14ymedio, Havana, 29 February 2016 — “If you see someone with a Che T-shirt that person is a foreigner; but if they are wearing a United States flag, you can be sure it is a Cuban,” quipped an illegal tourist guide, while showing his customers the numerous trinkets with the Argentine guerrilla’s face as one more commodity. For less than 20 convertible pesos, a tourist can get the black beret and some other souvenir with the blue bars and white star to complete his “revolutionary costume.”
However, young people in Cuba seem interested in following other fashions, far from the ideological kitsch. The brand names of the capitalist world are here to stay and it doesn’t matter if the clothes are original or poor quality copies, the priority for many is the size of the logo that attests to their manufacture outside the national borders.
It is not difficult to find images like the one above, where you can see a foreigner sporting a T-shirt with the famous Korda photo and a short distance away, a young Cuban sporting one with the Adidas logo. The symbols of foreign industry will win the battle of popularity over those with patriotic and political symbolism. The latter is now pure merchandise to sell to tourists in products that cater to other than consumer appetites.