This story has been followed on this blog here, here, and here. The not especially private Havana visit by Cuba-born (and raised) actress Ana de Armas (with her boyfriend) to coincide with her 35th birthday on April 30th has been noted approvingly by Cuba’s official media. The trip apparently culminated with a riotous party at El Cocinero, one of the capital’s elite restaurants, with live music and “dirty” dancing on stage by the star, who evidently had a great time.
Of course, it all wound up on social media — see video here, particularly the Facebook video. Everybody’s partying like it’s 1958, because Cuba is just the place to live it up y tirar la casa por la ventana. You go, girl. Yes, Cuba is in the midst of a major crisis and the lives of ordinary Cubans are seriously miserable, but celebrities have their own reality.
Although Ana’s brother Javier Caso (a New York-based artist-photographer) is a vocal critic of Cuba’s dictatorship and an anti-regime activist, she has remained publicly “apolitical.” One could consider her participation in the pro-Castro propaganda film Wasp Network a quite political act, but maybe to her it was just a career move, however indecorous.
We’re definitely not talking Celia Cruz, but Cruz knew and was a product of the real Cuba, while Ana’s Cuba was a grotesquely distorted and degenerate “revolutionary” version — and it sinks lower every day. Her perspective apparently has nothing to do with that of “those people” in Miami and elsewhere, and the world she moves in is thoroughly leftist. Still, if her brother gets it, well…you get the idea. The fact is she has allowed herself to be used during this visit by Cuba’s totalitarian tyranny, an inveterate and highly skilled user par excellence.
Alas, this is a very old failing, much older than Ana de Armas. In fact, it was addressed by José Martí back in 1892, and his words then are uncannily applicable to this situation now:
Visitar la casa del opresor es sancionar la opresión. Cada muestra de familiaridad de los hijos de un pueblo oprimido con las personas o sociedades del gobierno opresor, confesas o disimuladas, es un argumento más para la opresión, que alega la alegría y amistad espontánea del pueblo sojuzgado, y es un argumento menos para los que alegan que el pueblo oprimido, vejado, envenenado quiere sacudir la opresión… Mientras un pueblo no tenga conquistados sus derechos, el hijo suyo que pisa en son de fiesta la casa de los que se los conculcan es enemigo de su pueblo.
The first and last lines translate as “To visit the oppressor’s house is to sanction oppression. As long as a nation has not won its rights, any of its children who feasts in the house of those who subjugate its people is an enemy of the people.” I highly doubt Ana has read that passage from Martí, but the question is, if she did read it, would it make any difference? In any case, never mind what I think of this whole affair. Now you know what the highest possible secular authority thinks of it (and no, “Francis” Bergoglio is no authority at all). Enough said.