Because gallegos. And Spain. And miseria humana. And original sin.
As detailed here in a 2016 post the small Galician town of Láncara in northwest Spain, apparently a socialist enclave, got the idea to turn the barn-like shack where Fidel Castro’s father was born into a museum dedicated to the Castro family’s roots. The stated motivation was not political but commercial, in the form of a presumed tourist attraction (in other words, amoral opportunism).
Since the property was still in Castro hands, the matter stalled after Fidel’s death at the end of 2016, when the town held a formal act of farewell to its “Favorite Son,” as it had officially designated Fidel in 1992 (it officially declared Raúl Castro its “Adoptive Son” in 2016). The project was not dropped, however, but its purported mission was switched to being a museum of the history of Galician emigration, which at least sounds less Castrophilic and somewhat more dignified.
Last month, the Castro family reportedly ceded the property to a consortium called “Friendship and Solidarity with Cuba,” whose name is no doubt very telling and which must be quite, uh, congenial to Castro, Inc. The dreary stone hovel, uninhabited for decades, will require major rehab (and surely added space), to be carried out in conjunction with municipal and provincial authorities and business people.
The town’s mayor stated that “the good relations between City Hall and Cuba’s government, especially the Castro family, will make possible the construction of this center,” which suggests that Cuban funding may be involved. The official goals are “to inform about the invaluable cultural and political patrimony of today’s Cuba” and to be an archive of the large Galician emigration to America, particularly Cuba. I expect the first goal was a condition required by the Castros to play ball, which would amount to a PR/propaganda operation.
Evidently, none of the gallegos involved in this detestable and tawdry business have significant qualms, if any, about the painfully obvious implications of what they’re doing, regardless of their ostensible mission. Of course, there’s plenty of precedent, and it’s all very Spanish. Well, I suppose we can fall back on my default consolation, such as it is: at least none of these characters presumes to be a spiritual leader or runs around as the titular Vicar of Christ. As the saying goes, algo es algo.