I'm really sorry that this happened to you Jackobelle. I feel very bad about this
Just few facts:
- Peter lives in Cuba and he shoots a plenty of weddings there. Regarding to the Cuban law:
Small Independent Businesses
This kind of business is not allowed in Cuba. In general most of the foreign companies are international companies who start a joint venture with a Cuban State owned company, with 51% Cuban participation.
To legally work there:
First you have to apply for a work permit with the Ministry of Work and Social Security: not an easy task, because if a Cuban citizen can do the job, he or she has priority.
Second difficulty for a foreigner: you have to work in accordance with Cuban standards and regulations, and this means your salary will be paid in Peso Cubano, which can only be used in the internal Cuban market and surprise, surprise - your salary will be 240 – 500 peso Cubano (roughly 10 – 20 US dollars a month).
(sounds like a joke?)
A few possibilities to work in Cuba.
You can work in Cuba for a foreign company with a subsidiary or an agency in Cuba, but again Cubans will have priority, as most of these companies are joint ventures with Cuban companies. For instance you can work as a travel representative for a tour operator or travel company, but don’t expect to work in a hotel as an entertainer or barman etc, - these kinds of jobs go to Cubans. To be allowed in the tourist industry is a privilege for a Cuban.
You can work as a journalist, freelance writer or photographer, but you’ll need a special visa and work permit.
- Cuban photographers in Cuba? forget about it. maybe in 10 years...there is no such a thing and quality of pictures is horrible. I know only few in Havana and they have totally different style. Those who are good don't want to shoot weddings - they are pure artist. Those who shoot fashion are to snobbish to deal with this as well. if they want to do it legally they can charge only 200 CUCs for a wedding- regarding to the Cuban Law. can you buy professional equipment charging 200 CUCs? I don't think so. all photographers I know there are working illegally, on the black market. there is few in Havana but they don't travel to Varadero. they always can be followed and go to jail.
Peter was only local photographer who offered quality and style - but not Cuban. I referred him like crazy. Unfortunately he couldn't have his own business in communist country - this was all black market.
Canadian or other photographer staying for week or 2 in the resort is a tourist and is bringing money to the country. They know this and they respect this. I don't think that they want to change this - weddings and wedding guests in Varadero are 40 - 60% of the tourists (depends on the season). Especially in the high end resorts like Iberostar and Melia.
Don't get scared please. Destination wedding photographers are not taking work from Cubans - they are giving work for Cubans. I'm sure that a lot's of Brides would choose different destination for her wedding, knowing that they don't have a choice.
Sorry for chaotic writing. I'm going to Cuba on the next weekend and I will talk to people and investigate this case further. I'm lucky to have really good connections there and I feel absolutely safe traveling there.