Did you know that by dancing with Cuban in a local bar you can get him into trouble or jail…?
Yep, it’s call asedio al turismo (tourist harassment) and despite the fact it does not exist in the Penal Code in Cuba, it’s taken very seriously. Too seriously I would say.
Things have changed in Cuba in the last years. When I travelled to Cuba for the first time the dancefloors would be full of people just having fun. Now the bars are full of people and … police officers watching your every step and making sure you won’t get harassed. I always thought harassment takes place when someone does something you don’t want. But Cuban police seems to know better.
Cubans are often stopped when they just walking down the street with foreigner girls (it also applies to girls; I know a Cuban girl who always has her marriage certificate in the wallet because she is pulled by police almost every day). Or taken to the police station and get fined. How can you fine people for talking to foreigners? Only Cubans know. But that’s the reality.
If you get fined few times you can even go to jail for harassing foreigners. It doesn’t matter all you did was talking to them or just dancing.
I haven’t noticed it for the first few days of our last trip. And then one day in the club, when everybody was just sitting I asked why nobody was dancing. They all looked at me and said ” Magda, you’re crazy, don’t you see the place is full of police?” And then I turned around and saw 4 or 5 of them staring at all of us and waiting.
I always wondered when will they stop me and Fidel randomly on the street but here is another sad truth…usually the police is after the black or mullato guys. Not always. Our friends were obliged to show their ID’s because yuma (me) was at the table. But yes, unfortuntely even if Cuba seems to be a place with no rasism, black people have the fame of looking for yuma to get out.
Before when Wet feet, dry feet law was on Cubans were leaving the island illegally. Now that American doors are closed and to get a visa to US they need to go to Colombia to apply for it (they need another visa for Colombia! ) Cubans are leaving legally with their passports stamped. They are leaving with their partners. Is Cuban police trying to stop them by not letting them even talk to foreigners? We will never know. Officially they are protecting us from being ripped off. But are they really?
The truth is that from all the Cubans I know here in Europe, 99,9% left the island married or engaged. Even more people are in the process of doing so. Maybe all the asedio al turismo thing was invented to keep Cubans in Cuba.
Maybe it’s different in other places but Viñales is now full of cameras and people are afraid. Cameras are in the music places or in front of them, so even if the police is not watching you directly they can apper any time and lock you dance partner.
Are there a lot of Cubans who wait for the girl to take them out of Cuba? Yes.
Is it fair that actual couples have to expalin why they’re holding their hands? Hell no.