Cuba appears to be in a historical moment.

In early December, Fidel Castro, the country’s long-time leader, died. It had been my assumption that his death was like the sun dropping out of the solar system for the long-stagnating island nation. Things were going to start to come apart, and soon.

I traveled to Cuba two weeks after his death with this in mind — expecting something, but not quite sure what.

Though I was born after the end of the Cold War, Castro was one of the few boogeymen of the era to retain his stature. Even as the Soviet Union disintegrated and Russia reassembled itself, and China underwent rapid economic growth, Cuba and Castro held resolute.