I returned last Friday from eight days in Havana. As expected, I had a fantastic time escorting a tour for Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. But, as always, I experienced a dizzying number of scams at every turn.
Life for Cubans is hard, and almost everyone needs access to pesos convertibles (CUC, the equivalent of hard currency), used for buying anything of value in Cuba. Since Cubans get paid a pittance (the average monthly wage is about $15 equivalent) in virtually worthless pesos (which buys virtually nothing), as opposed to pesos convertibles, Cubans hustle to get access to pesos convertibles through interactions with tourists in Cuba (others are lucky enough to receive remittances sent from family abroad).