Despite the increasingly corrupt and brutal reign of Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s, the average Habanero (resident of Havana) went on with living as best he could. In striving for a middle-class lifestyle, Habaneros took their cues from the United States, shopping at big Havana department stores such as El Encanto and buying the latest American cars. Cuban movies starring the voluptuous Blanquita Amaro packed local theatres. Cuban baseball, boxing matches, cockfights, jai alai competitions, and late night games of dominoes were not only spectator sports but also popular betting opportunities. Habaneros celebrated carnival with an enthusiasm rivaling Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. And Ernest Hemingway was adopted as an honorary Cuban by a nation touched by the writer’s love of the island – its fishing, its mojitos and daiquiris, its food, its music, its tropical beauty, and its people.