DATING CUBAN MEN – Watch Out For The Jineteros!

Dating Cuban men: whether things work out with your cubano or not, one thing for sure is that it will certainly make for a memorable experience! The ride will be full of hurdles, adventure, frustration at times, and a whole load of passion! Here’s all you need to know about dating or even marrying Cuban men!

Now I’m guessing you came across this page as you’ve probably just come back from Cuba and whilst you were there you met a hot Cuban guy. Things got steamy pretty quickly and you’re wondering what to do next. Dating a Cuban man is different to dating a man from another country for several reasons. Cuba is a unique country and so it poses several challenges and complications if you decide to date or marry a Cuban man. Let’s take a look at them below, but first let’s look at WHY Cubans often date foreigners. The reasons behind this are crucial for you to understand.

Why do Cubans date foreigners?

To put it simply: they want a better life.

As I’m sure you’re aware, Cuba has a bad economy and there are very few opportunities for Cubans. It is also a communist country, therefore Cubans earn a very low salary – on average $25USD per month. Yes even a doctor in Cuba will earn a low wage like this.

Because of these difficulties many Cubans are desperate to leave the country in the hopes of having a brighter future. Whilst Cubans are very lively and happy people, the life is hard and for pretty much every Cuban it is their dream to leave Cuba in search of a better life. They talk about it often and it sort of brings them together as they all share this common dream.

Cubans will look for ways to leave the country such as by marrying a foreigner and therefore gaining Permanent Residency in another country. Or if this is not possible for them, they will at least look for ways to make their life in Cuba better by making extra money on the side (usually illegally) through tourists.

Jineteros

The word jinetero is used in Cuba to describe someone who hustles and makes money (often illegally) through tourists. They can advise tourists and guide them on which hotels and restaurants to go to and then get a commission from there, but many of them also hustle all day long on the streets or in the clubs at night trying to find a tourist that will fall for them and enter into a relationship with them. This is all in the hopes that in the long run the tourist will be able to provide financially for them.

The jineteros can often be spotted by their giant gold chains (and sometimes gold teeth!). They are very charming and friendly and will approach you. Whilst it’s not always wise to get involved romantically with a jinetero, you certainly shouldn’t ignore them as they are not bad people! Jineteros are not criminals, they are just trying to better their life and well – they are everywhere in Cuba so you can’t avoid them if you tried! They are also very fun people, so be polite and engage in conversation if you feel comfortable. If you can speak some Spanish you can have a great time chatting and they most likely will change their attitude towards you and respect you more for it.

Do you need to be wary of falling in love with or marrying a Cuban?

Sadly some Cubans will forge an entire relationship and pretend to be in love with a foreigner purely for their money or passport. Some Cubans will marry a foreigner so that they can be eligible to leave the country and apply for citizenship elsewhere. Others are actually married to a Cuban woman and so will want to have a long-distance boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with a foreigner in the hope that they can send money to them in Cuba and support them financially. Of course the tourist will have no idea the Cuban man is married and that they are infact supporting his wife and most likely children too! And more often than not, the whole family (wife, parents everyone) knows and is more than happy to go along with it because of the money.

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I am certainly not saying this to put you off dating a Cuban. There are so many amazing and genuine Cubans out there. And if you feel like yours is the real deal and have a good feeling about it, then go for it. But equally there are some who will feed you false promises and try to fool you in order to do you over and take advantage. Read this article about this Canadian woman who married a Cuban for example. She has lost all her life savings as she is still financially responsible for him even though he walked out on her not long after he got his Canadian Permanent Residency.

So do be wary if you start dating Cuban men. Cubans are very charming and often some are so desperate to leave their country and move to Europe/US/Canada that they will do whatever possible to get there, regardless of who gets hurt. Please note of course I am not speaking for all Cubans when I say this. It does not apply to all Cubans, but it certainly does happen a lot so you do need to be aware of what goes on as so many Westerners are naive and have been fooled by Cubans in the past, and will continue to be fooled. I know all this can be hard to get your head around, but try not to fall for a Cuban too fast or fall for the first man that gives you some attention because trust me, there will be plenty more waiting. Really get to know your Cuban and try to work out what his genuine intentions before you invest too much time or money.

For the record, I love Cubans and have lots of Cuban friends. I know many who have successful relationships with foreigners, both long distance and those who married and moved abroad. I also know lots who regularly cheat on their partners or who left their partners once they got the visa. Like any nationality you can’t generalise, just use your common sense and trust your instincts.

Why do Cubans often date or marry older foreigners?

Something to note about Cuba is that literally ANYBODY can get laid here. Yes even fat old tourists can hook up with a young hot Cuban. You will often see good looking Cuban men in their 20s with Western women in their 40s, 50s or 60s (and even the reverse: beautiful young Cuban women with old foreign men) and wonder what is going on.

