A cultural institute in the heart of Havana grabbed headlines in July 2012 - disheartening many Cubans. The project entitled "El Cabildo" - an "opera of the street" which was supposed to liven up Cuban night life as well as pave the way for a new era of establishing private companies - was unexpectedly closed.
For many Cubans, the event was a symbol for the zigzagging of economic policy under President Raul Castro. Since taking over the post from his brother - "Commandant" Fidel Castro - in February 2008, reforms have supposedly been at the top of the agenda. Upon closer inspection, however, not much has changed. That image of stagnation is also reflected in the parliamentary election on Sunday for the 612 seats of the one-house parliament, there are exactly 612 candidates - with all of them coming from the Communist Party.