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Bourdain in Cuba: A full circle

Capitol Hill Cubans on Anthony Bourdain's show on Cuba:

Bourdain's Full-Circle on Cuba

Tonight, the Travel Channel aired Anthony Bourdain's season premiere of "No Reservations" in Cuba.

The episode was fairly consistent with his pre-show interviews.

As expected, he didn't march down La Quinta Avenida with the Ladies in White, but he didn't gush all over his regime minders either -- although he did (disappointingly) spend most, if not all, of his time with them.

Must have been the price to pay for permission to film.

To be fair, Bourdain did point out some the regime's political controls and tourism apartheid, which frankly, most other traveling media personalities are all-too-happy to conceal.

Unfortunately, he did so while giving Cuba's brutal regime a popular platform to promote its tourism (and thus, apartheid).

The central (and recurring) theme of the show was that Havana is beautiful because it has been frozen in time (pre-1959 to be exact) and that everyone should see it now -- even if it means feeding a repressive regime -- before it gets "contaminated" by American consumer culture, or before it becomes like Miami (with its -- gasp -- roaming free people).

Yet, wasn't pre-1959 Havana supposedly "contaminated" by American consumer culture?

Thus, everything that awed Bourdain about Havana existed pre-Castro (with its supposed American consumer culture) -- and will surely exist post-Castro (with whatever the Cuban people freely desire).

In other words, he did a 52-year full-circle on Cuba -- with countless (and unnecessary) death, imprisonment, torture, suffering and exile in between.

So, in the meantime, why keep filling Castro's repressive blank?

7 comments to Bourdain in Cuba: A full circle

  • asombra

    Look, this is the best we can hope for from the liberal or "progressive" crowd. By its standards, Bourdain was beyond balanced (as if balance would ever be an issue if this were Pinochet's Chile or Botha's South Africa). As long as this show brings more tourist business for Castro, Inc., that's ALL the regime cares about. The rest is inconsequential. And it WILL bring more tourists, and Bourdain knows and expects that, which means he's complicit with Castro, Inc. And no, he doesn't really give a shit about that. It's no skin off his nose, after all.

  • antonio2009

    This simpleton had nothing but praise for Castroite sports, education and health care, without visiting the common hospitals or schools. A few years ago I was at an academic conference at the University of Texas and a Castroite activist told the students that if they were in Cuba, they would all have free education and health care and no tuition loans. When it was my turn to speak, I asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted free education ans health care BUT that they would have George Bush and his family in the presidency for the next 50 years. No one raised their hands in spite of my insistence to give it some thought. I then asked the Castroite propagandist: "What is the worst mistake that Castro has made in the last half century?" She refused to answer because her brain was not wired for criticism of her hero.

  • asombra

    Simpleton? Au contraire, this is a New York liberal, which means he knows FAR better than you, a mere Cuban, about Cuba. Just ask the New York Times. Besides, he's a celebrity, of sorts, at least for travel junkies, which raises him even further above everyday mortals. We should all be grateful the guy deigned to notice our humble and miserable little island. Really, we're not worthy.

  • antonio2009

    I should have been more specific and indicated that he looks like a simpleton, especially when he was getting a shave from a nervous barber in Havana and ended up with numerous bleeding cuts on his neck. He then laughed and joked about it. That's a simpleton to me.

  • Mr. Mojito

    1. My problem is that all of the criticisms he made, were those that you might hear from a leftist. His problem was that all Cubans should be able to eat in a state owned restaurant - NOT that it shouldn't be state owned in the first place.

    2. His last quote that Havana appeared to be the "least fucked by time" place in the World was unpardonable.

    3. He made Cuba look like a fun and safe place for a tourist. I can just see Americans lining up to visit there and enjoy the great food and mojitos.

    4. He made several references to how Cuba fared much better than Latin America (especially in education).

    5. I didn't see one Cuba police officer during the whole show, when they are everywhere.

  • Mr. Mojito

    + his fawning that the picture of Fidel and Che was "so iconic" as his eyes lit up = was telling :(