The Cubans will usually go for an older foreigner instead of going for a younger one, purely because it is easier to make them fall in love (they have probably never had a toyboy before) and convince them to get married, plus they generally have more money than younger tourists.

What makes many Western women want to date a Cuban man?

Cubans are incredibly confident and notoriously charming. They all have a way with words. They know what lines work on women as they have tried them a thousand times. And they will tell you what you want to hear – that you are the most beautiful woman in the world. They are very forward and affectionate, and many Western women aren’t used to this as most men in the West are quite reserved and wouldn’t approach a woman in the street and tell her she is beautiful.

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So the Western women fall for this Cuban charm as they like suddenly having all this attention. Often the attention won’t last, and with many Cubans as soon as they have got what they want from you, they will suddenly change and lose interest.

Some Western women kind of like this – like trying to tame a ‘bad boy’. They want to believe that their Cuban man is different and that he truly loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her.

CHALLENGES OF DATING OR MARRYING CUBAN MEN

Money

As the wages in Cuba are so low, making their salary last a whole month is difficult. Therefore Cubans aren’t able to take you out for dinner or buy you nice expensive gifts like you might be used to receiving. You may find that most of the time you are paying for him, so this relationship could end up becoming quite expensive for you. So make sure that is something you are prepared for and are okay with.

Plus bear in mind if you enter into a long-distance relationship with a Cuban, you will be the one that is always having to pay for flights to Cuba as they won’t be able to come and see you. And of course each time you come you will need to bring gifts for their family – that goes without saying. Plus they will probably ask you to send them some money through Western Union to help them (which by the way I do not advise you to do). Maintaining a long-distance relationship with a Cuban can quickly become very expensive.

If you want to marry a Cuban and bring them to your country it is going to cost you even more money.

Internet

Leading on from the money comes the internet.The internet in Cuba is ridiculously expensive. Ridiculously expensive. And it is painfully slow. It cuts out a lot, which can be really irritating if you are in a long distance relationship with a Cuban and you’re trying to chat over video call. Not only that, but phone calls are ridiculously expensive too.

Passport

Cuba certainly doesn’t like to make it easy for Cubans to leave the country. For Cubans, obtaining a passport is very expensive (USD $200 which is roughly 8 months salary for them) and they can still be denied after they have applied. Previously, any Cuban wanting to leave the country needed a valid reason (marriage with a non resident, work abroad etc) to even be allowed to leave Cuba. However this restriction and law was lifted in 2013 and now they are free to leave providing they have a passport and National Identity Card.

Other Women

Cubans need sex, attention and affection and they need it a lot. If you’re back home and attempting to have a long distance relationship with your Cuban, you need to accept that they will most likely be getting it elsewhere, whether it be from another tourist or their secret wife you don’t know about.

And if you marry your Cuban and bring him back to your home country, don’t think you are immune. I don’t like to generalise, but Cubans cheat A LOT. In their culture, cheating is more commonplace and accepted a little bit more compared to the West.

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You Can’t Sleep At Their House

It is illegal to stay overnight at a Cuban’s house unless you have documentation allowing it. The penalties can be very severe if you are caught, so do not risk it. Neighbours have often been known to snitch to the police if they suspect someone is, and the police will come round and investigate. It is fine to go to a Cuban’s house during the day or even stay until late in the night, you are just not allowed to sleep over.

You can however stay overnight in a hotel or casa particulare together with a Cuban but then again this is costing you yet again, more money. By law it is required to be recorded that you are staying overnight together so the hotel or casa particular will take down both your details.

If you marry a Cuban however, then of course you can stay over at their house. The next time you visit Cuba after you are married, you can apply for an A-2 visa (Cuba Family Visa) as opposed to the regular Tourist Visa. This visa is only available for spouses (need proof of marriage certificate) and children and allows you to live with the Cuban during your time there. You can download the online form for the A-2 visa here.

Final Thoughts on Dating Cuban Men

Like in any country there are people with dishonest intentions. And after all this I really hope I haven’t scared you. I say it as a precaution and with good intentions so you know what to avoid. The thought of someone being left with heartache and an empty wallet isn’t nice, and if I can help prevent that in any way then I am glad.

Even if you are head over heels in love and really want to make your Cuban happy, please always use your head and try to step outside of the situation from time to time and assess. If your Cuban is constantly asking for money just ask yourself if you are happy with this.

Is Cuba safe for women?

Cuba is an incredibly safe country. I have been 4 times and have never felt unsafe, pressurised or intimidated. Of course I had males approach me and whistle at me, but I just politely smiled, engaged in some conversation and then went on my way. Just take it all with a grain of salt, enjoy the culture and trust your instincts!

Related reading:

If you will be in Havana and can dance salsa, head down to the salsa clubs where you’ll get to dance with lots of Cubans! Check out my article Salsa Clubs in Havana that tells you where to go, as well as the best nights at each club!

And if you enjoy reading my articles about dating, head to my article about dating an Airline Pilot!

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