Cuba’s Wild Tales

Irina Pino

Homes in the El Fanguito barrio of Havana. Photo: Kaloain/

HAVANA TIMES — In 2014, the Argentinean film Wild Tales won several awards at the Havana Film Festival. The movie is an oddly entertaining experience for spectators, who see the strings of violence move characters and are left with only two alternatives: to burst out laughing or feel aversion towards these.

Everywhere, we are either told of or are direct witnesses to human beings who hurt others while acting in their own interests. Cuba has its own “wild tales.”

Oscar was conned by someone who claimed to be an employee of the US Embassy in Havana (formerly the US Interests Section). This happened to many people, and the incident was even dramatized in an episode of Cuba’s police show Tras la huella (“Chasing Clues”).

The person had been recommended by a friend of Oscar’s at yoga class. They met with her three or four times in her apartment, where they gave the woman the required documents. She seemed to be a professional who knew her job well. At the end of the process, she asked for two thousand CUC to process the family’s application to immigrate to the United States. Two months later, they went to the apartment and found no one was living there. No one in the neighborhood knew the woman. She had ran off with the money, scamming them.

Many Cuban women have been seduced by foreigners who have promised them marriage, and their experiences reveal the dangers they are exposed to. Norys, 23, spent her days chatting over the Internet. This way, she met Hans, an attractive, 42-year-old German man. They wrote one another for several months, until he showed up in Cuba one day and they began to go out. He kindly looked after her and gave her money for her expenses.

Then, he asked to meet her mother and grandmother to ask for her hand in marriage. They got married and she joined him in Berlin. The first months there, they went out places and he bought her clothes, took her to restaurants and nice places. Then, he told her she had to work for him to pay him back what he’d spent, that he was going to introduce her to some friends of his so she’d sleep with them.

The girl, of course, had to give him all the money she made. She felt sad and depressed because she didn’t speak German, only a bit of English. She couldn’t trust anyone either. In the midst of this tragic situation, one of her husband’s friends took pity on her and decided to help her, paying for her return ticket. She had to have an abortion in Cuba, not knowing who had left her pregnant.

Yuneski, a young man from the neighborhood of El Fanguito was attacked during a party, the kind that was thrown out on the street till recently. They were drinking and listening to reggaeton music with some friends when a group of teenagers began to look at him aggressively. Then, one of them approached him and stabbed him near the intestine. Yuneski pulled out the pocket knife, went straight up to his aggressor and stabbed the same knife into his lung. Incredibly, the two of them survived the ordeal. All of this happened over a stupid bet.

In modern societies, people become familiarized with these types of incidents coldly, as though they were normal things. Violence, deceit and aggression encourage feelings that denigrate the spirit. It’s been demonstrated that wild animals only kill for survival purposes, while human beings are moved by egotism and lack of morals, ethics and (most importantly) love for others.