Cuba has no fiesta tradition. The Cubans are too busy playing baseball or practicing martial arts while the others while away the long, hot afternoons playing dominoes or making love. In rural areas pleasures are simple: cockfights, rodeos, cigars, cheap rum, and sex. Urban life is more urbane, offering movies, discos, theater, cigars, cheap rum, and sex.
Cuban social life revolves around the family and friends and neighbors. Cubans are a gregarious people, and foreigners are often amazed by the degree to which Cubans exist in the public eye, carrying on their everyday lives behind wide-open windows open to the streets as if no one were looking.
Nonetheless, for all its musical gaiety and pockets of passionate pleasure, life for the average Cuban is dreary, even melancholy. Socialist equality looks dismal as you contemplate the aged and impoverished walking around inconsolably as if they’ve been castrated—jaca is the local term—and at a loss over their lives, ruminating over what has gone terribly wrong with a revolution that held greater promise.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition