– Gameness til the End
The training and fighting of birds runs deep in Cuban culture and is an important part of its history. It is a violent but respected pastime, one that dates back to the Taíno indigenous people who fought roosters hundreds of years ago. There now exists an elite group within the Cuban army called the Gallos (roosters), named after the fighting birds that are known for their strength and tenacity. Cockfighting is a legal sport in Cuba, unlike in the U.S., which recently passed a law in 2008 banning cockfighting in Louisiana – the final state to outlaw the violent sport. The trainers of roosters usually join a cockfighting club, or gallería, where the birds are kept and on weekends are fought. Large tournaments are held outside major cities, with gallerías from many different nearby provinces sending members. Cockfighting is also a convenient excuse for Cubans to get together in someone’s backyard or simply in the street. Fights usually end in death, unless the match goes beyond the 15-minute time limit, which means there is a tie. Gambling at matches is tolerated, but illegal.