Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you have probably already heard of Dave “Cuba Dave” Strecker, the infamous Gringo that was arrested at the airport on his way home to Florida for blogging about having sex with prostitutes on the now noticeably prostitute-free website www.cubadave.com.
Although we may have poked fun at him in the past, as seen here, here and most recently here, as anyone that has taken the time to actually read a few of our articles will tell you, we love Cuba Dave almost as much as Cuba Dave loves Prostitutes.
The Costa Rica Post recently got a chance to sit down with Cuba Dave and ask him some questions about prison life, prostitutes and his new book, The Persecution of Cuba Dave. Cuba Dave agreed to speak with us under the sole condition that he would not have to wear a shirt. Our reporter reluctantly agreed.
The Cuba Dave Interview
TCRP: I would like to start this interview by saying that I’m a huge fan of your work, and am looking forward to reading your book coming out on May 17th. We know how your story ended Dave, but how did it begin? What year did you first visit Costa Rica, and what made you come here?
DAVE: I first visited Costa Rica in 2005, I had been traveling to Cuba from 1994 to 2004, but in 2004 Bush #2 put heavy travel restrictions on going to Cuba and in turn the Cuban government put a 20% tax on the American dollar. A friend told me to try Costa Rica. I lived in Key West and was only 90 miles away, most trips were by boat.
TCRP: A boat trip to cuba sounds fun. Was it always about the women or was there something else that kept calling you back to Cuba?
DAVE: It was never about the women, I went with 10 guys on a dive trip to the bay of pigs, yes we met women, but It was different there it wasn’t about money it was about being board, they didn’t understand money, they just wanted to have fun,drink,dance, most hadn’t been more than 10 miles away from home. I brought my softball teams over there, organized fishing tournaments, I traveled through the entire country , met thousands of people, I spoke to schools, Romber in 1995 it was like I was from outer space.
TCRP: Do you remember the name of your first time with a Cuban girl?
DAVE: I had a few girlfriends that I went to see but it was a fun relationship, I liked bringing them things, money wasn’t important because they didn’t know what money was. I gave my girlfriend money and she gave it to her mother for food.
TCRP: Speaking of giving women money, are you ok with talking openly about prostitutes with us?
DAVE: I have no problem talking about prostitution, I was never really introduced to what you know as prostitution till I first went to Costa Rica. I walked into the Del Rey and found out what prostitution was in a hurry. I enjoyed it, thought it was great.
TCRP: Same here.
DAVE: Never had a problem talking about it. I was the guy who made these trips everyone wished they could make. And I had no problem talking about my trips.
TCRP: Here is a video of the inside of the Del Rey for people who haven’t been:
DAVE: That video was made in 2007 by a friend, they used that video as evidence against me even though I had nothing to do withit. It was on my hard drive. Also the video was made 4 years before the sex tourism law was formed. That how hard up for evidence they were
TCRP: Yes, I believe I learned of your escapades on the CRT forum my friend was a member of. I remember you had quite the following back then.
DAVE: I had 20,000 hits a month on Cubadave.com. I was highly encouraged by CRT and local club owners to keep people informed. There is a big difference between promoting and informing, I was informing newbies about the dangers and things to look out for. Plus helped them with hotels and airplane travel.
TCRP: Your story inspired a lot of guys to chase their dreams so to speak. Were these places paying you for the publicity?
DAVE: Never ! In Sosua the Club owners wanted to give me everything on the house but I refused, I was in business myself and I gave nothing away. I ran a successful beach business in Key West, I worked as a helper in construction. I made most of my money in professional wrestling as a referee and promoter.
I played professional softball for 35 years had everything handed to me, I had many sponsors, we had women following us everywhere, never paid a girl a dime. But when your 44 and living in Key West where finding a girl with a full set of teeth is a accomplished feat, the trip to Cuba did open a new door.
TCRP: I heard about the baseball but never the wrestling. You really have had an interesting life. Who is your favorite wrestler you have personally met?
DAVE: I grew up in Minnesota it was a hotbed for wrestling. Vern Gagne was the king, I was a ringside photographer when I was 17, started refereeing at 20, been in the ring with all the greats, my girlfriend when I was 35 was Madusa I got her into wrestling and she went all the way to the top,but left me behind.
TCRP: In regards to not accepting money for your stories, in retrospect should you have accepted the money?
DAVE: No I wouldn’t change a thing , I lived the greatest live a guy could live, outside the last two years of course. I’m still reflecting on what happened and why, it was very difficult for me, I had never been arrested in my life. The book is just a way of getting my side out, I was locked up for two years with no outside contact, and no way of defending myself. A lot of people wrote a lot of things that were just made up or second hand information.
TCRP: Two years is a long time, is it true that you were stuck sleeping next to a urinal?
DAVE: The first 5 weeks I was forced to sleep on the floor, it was so crowded at night I would crawl into the bathroom just for air and yes my head was next to the urinal.
TCRP: That is amazing.
DAVE: It’s hard to describe the prison capacity was 600, we had 1,360 in there. I was in a cell with 26 guys one toilet one shower, full of bugs and mosquitoes. Food was the worst, I went in at 175 lbs. came out at 140 lbs. I suppose to be at the over 60 prison but they lied to me and said I couldn’t go till I was sentenced, it wasn’t till a social worker informed me they were telling me a lie, she got me moved after I spent 6 months in San Sebastián.
