A Miami man is reported to have tricked Fidel Castro’s son into an eight month internet romance by posing as a woman online.
42-year-old Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, the son of Fidel Castro and the physician for Cuba’s baseball team, believed he was being chatted by an attractive Colombian sports journalist called Claudia Valencia, but at the other end of the internet connect was a 46-year-old man who sold the story of his prank to the media.
Cuban-born Luis Dominguez says that he and Castro tagged eachother on a social networking site, and engaged in more than 20 internet chats. All under the disguise of “Claudia”, a 26-year-old brunette with blonde highlights, claiming that they had met at a baseball competition in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2006.
Dominguez claims that his stunt was designed to expose the privileges enjoyed by Cuba’s ruling class. “While everyday Cubans were banned from using the internet cafes in Havana hotels, this guy had a BlackBerry and unlimited access to the web,” he told the Miami Herald.
This is obviously embarrassing for Antonio Castro, who will be left somewhat red-faced by the revelations of his private flirtations (documented on Luis Dominguez’s website), his careless sharing of his phone number and address, and his future travel plans. It’s also likely that his glamorous girlfriend will be less than impressed by the stories of his online romance.
But there’s a lesson we can all learn from this sorry story. Dominguez tailored his cyber siren disguise by looking at the physical characteristics of Antonio Castro’s past girlfriends, and ensured that “she” was interested in the same things as the planned victim (sports and technology).
You can imagine how other (less high profile) computer users could be targeted in a similar way, using information and photos you have posted on the internet to invent the “perfect” boyfriend or girlfriend. Before you know it you might be getting sexy emails which are more convincing than the ones I regular receive from Russian women, or sending you romantic attachments and links which make you throw security out of the window and click on with gay abandon.