The moment of truth, of difficult moments, is invoked in Cuba in the little dramatic and singular expression of “The time of the Mameyes (mammees) has arrived”, a popular colloquial phrase has a history dating back several centuries.
The saying goes back to the 18th century, when Havana was attacked by the English, in a historical episode that began on June 6, 1762 with the arrival of British ships and frigates on the Havana coast, before which the Spanish colonial authorities surrendered on August 13.
The military occupation of the city, and of nearby places, such as the port of Cárdenas, lasted for eleven months, until July 6, 1763, and concluded with the Treaty of Versailles, through which Havana was returned to Spain.
In exchange for the delivery of Florida to Great Britain. In defense of their interests, the occupants established a curfew from late afternoon during which only a few authorized island inhabitants and the English military could circulate, whose uniforms included reddish coats, similar to that of the mamey, tropical fruit very popular in these latitudes.
"The time of the mameyes has arrived," the Cubans said with humor and without sympathy, who, according to chroniclers, making the English a frequent object of ridicule. The British fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Pockock and with the Earl of Albemarle as Chief of Operations, consisted of 10,000 troops and 8,000 crews, in addition to 2,000 black pawns from Jamaica and other Thirteen forces from American colonies.
Bloody battles took place during that period, in which other famous phrases also emerged in Cuba, such as “De a Pepe”, which means with determination, with courage, and which is attributed to the example set by José Antonio Gómez Bullones, Creole mayor of the town of Guanabacoa known as Pepe Antonio, at the head of militias and volunteers in the confrontation with the English troops.
Other expressions also include “English glass”, if excrement is found in public places, and “working for the English”, when wrong or useless endeavors are involved.