False Image of Cuba in France

Carlos Fraguela

La-cubanero-(2)HAVANA TIMES – A Cuban friend of mine was recently in France. While there, he dropped in to check out a festival that the French Communist Party holds every year featuring exhibits from the Communist Parties of the world and their affiliates. My friend told me that he enjoyed some of the concerts that were part of the event, but that in other ways he was disappointed.

According to my friend, there were stalls with representatives from each country, as well as national food or drinks. Of course there were some exhibits where Cuba should have been represented, but there were no Cubans there, only many Cuban flags. Instead of Cubans, there were only French at the stalls. Except for the Cuban exhibit, all of the countries were represented by natives.

“They sold the worst revolutionary mojito in the world, and supposedly the most authentic Cuban beer in history: “Cubanero”, 100 percent Cuban; with a label that was identical to our local Bucanero beer, but with the name changed to read “Cubanero.”

prices-franceMy friend asked one of the French attendants who offered it to him where it was from, and he responded proudly that it originated in Cuba and was exported by the Cubans themselves. To this, my friend replied ironically that he was a Cuban and had never seen it in his life.

The Frenchman responded with great embarrassment that he knew nothing about it. There were a lot of people there with Che pullovers, young people smoking cigars without the least idea of how. The only Cubans there were Rene Gonzales (one of two released Cuban Five members), who was speaking, and two salsa groups that no one in Cuba knows of. The emblematic image of Che from the Cuban photographer Korda, was being used as a background for the prices at the Bar, revealing a discordant mixture of ideology and marketing, or perhaps just the ignorance of the person in charge.

It was a huge disillusionment for my friend, because he felt that the image of Cuba that they used was completely false and that they were making money off of it. In the end, the only events of interest were the very good concerts that he saw.

9 thoughts on “False Image of Cuba in France

  • The Castro revolution is a disaster.
    To order a “Cuba Libre” in Santiago you just pass your hand in a downward motion over your face while closing it (beard) and then draw your finger across your throat (death).
    Beard = Fidel.
    Death (to Fidel) = freedom for Cuba
    Cuba Libre.

  • Lots of people in Europe still have the “May ’68” view of Fidel and Che.
    While the intellectuals of these days have for the most part moved on condemned – or at least stopped supporting – the dictatorship.
    The mythical Che is still alive in Europe and certainly in France. The pro-Castro lobby in France is consisting mainly of non Cubans. They are aggressive and I have knowledge of some of them going to jail for their actions. There is a busy online element that insults, defames and even threatens those that oppose the regime.
    These groups are very active to misinform the French public mainly working on the communist party and its sympathizers. Few know about the murderous actions, the racism and the homophobia of Che. You will see young people protesting against racism wearing a Che T-shirt. They believe the mythical lie.
    But Che is more than that.
    From the sale of the obvious T-shirts over “Che” branded products (beer, bottled mojito, hats and caps, clothing, watches…) there is a large range of products on the market.
    Ironically: when RSF (Reporters Without Borders) used the head of the Korda Che picture and put in on a body of a thug with a police truncheon in his hand with the arm held above his head in a motion to strike, the Guevara family acted against it and one of their arguments was that their copyright was violated. In their attempt to save the political mythical icon the reverted to base economical arguments. The reason was simple: as a political parody they would have been able to get it removed.
    Ironically that same family later complained about the “commercialization” of Che while at the same time refusing permission of publication and or use of Che material without paying royalties.
    As usual they want to have it both ways.
    Che is a mythical political person in France – and elsewhere – for the uninformed and misled and a commercial icon. The “Ernesto” perfume was not without reason developed together with French companies. All the people at the French communist party would have had no problem buying it. Some of the true believers would even see it as an act of worship.
    The story of the image of Che is one of deceit and hypocrisy both in Cuba and the rest of the world.

  • DIPSHITE …….. Try and put drink images next to Che and see what you get …. It cost snirnoff $2’2 million …. cardie xxx

  • Buchanero is actually produced under an agreement with Labatts. At Heritage Days in Edmonton this year, there were 62 different pavilions, each one representing a different country. The Cuban pavilion was manned by Cubans. As far as I am aware, the Castro family regime Intelligence Service was unrepresented and there were no ‘Che’ shirts in sight. We can only hope that in the future the event can host one of the Canadian business men following release from Cuba’s jails and that they can give a talk on why not to invest in the Castro family regime’s Cuba.
    It is amazing that Cuba’s sacred name can be used for a beer. The executive Committee of the Council of Ministers might have something to say about that!

  • Castro’s revolution has turned nearly everything Cuban on its side. The best Cuban food and the best Cuban restaurants are in Miami and the best Cuban baseball players play for Oakland, Los Angeles and Chicago. The best Cuban dancer in the world lives in London and the best Havana Club rum private reserve collectors edition ($200 per bottle) isn’t sold in Cuba.

  • The revolution can’t even claim the mojito. That is a product of a wealthy pre revolutionary Cuba

  • “Cubanero” beer is produced at the same Bucanero brewery in Holguin. The product is sold as “Cubanero” outside of Cuba due to trademark conflicts.

    The image of Cuba presented at the fair is a fairly accurate representation of the false image of Cuba presented by the Cuban government to the Cuban people: plenty of flags, a bit of salsa music, Che marketing gimmicks, crappy beer and a spy trotted out to provide propaganda.

  • how sad that the cuban revolution has ended in tshirts and mojitos

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