14ymedio, Isaac Nahon Serfaty, 10 May 2016 — Cuba is now the Disneyland of the fashion show business. The list of celebrities who go to the island as almost archeological tourists is growing every day. The Mummy Stones, the Lagerfield effigy, and the inevitable voluptuous Kardashion have made their Havana pilgrimage. From Miami comes a cruise ship acclaimed by local enthusiasts. The gringos, like the expected Mr. Marshall from Garcia Berlanga’s film, wander along the Malecon and enjoy their mojitos. Fascinated, they discover a theme park populated by dilapidated American sedans, Old Havana with its architectural gems both restored and in ruins, and a people hungry for change. All this under the admiring acclaim of Western media fascinated by a supposed “opening” in the Pearl of the Caribbean.
It is worth the exercise of historic imagination to show the inconsistency of the liberal politicians and the enthusiastic journalists. Let’s consider, for example, that some legendary rockers, a fashion designer and an exemplar of the “beautiful people” had decided to visit Chile in the times of Pinochet to celebrate the economic opening implemented by the dictator at the hands of his neoliberal technocrats.
It is not difficult to imagine the reaction, fully justified, of leftist intellectuals and politicians: “What barbarity to endorse the bloody dictator!” “We must reject this propaganda maneuver of Yankee imperialism!” “Enough with the manipulation to conquer the fragile minds of our people, poor victims of industrial culture!” “Let’s boycott the music, clothes and porno photos of these agents of imperialism!” And so we could continue with variations on the same manifestations of indignation.
However, when this happens in the Cuba controlled by the monarchical Castro dictatorship, everything is all parties and laughter. Who gives a crap if the repression against political dissidents continues? Who cares if the regime’s propaganda machinery continues to vomit its hollow slogans while it limits freedom of expression? Who worries about the refugees escaping the island for the United States (via Costa Rica, for example), before Obama, or whoever succeeds him, eliminates the privilege of the Cuban Adjustment Act? Who denounces the military nomenklatura that controls the state enterprises, collecting bribes and preparing the terrain for an economic opening in the style of savage capitalism?
The hypocrisy of the leftist pimps has annulled their critical capacity. They is not capable of digesting that in their breast there is too much corruption (so says Lula); that with the excuse of the liberation of the people they proclaim a discourse of anti-Semitic hatred (as some in the British Labour Party say); with the alibi of the struggle against injustice and inequality they mount a new class of privileged cynics (so say the “bolichicos”—the young and politically connected Venezuelan entrepreneurs—of Chavism).
Carlos Rangel, a Venezuelan writer prematurely disappeared and despised by this left, in the seventies drew the portrait of that intellectual misery that idealizes the myth of the “good revolutionary.” Myths are not only symbolic resources. They are instruments to legitimize interests and businesses, like those now being cooked up in Cuba-Disneyland.
Editor ‘s note: Isaac Nahon Serfaty is professor at the University of Ottawa (Canada). This text has been published in the Spanish newspaper El País and is reproduced here with the author’s consent.