Havana Airport Robbery

Havana’s Jose Marti Airport. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES – During his last trip to Cuba in December, 2018, Peter B Kappelmann, a retired senior citizen who has been a frequent visitor to Cuba since 2007, was robbed big-time at Terminal 3 of the Jose Marti International Airport.

The following is his recount of what happened:

Statement of facts 

On Sunday, December 16, 2018, I was to depart from Havana international airport – Terminal 3.

Around 3:00 pm my wheelchair attendant wheeled me through immigration and then onto the security screening section. He bypassed all waiting lines and deposited me in weelchair to the left side of the screening hall.

There, all items where deposited into 2 trays which included all my personal documents and all contents from my pockets – Passport plus 3 white envelopes containing cash and wallet inside the pockets on my special traveling shirt.

The attendant then proceeded to the far-right screening machine approximately 30 meters away – Bypassing all other lines of passengers. After around 10 minutes he returned to wheel me around to the other side where all items were waiting while sitting in the wheelchair.

I redressed in a hasty manner as many passengers where pushing alongside – I was wheeled to my gate and after giving him a tip he left.

After a few minutes I had to precede to the toilet and then realized that the 3 envelopes with a total of 3,400 Euros was missing.

I proceeded as fast as was possible on my damage knee to the security screening office. The officer was totally DISINTERESED and NEGATIVE and questioned me whether this had really happened!!!!!!

For one hour I sat in front of the office, questioning three different security officers who all just shrugged their shoulders and walked away. One said that nothing showed up on the video. They did not show it to me.

The person pointed to the other side of the hall to the police office. I went over and reported everything over again. I was left standing in the door of the small office until I had to sit down around the corner.

Again, nothing happened and I was told repeatedly to wait. After a 1/2 hour I had to leave to not to miss my international flight.


NO screening was shown to me.

NO report was taken or written up.

NO questioning or interrogation of the wheelchair atendant was made.


There is an organized culture at the Havana airport security screening of stealing from departing international travelers knowing that we have to board flights out of Cuba.


Peter B. Kappelmann in Havana.

Kappelmann told us: “I am well acquainted with Cuban life as I lived in Havana, along the Malecon seawall drive all of 2016. I have made many acquaintances and have an English-speaking secretary there who assists me on all my visits.

I have purchased Cuban art which forms the basis of my art collection and despite what happened I intend to return to Havana at least two times this year.

27 thoughts on “Havana Airport Robbery

  • April 1, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I went to Cuba with bike and some medicine for a rural clinic. Had written permission before we left Canada. The local police tried to keep the bike for safe keeping when I was there told to take bike back to Canada but when I got to airport to leave would not let my bike back on the plane. I complained about the police about that and the day the local police took $50 CD dollars from me for no good reason. I wrote 3 letters and went back to the Cuban embassy in Toronto 4 times over the next year and half. Nobody had a explaintion. They just said its Cuba.

  • March 3, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    I want to second what Sandra said. Why carry cash in envelopes and place them in full sight? You wouldn’t do that anywhere else, so why expect it to be safer in Cuba? I’ve loved my recent visits there. Not only have I had nothing stolen, but on both occasions I have been given several gifts by Cubans — in spite of the fact that they have so little. Having said that, taking advantage of tourists at the airport is inexcusable.

  • March 2, 2019 at 1:15 am

    There are billions of working poor people around the world who don’t even get the “rations” Cuban people get but they don’t steal from others. Who says that being poor, gives you the right to steal from others?
    I love Cuba, my daughter lived and study there and I lived with a Cuban family for a month, I understand the fact that they have very little, but they have something, in other countries people get nothing from the government. Very sad to read some Cubans steep so low.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *