The violence in Cuba spawned by a half-century of brutal repression and extreme corruption is not something you will find featured in a glitzy ad for a vacation on the island or in the itinerary of a “people-to-people” tourist junket. But for more than a few unsuspecting foreign tourists, Cuba has become the last destination of their lives.
Tourists and travel to Cuba: What the travel agencies don’t tell you about crime
“Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere. Even in neighborhoods that you would avoid in other major cities (such as much of Centro Havana) you are unlikely to suffer any incidents of violent crime. Incidents, which do happen, are generally tied into a more personal encounter with ‘dubious characters’.” – Christopher Baker in Cuba Absolutely and duplicated in Visit Cuba FAQs
On November 22, 2013 Brandon Bjorn Ross, a 31 year old American resident visiting Cuba with his mother Onelia Ross, who is of Cuban origin, went out to take pictures in the early morning around the Hotel Nacional in Havana. The next time his mom saw him was at the morgue to identify her son’s body. Government officials said that he had fallen from the roof of the hotel, but refused to provide Onelia an autopsy report and quickly cremated her son’s body without her authorization. This despite Canadian offers to cover costs to ship the body home. Onelia (age 55) is an accountant who left Cuba 36 years ago when she met and married a Canadian diplomat who was posted in Havana. She had never spoken critically of the Cuban government until June of 2005 when she had a problem with an entry permit to enter the island.
The claim at the top of the page relies on statistics and reports provided by the Cuban government and is contradicted by the suspicious death of Brandon Ross. There are plenty of reasons to question the veracity of the claims made by promoters of Cuban travel. Additionally, the last sentence provides a loophole that can be used to intimidate victims or their families from coming forward. It is essentially saying that when one visits Cuba one will not get into trouble unless one is looking for it.
The Castro regime and its agents of influence can do the rest to smear a victim of crime in Cuba, in order to preserve its reputation as a safe travel destination. If they do it all the time with human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience that they have killed then why not apply it to visitors when it serves their interests?
Despite this tactic other victims of crime in Cuba are known. Below are a few high profile examples.
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