39. A "MILITANT" BICI-TAXISTA: Most of greater Baracoa itself is like a 50's housing tract in California, with separate houses and yards and full-grown shade, but beyond the bay, I walked in hot, open sun past small "edificios," apartment buildings, that from the outside look like college housing but are laid out like homes inside and can be as nice as individual tenants make them. Of course, as people with beautiful places always tell me, hay que sacrificiar.
Trudging to Hotel Porto Santo, where the rent-a-cars are, and back, I kept getting ride offers. A girl on a bicycle offered to carry me to Duaba Beach with her. She told me it's as pretty as Maguana and I ought to go. The militant housekeeper had told me it's isolated and a bad idea for tourists. The bici-taxista who stopped next told me it's OK but there's nothing there but a few houses. It's where everyone historically important landed.
I talked a long time to the pedal cab guy, because he wanted to talk. He asked if I'd get in trouble for visiting Cuba, and I explained the First Amendment and our talk became political.
He didn't agree that the tourist sector is subverting the system. He said it could but they were watching that, and it was necessary. I didn't agree and we actually argued about that. He said the revolution is going well, and he expected many improvements in the future. He and everyone had to sign the petition, he said, to keep and expand the benefits. He said it was because the revolution was so well organized that they had gotten through the depression, and he ran more comprehensively than anyone else through the list of revolutionary benefits everyone recites, an honest list, of course.
He agreed, after some debate, that he is a kind of small capitalist, but he said he spends all his money in state stores, so he's really working for the state. I said he's just moving the money around in an extra circle, but he said if the tourists hadn't ridden with him, they might have kept that money in their pockets.
I asked if he's militant, and he exained that only party and juventud members are called militants, but when I gave him my own definition of the term, learned perhaps in error (no one in Nicaragua ever told me it was wrong), he said, OK, under my definition, he was certainly a "militante."