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Etiquette and Respect

Cuba - Etiquette and Respect


Cubans are generally friendly and helpful people. Keep in mind that they make about US$15 a month; if they can help you, they probably will, but they may expect you to return the favor. If you are invited into a Cuban's home for supper, take the invitation. You may be asked to chip in for the food, but you will really be treated like a guest of honor. It is a great way to get a feel for the culture. Of course, ordinary Cubans are not permitted to host this type of event, but it goes on as a matter of course.

One way to help local Cubans is by staying in casas particulares and eating in paladares. While free enterprise is usually banned, several years ago the government began selling expensive licenses to individuals wishing to open up rooms for rent in their houses, or set up a few tables on their porch and cook out of their kitchens. Not only are the licenses very expensive but the fees must be paid monthly regardless of income, leaving those less fortunate the possibility of actually losing money. Not only is it more interesting to stay with locals and eat in their homes, you're actually directly benefiting them in one of the only ways possible.

Avoid pushing Cubans into a discussion of political issues, as this could have serious repercussions on you and the person you are talking to. However you'll find many Cubans are comfortable speaking frankly with foreigners about politics.

NEVER talk poorly around government officals of the Fidel Castro regime! Some Cuban people might resent you for talking about their leader.


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