The Prado promenade in Old Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — Emma Scopes has asked to share her experience of being robbed in Cuba with HT readers. The potentially dangerous event and loss of personal belongings had a happy ending.

“I traveled to Cuba in December 2013 as part an organized group touring the island for 2 weeks. Unfortunately during my first day in Havana (after having flown into Cuba the day before), I had my hand bag snatched while walking down the Prado promenade in Old Havana.

“Despite being dragged to the ground and holding on for dear life for what felt like forever but was probably only a matter of seconds, the man managed to run off with my bag. However, I don’t look on this event unfavorably – quite the reverse in fact for what happened next.

“At least two men who had seen it happen ran after the perpetrator. Many local Cubans by this time had gathered around me and my two friends who were with me at the time to show support and check if I was ok.

“After only a few minutes there must have been at least 50 people (all local Cubans) surrounding me, showing concern. One lady even came up to me to give me a hug!

“Fortunately the police were able to catch the man who took my bag and return my possessions. By the time the police returned with the perpetrator in hand cuffs, the crowd gathered seemed ready to lynch the man!

“I could not have asked for more support at this time and truly feel overwhelmed at the love and concern from the local people who witnessed this event. The efficiency of the police was also truly astounding. 

“I’d like to use this forum to reach out to both the police and the local people who helped during my time of need and thank them from the bottom of my heart. The community spirit shown by everyone involved that afternoon was fantastic; I couldn’t have asked for more support, I was totally blown away by it all.

“So a huge ‘thank you’ to the police and to the crowd that formed around me, especially to the people who chased after and caught the man and to the lady who gave me a much needed hug. I think the cheer that went up when the police presented the captured perpetrator to me said it all.”


29 thoughts on “My Experience Being Robbed in Cuba

  • November 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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    but that is the standard cuban slogan added with venceremos.

  • January 27, 2014 at 8:02 am
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    Hmmm thats interesting. On that exact same day – 18th Jan 2014- i had my bag snatched violently by 2 guys, one on a bicycle who took the snatcher away quickly after he got my bag. Both me and my friend who was with me at the time thought afterwards that we had been beung watched and it had been planned at least a short while before it happened. I didnt give in easily, and despite giving chase and crying out loudly for help in Spanish in a street full of people, nobody came to my aid, even after they had got away, to see if i was ok. I had mistakenly fallen into the trap of letting my guard down and believing no one wd dare try to commit a crime against me as a tourist. I found out after the event that bag snatching – and other criminal scams against tourists – are very common but swept under the carpet. I will not be returning to Cuba or recommending it to people because of the dishonestly i experienced, and the attitude towards tourists that we are all millionaires and therefore its ok to try to constantly scam us for all we’re worth.

  • January 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm
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    You make getting mugged in Cuba sound like so much adventure and fun.

  • January 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm
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    Excellent point. If Cuba had money or resources or anything that the world really wanted, the embargo would be meaningless. The Castros medical services export business is booming. No embargo problems there. The embargo does put pressure on Cuba financially as it cuts the Castros off from debt-financing and banking services around the world. The Castros have proven to be among the world’s worst credit risks so even this embargo obstacle is debatable. As far as being plunged into poverty, the Castros already did that so no risk of it getting worse.

  • January 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm
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    To me it looks like a fake robbery. Why would the guy risk being jailed or lynched knowing the presence of the police on the promenade? Probably the cuffs were taken off around the corner and he got some pesos for his performance. Same for the caring and hugging bystanders. It’s to make a good impression on tourists!

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