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Cuban delusions

This guy clearly is not impressed by the recent Hollywood film about ‘Che’ Guevara, which I will not be watching:

I wish that Mr. Soderbergh and Mr. Del Toro could live in Cuba, not as the pampered VIPs that they are when they visit today, but as Cubans do, with no United States Constitutional rights, with ration cards entitling them to tiny portions of provisions that the stores don’t even stock anyway, with chivatos surveilling them constantly. How long would it be before Mr. Soderbergh started sizing up inner tubes, speculating on the durability and buoyancy of them, asking himself, could I make the crossing on that? How long before Mr. Del Toro started gazing soulfully at divorced or widowed tourist women, hoping to seduce and marry one of them and get out? Only then could they see why this insipid, frivolous and pretentious movie they have made is nothing less than an insult to millions of people, who really do live like that, and who’ve lived like that their entire lives.

The quote was seen at the blog of David Thompson.

I have said it before and I will repeat: for all its possible charms, I am not setting foot in Cuba until it becomes a haven of capitalist decadence. Not a minute before. Even if that means paying more for cigars and the booze.

Here is a film about Cuba, starring Andy Garcia, which is much more worthwhile.

14 comments to Cuban delusions

  • On the Dry Tortugas (just off Key West) the Park Rangers have an exhibition of “boats” that Cubans have used to get the USA. You should see them. Anybody who dares 90 miles of open seas in anything like those leaky, home-spun tubs really, really wants out very badly.

  • Thomas

    I did not know that. While “Dry Tortugas” doesn’t sound inviting, it is in Florida, and I’ve a mind to go see it, and carry the pics on my new iPod. (My old iPod had “free health care” — me — hence the need for a new iPod.) Next time some moonbat starts going on about the wonders of socialism…

  • RAB

    That iconic photo with the beret and cool long hair of the mad murdering bastard is all my leftie aquaintances seem to know about Che, apart from him being “murdered” in Bolivia.

    Well the picture I want to see on T shirts and posters of the lunatic old wheezer, is the one the Sunday Times Mag published a few years ago.

    It is of him chipping out of a bunker on the golf course at the Royal Rio Country club (he was a poor little rich kid after all).
    Let’s see how cool his revolutionary credentials stand up with the loony left, when that one circulates!

  • I’ve long said that we need a “Commieland” theme park in which visitors can spend time in realistic simulations of each of the various Commie utopias at their height – all made non-lethal, of course, so the visitors can actually get out with their lives. This would be roughly based upon Disneyland/Disneyworld, but with a Commie twist on each part.

    Instead of a Monorail, entry/exit and vehicular transport within the park would be by railroad cattlecar. Entry would require changing all your cash into Commieland scrip, which you would either have to spend entirely within the park or forfeit upon exit. There would be a “zipline” for escaping across the Berlin Wall, daily Cultural Revolution parades in Maoland, etc. Visitors would be arrested randomly in public by plainclothes secret police, then spirited off to the Commieland jail, then randomly released sometime later after interrogation for crimes against the people (after they signed full confessions, of course), etc.

  • Eric

    I like that Commieland idea. One additional touch, though – they should get loads of Commieland script, but the park should be nearly devoid of anything to buy.

  • Ian

    I have been to Cuba in the last year (at the in laws insistance and on their dime thankfully) and it was a surreal experience to say the least.

    Three things struck me about Cuba for the 7 days we were there. The feeling of constant surveillance – my in laws thought I was being paranoid but I often felt like there were eyes on us (as in the general man on the street). Even when we were just on the beach I was almost positive that the bar tender was actually just another security guy in plain clothes.

    Also, when one travels outside the resort the countryside seems drastically under utilized. Given the climate I expected more crops to be under cultivation but there were large tracts of land that were just sitting fallow with bits of old equipment randomly dispersed throughout them rusting away.

    The most strange feeling though is coming down by the harbour in Havana and seeing streets and squares that were obviously laid out for commerce to be nothing but houses. There were very few stores or cafes (almost exclusively in the hotels) and it gave the place a very strange feeling. It was gorgeous to look at (well the restored bits anyway) but it just felt dead.

