The sound of wooden footwear clacking on cement as he chased them figured prominently in my mother's childhood tales of tormenting the Chino who ran a laundry. I used to ask myself, "what was a Chinese guy doing in their back of beyond small Cuban town?" The question was answered later when I discovered that the Chinese constituted one of the largest minority groups in Cuba. Still later I learned, they were lured in under harsh conditions of near indentured servitude to replace newly freed slaves. Unusual.
Then there were the Polacos. I'm not sure I'm even spelling it right. Growing up I knew people like "Joseito, el Polaco." Although I could never tell any difference between him and the other Cubans I knew, I thought it meant he was somehow from Poland. Again, I was to find out that Polaco denoted anyone from Eastern Europe or descendants of the same. In one case it extended to a guy reputedly from Syria or Lebannon. His origins are shrouded in the mists of time. Seems if you were foreign and looked European and weren't Gallego, you were Polaco.
Similarly, although the majority of Cubans were Roman Catholics, I learned there was a sizeable contingent of Presbyterians, at least around Matanzas. Nowadays, there are still Seventh Day Adventists. Didn't fifo attend the opening of their new church, or something like that? Growing up in the needle trades, I also knew quite a few Cuban Jews. So it was with interest that I read this NY1 article about Judaism in Cuba today.
I don't espouse, nor do I presume to judge, their having invited fifo to Hannukah. Who knows, he could have potentially been "enlightened." Whatever your political sensibilities, however, you have to appreciate the Cuban minyan: Seven men and three Torahs. Cubans are nothing, if not adaptable.