Thanks largely to President Obama’s recent engagement, Stalinist Cuba has quickly become the absolute coolest place on Earth.
Close on the heels of Katy Perry, the Rolling Stones and the Obama family itself, Karl Lagerfeld last week showcased his Chanel “cruise line” with a fashion-show extravaganza where Havana’s Prado Street served as the catwalk/runway for the world’s lithest models, while Gisele Bundchen, Tilda Swinton and Vin Diesel, with the paparazzi on the sidelines.
Not to be outdone, the Kardashians arrived in Havana to shoot an episode of their reality show.
Attaining such status for coolness among the world’s coolest people is not easy. Such coolness does not just land haphazardly in the lap of any random society. It must be worked on. So let us briefly peruse the societal and political characteristics that the cool and beautiful people — all liberals, needless to add —make a big media show of denouncing.
Never miss a local story.
One area where cool people display great sensitivity is on the issue of gay rights. This holds especially for fashion and Hollywood luminaries — many of the very types now sashaying through Havana. And as we’ve recently learned in the cases of Indiana and North Carolina, in the view of cool people, the very definition of gay rights can be pretty broad.
So you do not want the distinction of being the only regime in the history of the Western hemisphere to have herded tens of thousands of men and boys into forced labor camps at Soviet bayonet point for the crime of being gay, genuine or suspected. You especially do not want the International Court of Justice in The Hague to have this on file: “Castro’s Cuba is responsible for the persecution, imprisonment in forced labor concentration camps, torture, banishment, and death of thousands of gays, transvestites and lesbians.”
Whoops! Sorry! Seems I just described Castro’s Cuba, the world’s coolest place.
Women’s rights are also important for cool people. These rights — we’ve been given to understand by the ultra-cool Sandra Fluke — are extremely far-reaching and should include taxpayer-subsidized contraceptives for women.
So you don’t want the distinction of having jailed and tortured 35,150 women and girls for political crimes. The prison conditions for them were described by former political prisoner Maritza Lugo: “The punishment cells measure 3-feet-wide by 6-feet-long. The toilet consists of an 8-inch hole in the ground through which cockroaches and rats enter.”
Whoops! Sorry, again. Looks like I again described Castro’s Cuba, the world’s coolest place.
Cool people also make a big show of promoting peace. To hear them babble, armed conflict between nations has always been a historical abomination. So you definitely don’t want to be on record as being modern history’s scariest warmongers, to the point of wantonly bringing the world to the very precipice of nuclear war.
“We reject any peaceful approach! Violence is inevitable! To establish socialism rivers of blood must flow! If the nuclear missiles had remained (in Cuba) we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!
And you certainly don’t want to make an icon of the racist, mass-murdering warmonger responsible for the hate speech quoted above, even if he was co-founder of your regime. You especially want to avoid plastering his image all over your fiefdom. Cool people might get the wrong idea and start mimicking the fashion sense of one of modern history’s earliest nuclear warmonger by adopting his berets as the coolest fashion item for the coolest fashion show in the world.
Humberto Fontova is a Cuban-American author, blogger and political commentator.