Bourdain's Full-Circle on Cuba

Monday, July 11, 2011
Tonight, the Travel Channel aired Anthony Bourdain's season premiere of "No Reservations" in Cuba.

The episode was fairly consistent with his pre-show interviews.

As expected, he didn't march down La Quinta Avenida with the Ladies in White, but he didn't gush all over his regime minders either -- although he did (disappointingly) spend most, if not all, of his time with them.

Must have been the price to pay for permission to film.

To be fair, Bourdain did point out some the regime's political controls and tourism apartheid, which frankly, most other traveling media personalities are all-too-happy to conceal.

Unfortunately, he did so while giving Cuba's brutal regime a popular platform to promote its tourism (and thus, apartheid).

The central (and recurring) theme of the show was that Havana is beautiful because it has been frozen in time (pre-1959 to be exact) and that everyone should see it now -- even if it means feeding a repressive regime -- before it gets "contaminated" by American consumer culture, or before it becomes like Miami (with its -- gasp -- roaming free people).

Yet, wasn't pre-1959 Havana supposedly "contaminated" by American consumer culture?

Thus, everything that awed Bourdain about Havana existed pre-Castro (with its supposed American consumer culture) -- and will surely exist post-Castro (with whatever the Cuban people freely desire).

In other words, he did a 52-year full-circle on Cuba -- with countless (and unnecessary) death, imprisonment, torture, suffering and exile in between.

So, in the meantime, why keep filling Castro's repressive blank?