CUBA, LA LUCHITA DIARIA

«¿Cómo anda la Cosa?»(How is the Thing going?) ,asks the Cuban and thus a recurring event that repeats countless times in this country of greetings, of easy kiss and of all wanting to know. The likely answer will be an expression that springs between the smile and the wink: «Aquí… en la luchita» (Here... in the little fight).” This last sentence, in spite of its brevity, contains the stubborn choice to continue forward, day by day, with all the weapons and imagination available. The thing is the situation, the scenario, the collective luck woven by themselves and that's why only they understand at all. And the “luchita”(daily fight) is the stroke of some tactics, of pawns that keep them on their feet since the sun rises until he says goodbye and they put our heads on the pillow while some sleeplessness heart, and in there in the soul, in the most guarded of us, a little voice stubbornly whispers: «You are going to see; Yo will see is right…". The daily fight, who is quietly weaving the giant fight, is given in pictures that may go unnoticed if a fine and patient look does not catch them. It's in the streets, near the food shelves.It’s where a man passes with planks on his shoulder while he caresses a piece of furniture that does not yet exist. Those who seek to diminish the greatness of these gladiators of humility, of these architects of an effort that does not expect rewards, are wrong: La luchita shines in these essentials, whose dignity does not bargain to anyone. They are encouraged by a philosophy that crosses the Cuban stamp as an indomitable breath: "I exist; then I win ». La luchita is the hope taken in sips, like morning coffee.We are talking about a battle that does not include pauses or seasons of low intensity: it is a philosophy.

This is Fidel’s legacy. Clean water and electricity for all. And universal free education and healthcare. Cubans often joke that they’re healthier and better educated than Americans despite the 50-year-plus US blockade. On the other hand Cuba has no free press. Scores of dissidents who have dared challenge the government have been jailed. The state rules with a heavy hand. Make no mistake: Cuba today is not a free society. Billboards touting Che and the revolution are everywhere. Yet, no armed soldiers patrol the streets.

The Cubans I have spoken to are proud of their country. Even though they criticise the regime, under promise of anonymity, they are quick to add that they don't necessarily want Cuba to become the United States or just any other country in the West. When I ask them if they believe that democracy and capitalism will come to Cuba now that Fidel has left and Raoul is on his way out, they respond in the negative, saying that whatever will come next will be a Cuban version of those things, an adaptation from what it is now.

It’s like that saying: you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. There’s a sense of relief in accepting that you’re not always the master of your circumstances, so do as the Cubans do: embrace unpredictability, go with the flow, and if there’s not an obvious resolution or an easy fix, instigate a spontaneous dance party instead.

Holguin. Peasant farmer (campesino) cutting grass with a machete.

Santa Lucía. Sunday stroll.

Old Havana.

Local bus for peasants.

The Malecón, Havana's evocative 7km-long sea drive, is one of the city's most soulful and quintessentially Cuban thoroughfares, and long a favored meeting place for assorted lovers, philosophers, poets, traveling minstrels, fishers and wistful Florida-gazers.

La Bodeguita del Medio is a typical restaurant-bar of Havana (Cuba). It is a famous tourist destination because of the personalities which have patronized it: Salvador Allende, the poet Pablo Neruda, the artist Josignacio and many others.

"One day, my sister came home and exclaimed, 'Fidel is better than Jesus!' In school they had asked the kindergartners to close their eyes and pray to Jesus for ice cream. When they opened their eyes -- nothing. Then they closed their eyes again and prayed to Fidel for ice cream, and ... surprise! Ice cream cups on their desks! I remember my mother's reaction: 'Helado! Que rico!'

Cuban children playing #baseball (pelota in spanish) in Havana. Cuba National Team won the most Baseball world cup with 25 titles.

Shortly after coming to power in 1959, Cuba's communist government led by Fidel Castro banned imports on both foreign cars and car parts. One of the inevitable effects of this policy was the deep-freeze of Cuba's cars scene.

Cayo Saetia (Fidel's holyday island) has been stocked with both local and introduced wild animals such as antelopes, boars, crocodiles, deer, iguanas, ostriches, turtles, water buffalos, zebras, and others.

Havana, Revolution square. "Ever onward to victory" Che Guevara.

"#SocialismOrDeath" remained #FidelCastro's rallying cry even as Western-style democracy swept the globe and other communist regimes embraced capitalism, leaving this island of 11 million people an economically crippled Marxist curiosity. “Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell.”