    That being said if the Castro’s ever do kick off and the Cuba’s can find someone more librally minded to run the place it is a beautiful place to visit and I’m sure there will be lots of money to be made in Havana once commerce is allowed again.

  • veryretired

    “The Lost City” is a very good movie, and the music is fabulous. It was an independent act of love by Andy Garcia, who plays the main character.

    One of the interesting aspects of the story for me was that, along with the German movie “Lives of Others”, it revolves around the repression of the artistic spirit by communism.

    For so many years, we were subjected to the repeated calumny that it was capitalism and commercialism that stifled the artistic soul, while collectivism and non-commercialism set the muses of art and culture free.

    I can only imagine, and hope for, the discomfort of one of these apologists for tyranny while watching either movie accurately portray the truth—that it is collectivist regimentation that is forced by its own perverted inner logic to suppress and destroy the artist who demands to freely express his art.

    In a world awash in collectivist horse manure, such stories are a fleeting scent of rose petals on the breeze, to be treasured for the momentary respite from the odor of decay.

  • Ian. Your comments about Havana remind me of Dubrovnik under the Commies.

    Commieland. Well some chap in one of the Baltic states did build “Stalin World”.

  • Millie Woods

    If you want to see what Cuba is really like get the film about Cuban jazz musicians, The Buenavista Social Club. Decrepit living spaces, sewage running in the streets yuch! I’m astonished that the authorities allowed the film crew to shoot it at all.

  • RAB

    Well yes Millie, but you see they probably dont notice such things, even for propaganda purposes anymore.

    The music is retro too. Nothing has “Evolved” since the 50s and Batista. It is music that Fred and Ginger would have danced to, let alone Castro and Che (did they dance? ever?? in their pathetic little military garb? Boy did they have an easy time of taking over that country militarily wise!

    It is frozen in time (1960) like the Chevys held together with string and cellotape, and the grand Colonial buildings rotting like bad teeth, everything is said, but nothing is done (ever heard a Castro speech!)

    Why not lift the trade embargo, I could never see the sense in it. Capitalism trumps Communism every time…

  • Millie Woods

    Rab, I know about the music because I had students from the Cuban consulate in Montreal in some of my language courses at McGill. They sat there sour, dour and uncommunicative throughout the session but showered me with presents at Christmas – some really horrible music and absolutely wonderful bacardi rum. One of my colleagues of Russian origin who spoke Spanish went to Cuba on a vacation when the Russians were still there. He would bicycle around speaking to Russian army personnel and reported how they hated and were contemptuous of the Cubans.
    The Cuban consulate in Montreal during the Cold War was larger than the embassy in Ottawa and so was the Russian consulate. Both were actively involved in supporting and conniving with the separatist movement in Quebec.

  • Kyle

    Lifting the embargo is probably the fastest way to liberalize the country; no one wants liberty more than a growing middle class that suddenly realizes they have something to lose.

  • Sunfish

    Kyle-
    Sending thousands of American tourists to a Spanish-speaking country is damn near an act of war.

    Picture an old guy in pastel-and-flourescent clothes:

    “Hey, you speak English?”

    “?Que`? Disculpe, pero no hablo Ingles.”

    “I SAID, DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH, BOY???”

    I say that because I’ve seen it. It was the one and only time I can remember being ashamed of where I got my passport. Memo to the whole world: going to another country without learning the language is just plain RUDE.

    But as soon as that evil bearded motherf***er dies, I’ll be booking my flight. All four of my H.S. Spanish teachers were Cuban, came here in the 1960′s as children. And from how they describe it, it would be about the neatest place on the planet if it weren’t for the communists.

  • James

    Out of sheer curiousity, has anybody else come across the Ché Bar chain?

    (Link)

    One’s just opened up in my hometown (which would suit our Cuba-loving MP down to the ground).

    I’m slightly surprised that, after doing a little bit of digging on the Internet, I couldn’t find a peep of disdain from anybody about these bars, which seem to revel in the ‘fun’ aspect of Ché. Ignorance must be bliss…