Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Welcome to Cuba

I am sitting at home in Havana writing this post on a notepad. Hopefully I will be able to post it on Internet soon. The summer rain kept us in the house today. The Cuban sun has filled my heart with joy in the last couple of days although I have to say that the general situation on the island is depressing me a little.

First encounter with reality: Customs.

Cuban customs made me suffer. After over two years and two hours delayed I arrived in Havana with a laptop, a motherboard and and less than 40 kgs which mostly consisted of clothes, higiene products and medicines.
I took a Cubana airline plane to Havana. The government company allowes passengers to bring two suitcases of 23 kgs each and 10 kg luggage in the cabin so I had no trouble with the weight. I was happy to be sitting beside two Cubans who were as excited and impatient as me about the arrival.

First thing I faced after I crossed the immigration booth and scanned my hand luggage was an young officer terribly eager to find out if I was Cuban (TU ERE CUBANA?- ARE YOU CUBAN?- he said with the common lack of the letter “s” and an asshole expression. To the positive answer he quickly added that I had to either pay for the laptop or declare it as a personal object. I replied that I wanted to do the opposite of paying and he came back with this form TA- 35366 called “Declaración de Valor o de operación temporal sin carácter comercial para pasajeros”. I was annoyed and tired but started asking questions that the officer did not feel like answering but he did, with a mad face.
“Is this form only for Cubans?” His answer was: -” Yes, for Cubans and foreigners who have their residence in Cuba”.
I was trying to appear even more ignorant and said: -“I have never seen a form like this before. It is like a passport for my laptop”. He did not like my comments and said: “Yes, you see, there is always a first time for everything”.
To fill out that form they have to take my laptop model, the value of it, my personal details, signature and the date I am leaving Cuba. The whole purpose of that is to verify if I am taking it back with me and if I decide to leave it they will make me pay. Welcome to Cuba!

I took my form and my backpack with the laptop and headed to get my bags ( a backpack with 21 kgs and a carry on that weighted 13 kgs. They make you take a cart and go wait in line to put the cart on this sofisticated scale. Legally, you can import 30 kgs and if you go over the limit they will give you a receipt to pay for the overweight.I had to open my bags to take all the food and medicines out. Without counting the medicines and food items I had to pay $65 CAN to the Cuban customs for 6 kg overweight. They even make you put your purse on that scale. The officer wanted me to put my jacket and belt which I had previously removed due to the heat and I started ironically laughing and said: Come on!!! Are you going to make me put these back on?

They are cold and greedy bastards. All of them. People say that they are just waiting for you to tell them that you are going to give them some money on the side to avoid the payment. On my way out I paid for the frigging “overweight” and ANOTHER guy again was asking for my passport and docs. Are you going to let me see my mother? I said. How many of these officers do they have per shift?. I received my mom in tears and full of complaints. I could not feel anything and the smile on my face was gone. They managed to erase it.

I mentioned I had a motherboard before. They were so busy with my laptop that they completelly forgot about it. I did not even take it out which proves that efficiency is out of the picture here.

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