The Cafe-con-Leche Cubanologists

The Spaniard Ana Hurtado and Mexican Jerónimo Zarco, visiting Cuba last week, invited by the regime. (Twitter/@Ana_Hurtado86)

By Yoani Sanchez (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – Their tongues give them away. As soon as they get off the plane they begin to blurt our phrases like “you have no idea what you have here,” “life out there is very hard,” or “with this sun, what more do you want.” While saying things like that, they take some photos in the most hackneyed tourist places, drink a mojito to the health of some guerrilla, and publish a couple of photos on social media with the blue sea as a background.

The café-con-leche-Cubanologists come to explain our own country to us and convince us to accept, here, what they wouldn’t stand for should it happen in their country. With a foreign accent and academic titles that no one can verify, they stand on the peak of their ego and speak to us as if we were tiny ants who don’t understand the need to sacrifice ourselves for a greater good. They throw in our faces that we must sacrifice ourselves so that they can point to a map and say that “utopia” has been installed on this Caribbean island.

When a skinny woman asks them for something to eat on the terrace of a luxurious restaurant in Old Havana, they assure her that gluten is bad for one’s health and that it is best not to eat red meat, while the steak overflows on their plates along with a few slices of freshly baked baguette. They are the same ones who accuse Cuba’s July 11th (11J) protesters of being violent vandals, while they incite the burning of police cars in their cities and, in their own lives, have thrown more cobblestones than flowers.

The café-con-leche-Cubanologists question why we complain about power outages if blackouts help prolong the life of the planet; they lament that we insist on having a supply of drinking water when we could drink with our cupped hands from the rivers (they do not know that most of the streams in the country are polluted or dry), and they tell us that we are complainers for demanding shoes for our children when the contact of feet with the earth is the most recommended for energy… health and other theories of the sort.

They love to get close to power. They have a special fascination for being invited to an official reception, allowed to speak in the University of Havana’s Great Hall, and getting a decoration pinned on their lapel. Because these so-called experts on the Island consider us restless and misguided children, who do not know how to value what we have, and who must be dealt with with a heavy hand, very heavy. They like it when dictators help them maintain the colorful vignette of paradise that they advertise on their Facebook or TikTok streams.

Nothing annoys a café-con-leche-Cubanologist more than his own object of study denying him. Like on that day when people came out shouting the word “Freedom” in the streets of the Island, or the growing numbers of those who throw themselves into the sea to escape this system, or when patients show through images and testimonies the profound deterioration of the public health system. This causes them deep discomfort, because their doctoral thesis is not designed to include all possible variables, but a single and unquestionable conclusion.

The café-con-leche-Cubanologists have been declining and are becoming more and more pathetic. Once there were Nobel Prize winners, renowned artists and illustrious professors. But over time, such an occupation has become so painful and unsustainable that they have been deserting en masse, to take refuge in silence or to channel their “talent” towards other geographies. But there are still some, pathetic and pernicious.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

6 thoughts on “The Cafe-con-Leche Cubanologists

  • Nick says Yoani is a brave and brilliant polemicist. Her put-downs of those whose political opinions differ from hers are clever, sharp and utterly disdainful. I hope she continues to put her work out there. Hum. The Cuban dictatorship is so open to diversity, opinions , ideas and ideologies. And we all should be happy that the Cuban government haven’t send someone to kill Yoani like it would happen somewhere else. The Cuban regime is not that bad after all. Keep you wonderful work Yoani .

  • Cafe con leche Cubanologists

    They use to call them “useful idiots”

  • i curumba or is it lepinga, I have no idea & never did learn that language from the streets when a New tourist turned their backs. Coffee I just brought lots of Columbian that may have pissed off the one that never tasted real coffee that was not burnt beyond Black from the dried green. 25 pounds only goes so far with friends & family.

  • Yoani deserves all the praise and prizes and dollars she gets.
    I respect her decision to remain in Havana. And it gives her writing the authenticity it needs. She is a prickly thorn in the side of the government. And let’s be realistic, she is way, way safer in her beloved Havana than a government critic would be in places such as Saudi Arabia or Russia to name but two of many places where government criticism is infinitely more dangerous.
    Maybe one day this whole world will be perfect. Don’t hold yer breath.

    Yoani is a brave and brilliant polemicist. Her put-downs of those whose political opinions differ from hers are clever, sharp and utterly disdainful. I hope she continues to put her work out there.

    I can only add that I take my coffee straight no milk.
    Sometimes the best thing in Cuba is to get right out into the more remote villages. The parts that many of the peacocks from Havana would never see in a million lifetimes.
    I got a dear friend who has a coffee bush out back. By the well. And just round from where he keeps the pigs (you need to rear the pigs away from the well – obviously).
    Beautiful. Best coffee ever. Far away from the Habana Vieja cafes mentioned in the article.
    And no milk. Coz even if I did like my coffee spoilt by cows milk, out there it’s not on the menu!! It’s reserved for children. By law (and long tradition).

  • The use of the term “cafe-con-leche” is interesting. I can count the number of good cups of coffee I had in Cuba, over 2 1/2 weeks, on the fingers of one hand. That’s because most of Cuba’s coffee is exported, so ordinary Cubans are left with brand X Nescafe.
    So, somebody should ask the cafe-con-leche people why this is.

  • When democracy finally comes to Cuba, hopefully in this lifetime, I hope that Yoani is duly recognized for her contributions to the cause. Imagine what her daily life must be like? Yes, she is famous outside of Cuba and relative to the average Cuban in Cuba, she has been economically rewarded. Not by Western standards but as a Cuban in Cuba, yes. But she is infamous in Cuba. Imagine how many pro-Castro nutjobs would physically attack her with no prompting just to make a name for themselves with the dictatorship? She could have left Cuba many years ago and yet she endures. I really enjoy visiting Cuba and have done so more than 20 times over many years. But I couldn’t live there. I enjoy air-conditioning, running water and working elevators too much. Outside of only the best hotels, all of these basic commodities are a luxury for the average Cuban. Anyway, the Cafe-con-Leche Cubanologists that Yoani writes about is the typical Castro sycophant who comments on this blog. It will be interesting to see if any one of them deigns to comment on her article. The sad truth about these folks is how naive they really are. They write about how happy Cubans are and how polite the police are to them. Because they bring a suitcase with them to Cuba full of trinkets they bought at the Dollar store near their home, they feel as though St. Peter himself should meet them at the Aduana when they arrive at Jose Marti International. On any given day of the week you can spot them at those pricey cafés in Havana Vieja sipping their café con leches while lamenting how they are glad that they “discovered” Cuba before it changes. As if change would be a bad thing. Here’s the worst part: most of them can’t wait to take salsa dancing classes taught by dark-skinned Cuban women and men. The darker, the better! But let that same Cuban walk down their street back wherever they’re from? The racist short hairs on the back of their necks stand up. I applaud Yoani for her perseverance and I couldn’t agree more with her about the folks she writes about in this post.

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