TCRP: Any crazy prison stories?
DAVE: There was a lot of trannies in the prison. They dressed like girls, wore makeup, even asked to scrub your back in the showers, some were pretty convincing, one in our cell like to watch you take a shower, she didn’t look bad either till one time I was taking a piss and she was passing right next to me. Never seemed same after that.
DAVE: My book, The Persecution of Cuba Dave, really describes the prison life, I will say I was protected pretty well by some pretty dangerous guys that knew of me and spread the word to leave me alone. Lot more in the book, I could write a whole book on just the characters I met in prison, some became very close friends. Some I hope I never see again.
VIDEO: Cuba Dave talks about his time sleeping next to a urinal in San Sebastian.
TCRP: What charges were you being detained on?
DAVE: In a 36 page report they stated they found no proof of guilt on any charge, but even though I was found innocent I had to spend six more months in jail because they appealed, in the new trial I was found not guilty of anything and released with no restrictions.
My biggest complaint is guys like Krumholtz and other third rate reporters wanted to create a monster, tell their story not the real story. Anything to sell the paper. But when I was released they were no where to found wouldn’t even answer the phone.
TCRP: Pardon my ignorance but what the hell is a Krumholtz?
DAVE: Mark Krumholtz is a hack reporter for Tico Times he begged me for an interview for 6 months but my lawyers said no, finally I gave in out of frustration of not getting anywhere, he came and seen me a few times, but you could tell he wasn’t on my side. He was just trying to create a story.
TCRP: Trust us, we know all about hack reporting Cuba Dave.
TCRP: Sorry. Please continue.
DAVE: Guys like Krumholtz, all the women judges, the women prosecutor, they have no regard for human life only a story, or a conviction then they move on. I will say the prosecutor was a very sadistic and unprofessional example of the Costa Rica Court system. My lawyer Diego really saved my life.
DAVE: I hope this book opens some eyes about this sex tourism law, that was never thought out, just a knee jerk decision by an incompetent person in the justice system. The law is so vague. It gives them to arrest anyone for anything, also I hope this sheds some light on preventive prison.
This guilty till proven innocent is got to go, so many guys are locked up on someone accusing them of something then when they have to bring evidence there is none but the guy spent months in jail. I spent 2 years on no evidence what so ever, plus foreigners are treated completely different, all rights are taken away.
Look my Life was ruined by accusations, your friends your family,everyone hears your in jail on a sex crime, my mother died when I was in jail,my brother tells everyone at the funeral I’m being held on a sex crime. When the verdict comes out they have already determined you must have been guilty.
TCRP: So sorry about your mom. I cant imagine how that must feel. No body deserves what happened to you. Not without a crime actually being committed at least.
DAVE: You know how you would wonder what people say about you after you die? Well I came back from the dead and got to see what everyone had to say, so maybe telling my side will give me peace.
DAVE: I now live in Colombia, by myself in a small town outside the city I don’t talk to anybody, and I certainly don’t give any advice. There isn’t a day that goes by where someone offers to take me to dinner buy me a beer, maybe just talk, the Gringo population is in a different town and I don’t go anywhere near them.
TCRP: We were just going to ask you about Colombia. Do you plan on keeping Cubadave.com update with Colombian Content?
DAVE: No more updates on anything for me, I have a Facebook page where I keep in contact with friends. But when asked about the action in Colombia I just say I’m a retired tourist and have no idea.
TCRP: You said “when you die you would wonder what people say about you after you die”. How would you like to be remembered Dave?
DAVE: I will always be remembered for the last two years, that’s just he way it is. But I can always say I have no regrets I had a great life, and still do. I accomplished so much in sports, had my own tv show, was an accomplished writer spent time With the most beautiful women in the world.
TCRP: I imagine its safe to say you wouldnt do it again if you had to do over again? The Costa Rica part at least?
DAVE: I would do it all over again, I didn’t do anything that 10,000 other guys were doing, I just publicly told my adventures.
TCRP: And how many adventures were there?
DAVE: Hundreds. No, not hundreds, thousands. All were great, every time I returned from a trip the people would gather at the beach and say “well how did it go” and I always said the same thing “Best trip ever!” What happened to me could have happened to a thousand other guys, for what they used against me was ridiculous, there own investigators testified that they found nothing.
DAVE: One judge said it best, this for us, not you and not your friends, this is not a Disneyland for adults. What she was saying is prostitution is ok for her brother,cousins,maybe her husband but not for us foreigners. I couldn’t believe what she was saying, but really that’s what this whole case was about. Costa Rica has a social problem, but rather than address it the just blame someone else then sweep it under the rug.
TCRP: Will you ever come back to Costa Rica?
DAVE: No, not that I couldn’t, but I would never trust those people, they lie, they stole all my stuff plus I have a 2.5 million dollar lawsuit pending.
TCRP: You are aware that Costa Rica is broke right?
DAVE: They are always broke, how much you think they spent on me?
TCRP: We really appreciate you taking the time to answer all of our questions today Dave, we honestly thought you would have gotten sick of us after the first two.
Dave: Who did you say you worked for again?