Help me contact my brother in Cuba
December 13, 2014 10:21 AM   Subscribe

My brother is missing/not in contact/has gone to Cuba and we can't reach him. This is not a 'he ran off' situation; he is supposed to be in Cuba for work. He is the operations manager of a jazz band who are playing a music festival there. He flew from Mexico into Havana last night -- we think. The last we heard from him was in Mexico. He is traveling on a US passport but not entering from the US. He has done this before. He has a large group of people with him.

However, this time, he managed to lose his Cuban visa in transit. When we spoke to him last night he was planning on 'buying one at the airport'.

We have not heard from him at all since then, his American phone does not work there, and we are having an enormous amount of trouble getting in touch with ANYONE in Cuba who might know where he is.

He and his group are supposedly staying at the Hotel Paseo between 19th and 17th Streets in Calle A in Havana. The phone number there is (53) 7 0360808, but it is out of service.

The recording studio his group works out of is Abdala Studios on Calle 32 No. 318 Eq. 5PA, in Miramar, phone number (53) 7 2044000.

Neither I nor my mother nor my brother's girlfriend speak enough Spanish to solve this.

How do we get someone to sort this out for us? Ideally we'd find a fluent Spanish speaker to check in person at the hotel or the studio, since the phone method seems unreliable.

(I am posting this for a friend - questions can be Memailed to me and I'll pass them along.)
posted by restless_nomad to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would most likely wait more than a day to really be worried about this, especially since he's travelling for work (so likely busy) and it's a country where it can be difficult to stay in touch in a 21st century sort of way.

If he told you he'd call at a certain time and he didn't, then I'd be concerned. But it can often take more than 24 hours to travel to a different country, get settled in, take care of urgent business, etc. and most likely checking in with family is not the number one priority.

Presumably if he hadn't got the visa, he wouldn't have traveled to Cuba at all and you would still be in contact with him.

Can you send him an email or ping him on Facebook? I don't know what the internet situation is in Cuba, or what kind of access he has as a traveling musician (as opposed to software developer or management type who'd presumably be glued to their computer all day on a business trip), but it's worth a shot.

What about the people he's traveling with? Is anyone in contact with them?
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 AM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Never been to Cuba but just Googling out of curiosity I came across the Wikipedia fact that U.S. diplomatic representation in Cuba is handled by the United States Interests Section in Havana
posted by XMLicious at 10:31 AM on December 13, 2014

Canadian here. I've been to Cuba 2x, I have friends who go several times a year. Losing your Cuban visa is NO BIG DEAL. It's just a shakedown for an extra $25 at the airport if you forget. Their "visa" is just a little card that gets stamped on entry - not like a US visa process. I cannot stress enough that this is nothing to worry about.

Also the internet there is super spotty ($5 for half an hour of shitty dial up, basically enough time to send 1 email) so please don't worry. At most he faces a little bit of stinkeye from the immigration officer.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2014 [9 favorites]

From the OP:
I managed to reach the executive producer of his band, who called his local contact in Cuba, who showed up at the hotel and confirmed he checked in, and who ran into one of his bandmates who handed over HIS working cellphone.

So! Solved. And now I have talked to a very high-up record company exec.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2014 [25 favorites]

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