This is central Havana -- drab, crowded and ugly -- where a building collapses every three days. The buses are so full that people have to fight their way inside, so they often walk the distance or splurge on a bicycle taxi.
With a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations we might have an opportunity to come to terms with the long and sordid history of the United States' actions in the Caribbean divorced from the anti-communist hyperbole we still hear from some politicians and pundits.
Cuba isn't known for its non-conformists, so skateboarding, with its counter-cultural roots, is not a sport that has been encouraged on the Caribbean island. But a group of young individuals are still ollie-ing and grinding through the streets of Havana.
A woman hits a child, who appears to be her son, on one corner. A hundred yards further on, two men get in a fight because one stepped on the other's shoe. I arrive home thinking about this aggressiveness, just under the skin, that I feel in the street.
Fifty-two years after U.S. policy first sought to break the communist dictatorship with an economic embargo, the Castro regime is still in power, lording over the Cuban people, enjoying trade and diplomatic relationships with countries across the globe.
Guillen's insensitive comments and the subsequent explosive reaction from Cuban-Americans have exposed a raw, painful vein in the U.S. Hispanic experience. And such a vein should not be dismissed or ignored.