Heat oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat until smoking.
Pat beef cubes completely dry with paper towels before browning quickly in hot oil; brown 3 or 4 batches, turning frequently with slotted spoon and regulating heat so meat browns a deep color without burning.
Transfer beef to a heavy 6-quart casserole.
Add water, tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper to pan drippings in beefs original skillet; bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, scrape brown particles clinging to the bottom and sides of pan; pour scrapings over meat in casserole.
Bring meat and liquid to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover casserole tightly and simmer 1 1/4 hours.
Meanwhile, peel onions and add to casserole at the end of 1 1/4 hours; cover and cook 30 minutes longer, or until beef and onions are tender.
Stir in cheese; simmer, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese softens and is heated through.
Taste to correct seasonings. Serve directly from casserole.