March 1959

La Bodeguita del Medio is Cuba’s most famous restaurant-bar and claims to have originated the equally famous Mojito cocktail. 

But there were bodeguitas in every neighborhood—la bodega del barrio. These were not famous, some were simple and other fancy, but they all served an important social function as the friendly local gathering place, where day and night, food, drink gossip, music, and games of chance could be enjoyed. 

Batista’s dictatorship was marked by the violent repression of protesters. His secret police killed  young men in the streets, tortured the innocent, and it is estimated that 20,000 civilians were killed:  “Hundreds of mangled bodies were left hanging from lamp posts or dumped in the streets.” (Source:  Irving Louis  Horowitz. “Cuban communism.” New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1988. p. 662.)

La Charada China is a Cuban system for picking lottery numbers based on dreams. A chart lists the mystical relationship between objects and their corresponding numbers. It has possible origins in the I Ching. Chinese culture is an important component of Cuban culture.

Every neighborhood has at least one solar, created by subdividing large houses and buildings to create small units for those of modest means.  Communal living meant communal bathrooms and limited cooking facilities.

January 1959

February 1959

March 1959