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A chicken is groomed, and its nails sharpened and augmented with a long, sharp nail made of a turtle shell, before a cock-fighting event at a sports arena on April 18, 2015 in Managua, Cuba. Cock-fighting in Cuba is in the gray area of legal - state-run events such as this (non-private) functions are permitted, but not monetary betting. This is in part due to lingering bitterness over the control U.S. mafia used to exercise over casinos and prostitution in pre-revolutionary Cuba, the income from which allowed crime lords a certain level of interference in the country's political matters. <br />
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Cuba, a place of much recent conversation, is a country whose politics and way of life parallel much of my childhood in Bulgaria. This is 2015's continuation to my project on democracy + communism, started last year on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - the event that gave opportunity to Eastern Europeans like me to immigrate to the Western world. These are the ways in which Cuba has transported me to pre- and post-1989 Bulgaria. This project is supported by a grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.