Once upon a time, men flocked to Costa Rica for legal sex with prostitutes. Men from all over the world, but namely the United States of America, would head to the center of the City of San Jose, to a melting pot of hookers that paraded around the Hotel Del Rey, a place that is called “heaven on Earth” by many men. This place has it all – a casino, a sportsbook, a poker game, many bars you can order a drink from, but most importantly, about 300 women of the night who are available for sex with a rather cheap price tag.
These women come from many places. Some are local. Some are from escorts from Nicaragua. Others hail from Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and other neighboring Latin American countries. Some come from Europe, and some, parts unknown. What is known, is that if you are in the Del Rey, you are for rent to any of the patrons that frequent what used to be the mecca of the Costa Rica sex scene.
One man became rather infamous during the glory days of San Jose’s red light district. That man is none other than Dave Strecker, who is most commonly known as “Cuba Dave.” You see, Cuba Dave wasn’t your average whore monger, he was a man who owned his hobby, bragged about it, blogged about it, and showed the world what he was doing. Ultimately, his in-your-face approach to promoting what was a legal thing to do, got him into hot water. Agree with his antics or not, the man went to hell and back trying to clear his name, and today I’ll share with you his crazy story.
Who is Cuba Dave Strecker?
This man’s background is about as interesting as what happened to him. A former softball pitcher from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Strecker is actually in the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame. There are also pieces of content online where Strecker talks about being a professional wrestling referee and promoter, which to me, makes him one of the most interesting men in the world! (Huge 80’s and 90’s wrestling fan here.) He even talked about getting the great Madusa into the female division and how he dated her when he was 35, before she “left him when she made it to the top.”
Hey, at least you have the stories about tagging that, Dave. Power move.
Strecker worked as a construction contractor who eventually left Minnesota to live in Key West, Florida, where he started to venture out into Latin American travel. After a few trips, he started to take notes of where he went, including writing in depth trip reports on places he went to, women he was sexually involved with, and more, on his website, CubaDave.com, as well as on his social media pages like MySpace and Facebook. The majority of his rants were about prostitution.
He once admitted to being a sex addict in an interview with the Miami New Times, and bragged of having slept with more than 2,500 women during trips to Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, as well as other places. He even went as far as having a wall of fame in his residence that had photos of women in which he had sexual activity with more than 10 times.
Cuba Dave ended up spending a lot of time in Costa Rica, and became rather famous among the crowd who hung out in the Gringo Gulch. Everyone knew him, either from his presence hanging around the Hotel Del Rey and the lower budget massage parlors, where services were endless, or from his popular online presence and YouTube videos that bragged about his sexual escapades. He wasn’t shy to tell you about his experiences and point you in the right direction, that’s for sure.
Whether you agree with this or not, the attention he brought to Costa Rica ended up backfiring on him, and he got a 5 year prison sentence for promoting sex tourism. Before his arrest and conviction, he was held in the San Sebastian prison located in the Capital city of San Jose. This is not a place you want to end up. Look at the photo of this joint.
In fact, the Tico Times reported that this prison is supposed to hold 664 inmates, but has 1,260. (In 2016.) It’s called “hell on Earth” by inmates and was ordered to be shut down by a judge.
He was the first person to ever be singled out for prosecution under the law, which was controversial and passed in 2012, that made it a crime for a third party to profit off of prostitution.
Dave Strecker’s Arrest
On September 4, 2015, as he was leaving Costa Rica from the Juan Santamaria airport, Strecker, 66 at the time, was charged with promoting sex tourism. There was a complaint to the OIJ, (basically the Costa Rica version of the FBI) in August by a group that combats human trafficking.
He had to sit in detention for 14 months while the Costa Rican government got it’s case against him ready, because they deemed him a flight risk. During detention, he labeled himself as innocent and maintained that he was a political prisoner. He didn’t deny his content on Costa Rica and prostitution, and he went on to say he did not promote sex tourism in the country.
Unable to fund a legal defense, he got help from a man named Dennis Eaton, who created a fund to help him fight the charges. Based on reports from his website, he was able to raise $1,500, which was about half of what he needed to pay his legal bills.
Dave Strecker Trial and Conviction
The trial lasted just one week, and on November 16, 2016, he was officially convicted by three San Jose judges. IT was a unanimous decision in which one of the judge’s told him that his content created “societal harm” to the image of Costa Rica. During the trial, evidence was brought up from his website content, including photos, YouTube videos, and more, that talked about his sexual conquests in Costa Rica. He got a five year sentence, but was released on August 18, 2017, when his conviction was dismissed by an appellate court in May of 2017.
This decision was contested by the prosecution, and Strecker had to remain in prison while waiting for the appeal to be heard. It was reported that he was released on August 18, 2017 after finally being acquitted.
Since being released, Strecker has released a book talking about this experience, called “The Persecution of Cuba Dave.” Available on Amazon.com.
Information was gathered from the following sources in creating this piece: