The Castros and the Hiltons: Shamelessness and Nepotism

Paris-and-Fidelito
Paris Hilton and Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart at this year’s Havana cigar festival. Photo: AP

By Martin Guevara*

HAVANA TIMES – What an impressive load of garbage the Cuban revolution ended up being. Its pestilence has surprised even those of us who thought we could expect just about any form of opportunism from it.

The most shameful thing isn’t the fact Fidel and Raul Castro are handing the country over to big capital on a silver platter, preventing small and mid-sized Cuban companies from developing and taking those privileged market positions.

As they are finally ditching the last acts of that socialist show they were putting on to deceive the most unconditionally loyal of the lot, they could well allow a new and celebrated business class of Cubans (both on the island and abroad) to lead the change.

The worst, however, isn’t this, but the fact they should become friends with the United States – the cradle of innumerable democratic, civic, cultural and world-renowned vanguard values – and that their first guests should be only Paris Hilton and England’s Naomi Campbell.

This is not accidental – it is a symbolic gesture that betrays a tendency, a profound and long-held desire, whose realization was postponed while the island was able to live off other patrons.

What a sham the revolution and its leaders have proven to be.

I would love to look at those who would beat their chests and yell “socialism or death!” straight in the eye and question those who would deprive those of us who admired countries in the West for their freedom of expression, plurality and culture. What could they possibly tell us now? That Paris Hilton represents the exploited workers of the United States, that she is a shining beacon of progressive thought or an icon of the counter-culture vanguard?

I won’t deny my satisfaction at seeing them gradually reveal their filth, the one they’ve always harbored and I knew too well, the filth they kept half-hidden. What ideological discourse are they going to use now to keep the obsequious “lefties” (not to be confused with the true Left) in line?

The visit of the US and British luminaries – the militant Naomi Campbell and illustrious Paris Hilton, two tireless champions of civil rights and defenders of the dispossessed, two examples of the best of culture, irreverent, first-class artists, revolutionaries in all aspects we could consider – made me remember a couple of things.

One thing I noticed while looking at the photos of the joyful party attended by Fidel Castro’s first-born son and the great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotel founder Conrad Hilton, builder of the Hotel where I stayed for three bitter-sweet years in Havana, is that they both feel proud of their supine uselessness, of being renowned thanks only to the excesses or business ventures of their respective fathers.

The other thing I recalled was that, in Cuba, absolute power, people’s lives and deaths, were in the hands of Fidel. The army belonged to his brother Raul, bovine cattle to his brother Ramon and the Federation of Cuban Women to Raul’s wife and Fidel’s sister-in-law, Vilma Espin, while the fate of nuclear physics on the island was dictated by Paris Hilton’s new admirer, Fidel Castro Diaz Balart (son of Fidel).

Today, Cuba’s entire baseball franchise is in the hands of another of Fidel’s sons, in a short while the army will be under the command of one of Raul’s sons and Fidel’s nephews and, to top things off, even anti-establishment movements are run by the family: the LGTB community in Cuba is led by Raul’s daughter (to be fair, she strikes me as more authentic than the rest. She may have secured the position through her own merit, but she is still Fidel Castro’s niece, and we don’t know how her work in defense of those most severely marginalized by the male-chauvinism and homophobia of the revolution would have unfolded otherwise, after receiving the first blows for siding with such a deviation from “revolutionary manliness,” as her uncle was wont to say).

This is what I was reminded of when I saw Fidel’s eldest warmly embracing the useless daughter of another powerful man.

I wonder how many modern or ancient monarchies, dynasties or dictatorships have presented us with such total shamelessness. We may have to go far back in time, to the long-lasting Ching Dynasty, to find a similar degree of nepotism.
—–

(*) Visit Martin Guevara’s blog (in Spanish)

 



30 thoughts on “The Castros and the Hiltons: Shamelessness and Nepotism

  • Absolute power means unlimited access to sexual opportunity

    thus does anybody know if Paris HIlton slept alone those nights in Havana.

    Reply
    • Lawrence, as far as we know Paris Hilton was a Mother Teresa-type angel on her visit to Cuba. But, you know, she is an adult so I guess it’s her business. And “Nepotism?” I thought that mainly pertained to the Miami-based Diaz-Balarts.

      Reply
      • Rich: The Havana branch of the Diaz-Balarts are the main beneficiaries of nepotism. The Cuba government, run by his father and uncle, appointed him in a cushy job. The Miami Diaz-Balarts actually got elected on their own efforts.

        Laurence: Yes, the Cuban Dirección de Inteligencia knows who Paris Hilton slept with while she was in Cuba, and every word she spoke, texted or tweeted on her bejewelled smartphone.

        Reply
        • Do you have actual factual proof that the CDI tapped that phone in a manner I thought only employed by the U.S. intelligence agencies on its own people ?
          Everything I’ve heard from enemies and even friends of the revolution says the Cubans would lack the technology and money to do this. i

          Reply
          • Of course I do not have “actual factual”, as I am not one of the 15,000 employees of the CDI and they don’t often publish they work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirección_General_de_Inteligencia

            However, it is a reasonable supposition given the widely published and multiple reports that the Cuban intelligence agency does tap the phones and bug he rooms of visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Hell, they bugged the Pope’s hotel room when he visited Cuba… http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-01-11/news/9801110216_1_vatican-spokesman-joaquin-navarro-valls-bug-device

            Cuba lack the technology? Are you serious? The Cuban intelligence agency was trained by the East German Stasi. So yes, they have the technology and they know how to use it. As for lacking the money, funding their state security apparatus is budget priority #1 of the Castro regime.

            Tapping phone lines and bugging hotel rooms is basic work. The Cubans excel at surveillance. In the evidence the Cubans revealed during their trial of Allan Gross it was obvious they had the man under surveillance, direct and electronic, from the first day he arrived in Cuba.

            When I was in Cuba I watched a Cuban news program on TV about the feared and hated “cyber terrorist” Yoani Sanchez. The footage was clearly recorded from surveillance cameras and audio they used included her telephone conversations. The style was rather heavy handed but the message was clear: The State is Watching!

            The fact you admit to never hearing anything of the sort only demonstrates your near complete ignorance of the Cuban reality. You know John, you really ought to visit Cuba sometime. It close by, cheap, and legal to do so. Or are you afraid your cherished illusions won’t survive the encounter with reality?

          • Griffin, I bet I’ve spent 3x’s the time you have in Cuba, and I still prefer that government and system to my own. BTW, don’t you know that John is prohibited from going there by his government ?

          • John is not prohibited fro going to Cuba. He is perfectly free to visit to Cuba for “purposeful travel”, and what better purpose could John serve than to mount the dais in Revolution Square where he could explain to the assembled throngs (of tourists) that Cuba is not a socialist country, but capitalist.

          • You really don’t know Cuba. The ONE thing they do have the money and technology to do is spy on fellow Cubans. They may not have the latest technology in all cases but they know how to get the job done.

  • Perfectly said. Thank s!

    Reply
  • One can take it for granted that Paris does not sleep alone

    This is not an idle question

    Unlimited access to women is one of the hallmarks of absolute power…

    Reply
  • Tsk, tsk, Martin… Aren’t you being a touch harsh on these celebrities? After all, Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell have something very important in common with Fidel Castro: they are all hideous narcissists.

    You could say, they deserve each other.

    Reply
  • Fidel, who banned all statues , official pictures and other likenesses of himself throughout his leadership of Cuba was a “hideous narcissist.
    Brilliant observation.
    And the man in the picture is not Fidel who did not meet with Paris.
    it was one of his kids.
    Can’t you leave the simplemindedness to Moses ?

    Reply
    • Once again John reveals that he has never been to Cuba, and so doesn’t know anything about the posters of Fidel and Raul plastered up in every shop and office, or the billboards with inane Fidel “quotations” that line every roadside and the front page of every Granma, or that his scarcely coherent “reflections” are recited as the top item on the evening news. Fidel’s narcissism and need for constant praise are absolutely legendary – read any first-hand account, even by an admirer such as Garcia Marquez. FC knew that to seduce a well-educated nation such as Cuba, and avoid embarrassing his admirers in the West, he would need a more modern, less crude, personality cult than the sort cultivated by Stalin and Kim il Sung. But a personality cult it is, nonetheless.

      Reply
      • SFB,
        I clearly said that Fidel banned all official pictures and statues of himself which put the lie to that charge of narcissism . You choose to try to divert the debate and thereby shot yourself down. to wit:
        If the Cuban people, totally on their own , choose to put up whatever pictures they can find of him, those actions speak for themselves; they love Fidel and the Revolution and you don’t like that sentiment
        Second , please reprint any of the parts of Fidel’s “Reflections” columns that you find “scarcely coherent ” and I’ll explain them to you .
        I’d also like a few samples of the “inane ..quotations” that you mentioned are posted everywhere so we can discuss what and who is inane .
        Bring it on.

        Reply
        • Clearly you don’t understand what the word Narcissism means. Wikipedia describes it as “the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes” …no statues or portraits required. And you only need be familiar with the crazy edicts of the Castro regime over the years to see that Castro,is among other things, a textbook narcissist

          Reply
          • Read the description, it’s a perfect fit.

            Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a Cluster B personality disorder[1] in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process.

            Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-5, include:[6]

            A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifested by:

            1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):

            a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.

            b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.

            AND

            2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):

            a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.

            b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain

            B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:

            Antagonism, characterized by:

            a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.

            b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

            It’s no coincidence all of the worst tyrants of the 20th Century had NPD: Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Guevara, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Mengistu, Ceausescu, Saddam, Gadaffi, Idi Amin, the Kims of North Korea, and yes, Fidel Castro.

          • oh Sh^t….after reading some of that, I think I might just be a narcissist too!

        • In Cuba anything that can be put up in public is “official”. You pathetic “semantics” claiming that Cubans that have no paint to paint their houses would “spontaneously” start painting Fidel on state controlled billboards is ludicrous and shows you are disingenuous.

          Reply
        • John, do you have any idea to which extent you have destroyed the credibility that you may have had by claiming the posters, billboards, …. with images of Fidel Castro are anything but government sanctioned, created and sponsored?
          Castro’s sycophants in the regime create this officially sanctioned propaganda images to flatter the old dictator.

          Reply
        • ja ja ja “If the Cuban people, totally on their own , choose…Los cubanos no elegimos nada, absolutamente nada. Sus fotos son obligatorias en todos los centros de trabajo del estado, escuelas, hospitals… puede ser que algun loco ponga una foto en su casa por elección propia, pero esos, le garantizo, son minorías. Usted se quedó en aquel famoso discurso por los 80 en el que fidel dijo que en Cuba no había culto a la personalidad: una mentira total! La mayoría de las personas que apoyan el sistema en Cuba, ni siquiera tienen un pensamiento sincero de izquierda, simlemente son Fidelistas, justo como resultado del culto que se ejerce sobre su personalidad. De cualquier modo, lo más relevante de esta noticia es que uno de sus hijos, un científico dedicado al studio de la Energía Nuclear, se haga participe del mundo superfluo y capitalista que tanto critica nuestro sistema

          Reply
  • Hmmmmm…nepotism ?
    Isn’t that when members of the same family rule in continuous fashion from one to the other say , like the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons in the USA.
    By comparison , the brothers Castro are rank amateurs in the nepotism business.

    Reply
    • The US politicians you named did not “rule in continuous fashion from one to the other”. The Castro’s have ruled for 56 years, making their’s the second longest political dynasty in the world, after their allies, the Kims of North Korea.

      Reply
      • Teddy and FDR were only very distantly related and happen to share the same surname. And I’m not even gonna get into the rest of it.

        Once again John is showing us his tenuous grasp of history!

        Reply
        • Okay -try this Griffin and IC.
          The U.S. is an “unelected dictatorship of money which works behind the scenes to veto any elected official who might seek to change the foreign or domestic priorities of the imperial U.S. regime.”
          Edward Herman and David Peterson : “Riding The Gren Wave”
          It does not matter if we get a white man, black man, white woman black woman, Hispanic, Asian or other race religion, color politician as leader.
          Neither does it matter which of the twin parties of capitalism is in power .
          The people who really run the country are the oligarchs; the very wealthy individuals and mega-corporations whose money allows candidates for national office to win and hold office and often for as long as they care to continue to run and serve the interests of these very wealthy bribers.
          There is no dictatorship more cruel, more immiserating of humanity, more totalitarian and more intransigent than is the long-standing dictatorship of the dollar .
          Try nit-picking those truths.

          Reply
          • I won’t try addressing your statement at all! I know you live in your own private eco chamber and I’m not about to change your stilted worldview
            …Besides I was addressing the erroneous statement you originally made. You really should, at the very least, fact check before hitting the send/submit key on your computer.

          • All of which is irrelevant to the topic of Paris Hilton in Havana or even your earlier comment about nepotism. Every thread you repeat your same tired comments without even trying to relate to the topic.

  • Does Fidel’s eldest even know who Paris is? I bet he doesn’t. He probably thought she was just a tourist who wanted a photo taken with someone “important.”

    Reply
  • I am a signed up life long lefty booted out of the US for helping the FMLN and Salvadoran refugees (I think, because they told me they did not have to give me a reason for telling me I could not come back) so I have sympathy for the sentiment here – but otherwise it is nothing more than vitriolic bile. I know many, many Cubans who want to be friends with the “US” – the US is not some kind of Evil Empire and Obama, for all his faults, is not Darth Vader. This article is profoundly disrespectful of Cuban public opinion – which is firmly on the side of normal relations with the US (warts and all). Very few people in the world really hate the US – and many of them – like Osama Bin Laden – are hate filled fanatics. Is that really who you want to be in the company of?

    Reply
  • The lie is utterly exposed. the Cuban “royals” and the US socialites courtesy of Barak Obama. Only one good thing: the Castro shameless elite is exposed for what it is.

    Reply

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