Photo: tumejormovil.com

By Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES – Boredom comes when isolation due to COVID-19 imposes. Young people home-cell phone-entertained themselves if they can pay for the mobile data plan and communicate with their friends, but when megabytes run out they feel overwhelmed and madly bored.

A 33-year-old neighbor of ours, recently unemployed because the cafe where he works is closed, came up with a way to get easy money by creating a fake Facebook profile. Now his name is Samantha, as one of the Sex and The City series’ fictional characters. Samantha is the promiscuous woman not worried about having a serious relationship, who seeks out her sexual satisfaction, no matter where it comes from.

Yosbel is now Samantha; with the corresponding sexy young female profile photo. She has gained some followers with whom she holds hot conversations. These include short erotic nude pose videos sent by Whatsapp, in which she performs more daring practices like masturbation.

Where did he obrtain those videos from? The answer is quite simple. They were from a stock of highly treasured materials sent to him by girlfriends from other Cuban provinces.

Yosbel shook off the dust off these memories and gives them a more “productive” use. By doing so, he has managed to get his cell phone credit topped up and money sent to him by the Western Union. 

He is in his element; yet, once one of these men wanted to talk directly and listen to Samantha’s pleasant female voice. A cousin of his accepted to deceive and fool the guy with lies and trifles. Now he is content, his cell phone balance never reaches zero and, in case of emergency, he sells mobile phone credit for cash.

Buying and selling cell phones, another alternative

Another young man from my neighborhood buys second-hand cell phones advertised in Revolico.com, where anything and everything is for sale. During the pandemic the lack of supplies coming from abroad has affected the market. So, he searches ads, buys, waits a reasonable time and, when the previous seller removes the ad, he posts it with his name.

A few days ago he told my son that he was nearly to be hit by a buyer. A week after selling this client a 15-day-warranty cell phone, the guy comes back telling him to exchange it or give him back the money, more than 700 CUC (= to USD).

Luckily, the problem was solved.Together they took the cell phone to two places where these devices are repaired. The specialists told the buyer the phone didn’t work due to a bump or drop, or perhaps moisture, and not from a manufacturing default. So the guy dropped his demand of the seller and decided to have it repaired.

I suppose such things come with the job, for those who seek alternatives to get money in these times of pandemic and other demons.

Read more diary posts on Havana Times.


Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

3 thoughts on “Cell Phone Top-Up and Easy Money in Cuba

  • That’s an excellent write-up Irina, thanks for sharing.

    We (at Ding) have been working hard to connect more Cubans and improve the mobile infrastructure nationwide, both for locals and those overseas who send recharges (‘recargas’) home every month to stay in touch with loved ones.

    I’d love to work with you on a piece covering some of the work we’re invested in within the local Cuban communities if you’re interested?

    Keep up the great work!

  • So who benefits financially from the use of cell-phones in Cuba?

    ETECSA !

    Who owns 27% of ETECSA ?

    RAFIN SA !

    RAFIN SA was named after the owners – RA(ul) and FI(del) Castro who purchased the shareholding from Italy, for a mere US$706 million.

  • Cubans are well-known “hustlers”. The failed Castro economy has produced generations of Cubans who live day to day “resolving”. Yes, poverty, food insecurity and homelessness is everywhere in the world. The difference in Cuba is that Cuban doctors, lawyers and engineers are just as likely to be forced to hustle as Cuban plumbers. In fact, being a bartender in a tourist hotel is one of the highest paying jobs in Cuba. In particular, the sex industry, including cyber-sex, as profiled in this post, remains alive and well in Cuba. Again, the difference in Cuba is who is doing it.

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