Now that I’ve semi-slept on it I am compelled to add an additional response.
A strong warning: Thou shalt not read this right before going to bed: It will haunt your dreams and leave you a wreck in the morning.
My lifetime is short. Cuba has been misery since I can remember. The enemy. The communist varelse. The thing to be studied from afar. Attacked by the CIA. Not discussed in polite company.
Then here comes this fellow brazenly setting foot on the forbidden territory. Journalista. Beards. Rum. Scraggly dogs chasing chickens.
But the thing that kept me tossing was The Malecon. I didn’t know that word until yesterday. Somewhere in the nexus or anti-nexus of etymology and archeology my slumbering, semi-slumbering brain really just could not process the thing.
It leads right off with the silhouetted shapes of men fishing. Perhaps it is derived from “mal — econ”. A bad economy. The worst. The things I have always feared about Communists and what they wanted to do to me. To us. How could anyone be expected to make a living from what they caught fishing from a boardwalk?
But it comes back around a different way at the end. Now it appears as a “male — con” — prostitutes young and old running the con for their living too.
Our hero steps off the island, hands-off. Leaving the tension there. My sleep. Perhaps it will come back tonight. Some things cannot be unravelled in daylight, they must wait for the soft veil of semi-sleep for more cogent processing.