Tell
by: Stephanie

To Friends 2, only time will tell if it will go anywhere. I am not prepared to jump on a plane on a whim or respond to his demands.

In January I availed of a cheap flight and wrote to him, did not hear back so booked into a cheap all inclusive and had a wonderful time, man free. Just chilling, reading, dancing swimming.

He was very annnoyed and put the lack of response down to it being the holiday season and no access to the net.

I have very honest with him, laid my cards on the table. Told him I would never contemplate brining him here or marrying him I feel honesty is the best policy, what have we got to loose, if they don't reply then there was nothing to lose in the first place.

I have never been motivated by 'nuts' or looks. He is cute but ultimately we share a lot in common and most of our time was spent chatting on a bench drinking Cuba Libres getting to know each other and emailing each other for a year and a half.

Time will tell.

Jul 21, 2010
You're So Right!
by: Stephanie

Thank you for your words of wisdom Friends2.

Women have to be cautious.

Of course we all would like to have love in our lives, but not at any price, so we have to learn to read between the lines.

After 15 months of the same formulaic 'Te Quero Mucho, Te Estranjar' emails I wanted to dig deeper, have a reality check, so decided to ask him about his real life situaton.

Then in dawned on me the real reason he kept pressuring me to return in July was because he had lots of time on his hands and no doubt the mother would prefer to offload the man who needs to be fed on to an unsuspecting Yuma.

I had my suspicion that she could be behind the emails through her work, and has me set in her sight as a possible Yuma to export him to a better life.

Dream On Momma!!.

I was not prepared for the verbal backlash in reply to my email when I spelt it out I was not the kind of woman who would ever maintain a man, any man. He hit me with the 'Discrimination' card.

I wrote back to say that I'm the last person to 'discriminate' and his comment on how he did 'Not Want My Money' was laughable, since I have no money.

All my money goes of repaying a University loan and travel when I can afford it.

No the ball is in his court. As I said in my last email I have spelt out the truth, if he does not respond I will know where's he coming from and will have lost nothing.

Jul 20, 2010
Good head on your shoulders.
by: Friends 2

Ah Stephanie, your a clever girl, you have told him in your own words that you are no fool, ok, you said you were talking about this older woman, but deep down you were letting have it lol, you were telling him that you are wise to the scams, jinteros, cons whatever.
Of course he got indignant, how dare you associate him with the other jinteros, lol but at least he knows that you are wise to the scams, so,its up to him to prove you wrong and show you he is a 'good un'.

Just play by it ear, listen, nod, make the right noises, cause if he is a 'wrong un' he will slip up, as the mask always slips.

Just a word of caution though, his mum is a nurse, which means she has access to a computer, and she might be writing his emails for him.

In one way I can see thier point, why get out of bed for 15 pesos a month, when you can get hold of a yuma, but in the UK its the same, not in the grabbing hold of a yuma sense, but in the fact they would rather claim benefits than do a hards day work, even though the wages in the UK are much higher, they get thier rent paid, and X amount money to live on, so why should they work?, I suppose the Cubans are no different to thier western counterparts.

The problem I have with them, not so much me but my friends, ( read my posts) is that they give them the BS, and take the pi55, mess with your head and heart.

But you come across as level headed, and am sure that you wont let anyone take you for a fool, and I do hope that he is genuine, as there is bound to be some genuine Cuban men around,(surely) ;-)

Jul 19, 2010
I agree.
by: Stephanie

You're rght Vic. There is no excuse to be unemployed in Cuba. I remember seeing signs in Spanish which read.."I'm Working! How About You?".

That sign was signficant of how many younger men prefer not to work for 15CUC a month. They all live with their divorced mothers who most likely wants to be rid of them, and is tired of mantaning a grown man.

Once when I rang his mother answered the phone. the last person I wanted to speak to. He had a 'febre' or fever apparently. I slammed the phone down. The phone system is the bggest rip off in Cuba and charges you when when it's ringing the no.

I do not think he's a 'player'. We met in a small untouristy town. Not at an all inclusive hotel in Varadero or Guardalavaca. He lives miles from those resorts of excess and fakery. I was travelling around by Camione and bus and met hm in a small town. So he's not a hustler like the sharks who work the yumas at the all inclusives.

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