Angel Benito Hernandez, known as simply Benito, sat back in a worn black chair outside Orlando Latin Market, a place he has frequented since 2004. Nearby were three other men seated at a small, square-shaped table, all engaged in spirited conversation. Their arms took turns stretching out to magnify a point, fingers pointed here and there to drive their message further.
“Here I am with my friends,” the 78-year-old said, pointing to his left in their direction. “I have fun here, jugando — playing, laughing.”
They all poke fun of one other, Benito said. The teasing never turns ugly, though.
“We all understand one another,” he said with a smile.
Some days, Benito is here as long as a regular 9 to 5 job.
“Everyone loves me around here,” he said.
His crew, which is ever-transforming as men come and go throughout the day, talk about anything and everything. On this particular day, Cuba and U.S. President Barack Obama were on their minds.
Cuba is always on their minds.
Benito, who moved here from Cuba 15 years ago, supports Obama’s plan to improve relations between the U.S. and the island nation. He hopes a better Cuba will follow.
When he’s seated outside like that, with the crew, Benito said it makes him very happy.
“Like in Cuba,” he said. “Exactly like that.”