Answer: Although things get lost, including passports, no matter how careful one is, there are some precautions that can be taken to minimize the possibility of loss or theft.
First, bring a photocopy of your passport when you come to Cuba. Although you can make photocopies in Cuba, finding photocopiers that are working sometimes takes time plus costs at least CUC 0.25 per page.
Second, when you’re in Cuba and out and about, carrying a photocopy of your passport is sufficient for identification purposes. You’ll only need to show your actual passport when you’re using travellers’ cheques, drawing out cash using a credit card, renting a car, making flight reservations, checking into a hotel or homestay, or paying for something with a CUC 50 or CUC 100 note. You must also carry your passport when travelling from one province to another.
While carrying the photocopy, keep your passport and other important documents in your hotel safe or in a locked suitcase.
However, even with the best of precautions, passports do get lost whether through misplacing them or theft “on the street”. In the event of theft, it is recommended that you file a police report as well as immediately contacting your embassy, as it is only your embassy that can issue a new passport and give you the assistance you need.
In some cases, visitors to Cuba – and especially those arriving as part of a group program – contact their embassy soon after arrival and file a copy or the number of their passport(s). This often facilitates and speeds up replacement in the event of passport loss.
Australia and New Zealand do not have diplomatic or consular representatives in Cuba. Instead, these countries are represented by the Canadian and British embassies respectively, which provide the link with the Australian and New Zealand embassies in Mexico which provide consular assistance to their nationals in Cuba.
The USA is officially represented by the US Interests Section in Havana, which provides consular services to their nationals be they tourists or residents.
Note: Also see the information under the question: Anything I should be sure to carry when out and about?