Cubans Without Masks Are Fined, Tourists Are Not

Tourists walking without masks through Old Havana this Monday, December 11, 2021. Photo: 14ymedio

By Natalia López Moya (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – “To the Cubans for having the wrong face mask on, the full weight of the law, but foreign tourists who walk and walk through the streets without a mask are invisible,” complains Pedro, a resident of Old Havana who sees the double standards as evidence that the Cuban Government always acts at its convenience.

The resident, who lives a few yards from the Plaza de Armas, witnessed the arbitrariness of the authorities this Monday, when a group of foreigners walked without masks towards the popular site of the Capitol building and at the same time, two yards from the scene, four inspectors fined a young man at the door of his house.

“They fined a young man who was at the door of his house with his mask on his chin because he had just finished smoking,” says Pedro. “The boy even showed the inspectors the smoking cigarette at his feet that he had just thrown away and it was not enough proof: he ended up fined.”

Since the reopening of the country to tourism, on November 15, the number of foreign visitors who stroll through Cuban streets has increased. But tourists do not seem to be aware of local regulations to avoid getting sick from covid-19 and nor do the authorities remind them.

In the squares, the taxis from the airport, the waiting rooms of the air terminals and the lines in front of a restaurant, most of the tourists are seen without a mask, nor do they respect the distance of a four-and-a-half feet between people, advisable to minimize the spread of the virus.

“Now there are three ways to know who is a foreigner: by the currency with which they pay; because they are always looking up instead of watching for the holes in the sidewalks; and because they walk bare-faced on the streets,” joked a barber this Tuesday on Reina de La Habana Avenue.

“They will have hard currency and they will be vaccinated, but I do not serve anyone who enters here without a facemask,” he declared.

In establishments that provide private services, the inspectors live fining anyone who wears the mask improperly. This Tuesday, Jhony went to get a haircut at a barber shop in Centro Habana and was able to see how two young people who were waiting in line were fined for wearing the mask on their chin.

“One of the fined boys complained to the inspectors that tourists walk the streets without a mask,” says Jhony. “The reaction of one of the inspectors was drastic: ‘Oh no, what I was going to give you was a fine of 200 pesos to go easy on you, but now you’re leaving with 2,000’.”

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

11 thoughts on “Cubans Without Masks Are Fined, Tourists Are Not

  • Yoani Sanchez is not fabulously rich that’s just an attempt by the crooked unelected regime and their buddy Nick to discredit her.
    Granma has less than zero credibility it’s just a mouth piece for a nasty dictatorship.

  • I am curious about why Castro sycophants always seem to attack Yoani Sanchez on the basis of her perceived financial status. First of all, how does anyone know how well off she really is? She has indeed won many international writing awards that come with monetary benefits but would these awards make her wealthy? Her blog is internationally-acclaimed but again is this why they assume that she is rich? If she were indeed poor, would her blog be more credible? Finally, whatever her financial profile may be, we can be assured that the Castro clan, top to bottom, are individually measurably richer. If wealth makes Yoani bad, what does it do to Tony Castro, Raul’s youngest? I have no idea how much money Yoani has. I do know that she lives in a very modest home in Havana and travels infrequently in economy class and generally stays in the homes of friends abroad. The Castros travel first class, drive Ferraris, and stay in 5-star resort hotels. Castro bootlickers never criticize them. What gives here?

  • Nick I think its great that two foreigners came forth about being fined for not wearing a mask. Some Cubans see that overall situation different. Let’s hope the tourists are held to the same rigourous control as the Cubans who are also mostly vaccinated.

  • Circles,
    Neither Granma nor 14 y Medio tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth your honour so help me God.
    They tell truths or versions of truths that are alternative to each other. They are opposing propaganda merchants.
    I commend you for finally nailing your true colours to the mast and coming out and stating unequivocally which you think is truth and which you think is lies.
    I think it is admirable that you have now officially stated what the editorial stance is.
    I don’t have a problem with Her Ladyship Yoani. In fact I admire her. She’s made a whole bunch of dollar and would appear to be made for life. And good luck to her. Her path hasn’t been an easy one.
    But her truth ain’t any more of a 100% truth than that which is written in Granma. This would seem to be blatantly evidenced in this instance by the comments from the two non-Cubans who were also fined. Unless you think they are lying?

  • Curt, In your comment on the post, I just noticed we finally agree that Granma is a pack of lies (you actually say its “a wrong”). That’s progress! We don’t agree on 14ymedio and if you want to spread others rumors about Yoani Sanchez, who I’m guessing you don’t know at all, that’s your right, although a slanderous one. Maybe you also want to enlighten fellow readers about the many millions of the Cuban people’s assets in the hands of the Castro family and the life of luxury their families and the top brass lead? There are many first hand testimonies from family members and former employees. I haven’t seen such about Yoani, just State Security and other government commentators’ slurs.

  • Maybe the reason why Cubans and not tourists are fined is that tourists are required to be vaccinated before entering the country. Nick, I totally agree with you that 14 y Media is very biased and incapable of showing any objectivity. The founder, Yoani Sanchez has become a very wealthy woman as a result of the blog. As far as it being a mirror to Granma, 2 wrongs don’t make it right.

  • Hats off to the reporters of 14ymedio and their efforts in Cuba to bring news and features that the State/Communist Party media headed by Granma are unwilling and unable to cover. Yes if the flip side to lies is truth, 14ymedio does a great service. Of course their website is blocked from normal visiting in Cuba by the government which prefers people only read and listen to its monologue. People do read it on VPNs to skirt the censorship. Unfortunately the government believes the Cuban population is not capable of reading other reports and opinions and drawing their own conclusions. You are lucky that isn’t the case in the UK.

  • Many articles on 14 y Medio are reproduced in Havana Times. I wouldn’t suggest that this is a bad thing.
    But readers should be aware that 14 y Medio is concerned entirely with putting across one side of the story. It’s like the mirror to Granma. The opposite agenda but with a similar lack of objectivity.
    In this instance it seems clear that the story presented is refuted by two comments that have been made.

  • Two people from ont also got fines on the street in cuba. Must also wear masks in ont Canada and have a least 2 vaccine shots

  • this article is not true, I was fined $80 dollars in Baracoa ,Guantanamo, yes im a tourist from England.

  • La justicia Revolucionaria. That is the reason so many people who support the Cuban dictatorship look the other way in front of injustices of the Cuban regime. As long as they feel special they don’t care about the suffering of Cubans.

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