Ana de Armas: An Ambassador for a Fraudulent Change?
Perhaps Ana de Armas is another ambassador of the fraudulent change; a fresh, media-friendly and smiling face, who states that in Cuba everything is alright, that its streets are safe, its food, delicious, its cigars, the best and its children, the happiest children anywhere
Actress Ana de Armas, turned Hollywood star after her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the film Blonde, is visiting Havana in order to meet with her family to celebrate her birthday precisely today, April 30th. The star has arrived in the company of her boyfriend, millionaire businessman Paul Boukadakis. Both were welcomed at “José Martí” International Airport by actress Claudia Alvariño, a friend of Ana’s and assistant director of La Colmenita.
Since then, the only Cuban actor to be nominated for an Oscar, hasn’t stopped making headline news. The first “noise” on social media happened when Ana gave official news outlet Cubadebate journalist, Thalía Fuentes, the cold shoulder. Ms. Fuentes had asked to interview Ana in Old Havana. De Armas said no alleging that she was on vacation, and immediately many people started to congratulate her for not paying attention to the official press, whose only function is to legitimize the Cuban dictatorship.
Next day, the joy at Thalía Fuentes’ disappointment vanished upon the publication of several photos of Ana de Armas surrounded by children from La Colmenita and with Chef Ángel Jiménez Martínez, known for his television program “Chefarándula” and for his close friendship with Lis Cuesta, president Miguel Díaz-Canel’s wife. Public opinion on social media immediately took a turn in the opposite direction.
Ana de Armas has been peculiarly reticent to talk about the situation in Cuba, the lack of civil liberties, political prisoners, or any other topic that could pose a problem for her when she wished return to her native country. Her refusal is further proof that there is a dictatorship in Cuba; however, beyond what everyone knows, there are variables that are applied according to the regime’s interest, a regime that benefits from staying neutral, especially if that neutrality is accompanied by money and cleaning up its image.
Ana de Armas plays at being neutral. She is not openly pro-government, nor does she have anything to do with Patria y Vida. The unpleasant interrogatory to which her brother –photographer Javier Caso- was subjected in January 2020, would have been the right moment for her to condemn the conduct of Cuba’s political police, but she didn’t do so. She was focused on her career, and although her brother’s recorded statement went viral, she kept quiet. It’s her right to stay quiet, just like it is to return to Cuba to see her mother, celebrate her birthday and meet her girlfriends again, even when those privileges are forbidden to other good Cubans.
However, within her respectable neutrality, Ana de Armas has not stopped promoting Cuba as a tourist destination. Her presence alone is profitable to the regime, but, in addition, she has extended her courtesy in asserting that an Oscar-nominated actress can stroll relaxed around the streets of Cuba and even get rid of a journalist with a simple “I’m on vacation”.
Ana de Armas knows that La Colmenita, with all its charm, is an instrument of the Cuban regime’s propaganda to promote an idealized image of childhood in Cuba. She knows that while a handful of kids sing and dance under the direction of Tin Cremata, thousands more are barely surviving in marginal communities, in distant rural areas and in improvised settlements where an emerging architecture and all kinds of privation leaves them very far from the healthy and happy children that are promoted by the very same power that withdraws from minors the supply of milk at age seven, and of chicken at age fourteen.
Ana de Armas plays at being neutral, but participation in the film “La Red Avispa”, which glorifies five Cuban spies, does her no favor. Those spies defended the repressive government that has impoverished and ruined millions of people. It does her no favor, either, what appears to be her friendship with the product promoters of Katapulk.com
whose owner is Cuban American businessman Hugo Cancio, a great friend of the regime in Havana, and one of the promoters of the fraudulent change that would allow a new-profile dictatorship to keep control of the economy and continue abusing the Cuban people with absolute impunity.
It’s not surprising that, after all those images were published, the star of Blonde has become the object of criticism. Some have come out to defend her, arguing that celebrities are persons, too, and that she has the right to get together with whomever she pleases, which is true. But it’s also true that people have the right to lament that such a famous Cuban woman will say nothing about the disgraceful situation in which her compatriots must live. For some it is unfair to request from the actress that she harms herself by talking badly about the government; for others, it is immoral that she remains silent about the general conditions of Cuba and Cubans.
Perhaps Ana de Armas is another ambassador of the fraudulent change; a fresh, media-friendly and smiling face, who states that in Cuba everything is alright, that its streets are safe, its food, delicious, its cigars, the best and its children, the happiest children anywhere.
On social media, someone compared her, by contrast, to Celia Cruz who paid dearly for her opposition to Fidel Castro by not being allowed to see her mother one last time. If it were easy to be like Celia, the Queen of Salsa would not have become an icon for all Cubans for reasons beyond her voice, charisma and charm. Everything was crystal-clear to Celia: you can’t dialogue with dictatorships, one does not sing to dictators, and least of all, give them a single penny.