By Martin Guevara (Che's dissident nephew) in The Havana Times:
Cuba gets High Fashion with No Shame
Mao, Lenin, Trotsky, Ulan Bator, Ho Chi Min, Tito, even Stalin, they all had the decency to die as the mass murderers they were, sticking to their principles and their messianic madness, varnished with claims of a struggle on behalf of the proletariat.
But Raul and Fidel Castro, the sultans, they’re okay with everything provided the world allows them to continue enjoying the benefits of their absolutist monarchy.
A daughter of the Cuban monarch, as well as a son and grandson of the voracious emperor and demiurge Fidel, attended Chanel’s May 3 fashion show down Havana’s Paseo promenade.
Average citizens, who could never in their lives dream of buying even the cheapest of these French perfumes, were kept at bay, three hundred meters away, by a thick police line.
Even for me, who has always regarded them as barefaced liars who were never true communists or anything having to do with altruism and utopias, who know very well that what has moved them their entire lives has been something as base as absolute power, could not have imagined they would be so shameless, so brass, as to do something like this.
It is unbearable to see these tyrants, who spent their lives repressing people, celebrate something that represents everything that was once strictly forbidden by them.
Elitism, an apologetics of class differences, high living standards, consumerism, the right to accumulate wealth, the freedom to dress in the style one chooses, capitalist good taste, bourgoeis excellent taste, the importance of owning more than our peers, these things probably are best represented by the Chanel brand and its yearly fashion show.
This is total bullshit!
This high fashion show in the heart of Havana, staged for the enjoyment of bigwigs and their relatives, businesspeople and the jet set at the moment when the population faces the cruelest hardships, strikes one as an unnecessary act of cruelty, as pure mockery, a show of power, particularly so close to the categorical announcement that new restrictions are coming, frustrating hopes of political change, economic improvement, greater participation by civil society in decisions affecting Cuba’s future and dumping a bucket of ice water on the people at the close of the Party Congress.
Following these incursions by mid-sized capital, penetrating the island like survey balloons, the big fish are sure to come and then, once the unwritten non-aggression and even mutual cooperation pacts with big Western powers are closed, the opposition, the conscientious objectors, the prisoners, the dissatisfied, the disaffected, those against the monarchy of the Castromasov Brothers, will truly have a tremendously lonely road and many sacrifices ahead, deprived of all international solidarity.
Surprisingly, people are starting to rebel precisely when the world offers the dynasty more support than ever (thanks to the concessions made by the big boss), at a time when Western democracies are sure to turn a blind eye on human rights violations on the island.
We run the risk of seeing what happened in Russia or China: when Coca Cola and Chase Manhattan got in, big capital stopped caring about the rights of the opposition.
Now, when abuses against those who think different cease to be news for media corporations is when we must be more vigilant and outspoken than ever.
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