Record summer heat has combined with hurricanes, relentless power cuts, water shortages and crumbling housing to tax Cubans' traditional patience with President Fidel Castro's government and the strains caused by the US embargo.
"I've never seen people talk this way about Fidel. That they want his head. Most of them really do not mean it. It's more like they are really frustrated with their father," a Havana housewife said the other night sitting in her pitch-black home in the La Lisa district.
Comandante Strikes Back - Fidel Castro opens his archives
Comandante Fidel Castro has always closely guarded his privacy against outsiders. Foreign reporters in Cuba will forever remember the furor over an article written in 1990 by Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent Alexei Novikov, titled From Fidels Private Life, as a result of which the journalist was immediately ordered to leave Freedom Island. He was followed by correspondents from several Latin-American publications who had been tempted to quote from the juicy story.