"Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched." ~ Guy de Maupassant
Revolting Revolutionary Cuisine
Rhode Island is a long way from Miami , but on a local Spanish radio show (in Miami ), a guest was complaining about a restaurant in Providence called 'Cuban Revolution.' A visit to the website reveals many things about the restaurant's owners, especially when it comes to culture and politics; they know little about the Cuban revolution (or history or current events).
The restaurant's website is chock full of pictures of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in their prime and even features its very own manifesto. Statements like 'We honor the revolutionary spirit of individuals who struggle against tyranny and oppression' make you wonder exactly which revolution they are talking about. Statements like 'its (the Revolution's) purpose was to restore basic human rights and an identity to a beautiful land of proud and distinguished people' make you want to pinch yourself. Some statements border on the delusional: 'when individual expression was rampant, and the zeal and promise of revolutionary Cuba filled the air,' the only individuals who have ever freely expressed themselves with zeal in Cuba during Castro's rule are those parroting the official party line.
But why would anyone name a restaurant 'Cuban Revolution' with so many other good names to choose from, like 'The Third Reich'? Think of the public relations possibilities: 'come to the Third Reich Lounge and sip Final Solution Martinis in our world renowned VIP room, The Gas Chamber.' Perhaps 'Le Khmer Rouge' featuring 'Pol's Pot: a delicate red curry broth of Kampuchean doctor's skull sprinkled with basil' would upset 'patriotic' Americans who are still having problems trying to find a new name for 'French' fries (not to mention the medical community). Maybe the name 'Rwandan Genocide Barbecue' was no longer available. Imagine the possibilities: 'Jagged Machete Cut Rack of Smoked Tutsi Ribs.' How could they have passed up the 'Russian Gulag Bar and Grill,' where they could have served goodies like 'Uncle Joe's Concentration Camp Victim Soup' with a 'Fried Cossack Finger Sandwich,' and you can wash it all down with a 'Screaming Bloody Anastasia.' The possibilities are endless.
Getting back to the Cuban Revolution's own menu, we see 'The Fidel' described as the 'world's best Cuban sandwich' (maybe not the best but surely the priciest at $8.50), this could only be true if the sandwich contained actual Fidel meat. The 'Cuban Burrito Wrap' is also featured. News flash: Cubans don't eat burritos, so perhaps these would-be revolutionary restaurateurs better take it off the menu or incorporate pictures of Mexican Revolutionary icon Emiliano Zapata in their website, giving it that whole enchilada appeal.
Fidel Castro is not an aging hipster, he is a murderous thug who has sent thousands of people to their death. Castro is also a thief who pilfered private property (starting with his own mothers' farm) and 'intervened' in businesses both large and small. Che Guevara has been resurrected as a saintly historical figure when in reality 'El Che' murdered dozens of people with his own hand (maybe that's why the Bolivians shipped Che's severed hands to Fidel, because they thought he might have use for them). If Che would have lived and realized his 'dream,' millions more human beings would now be living under tyranny in impoverished conditions.
I'm sure Cuban exiles and refugees based on their experiences could come up with a few items of their own to include in the Cuban Revolution's menu selection, in order to make it more in tune with reality. Like 'Lead Laden Flank Steak of Young Cuban Firing Squad Victim,' 'Tender Caribbean Water Poached Cuban Infant Plucked from The Arms of His Dead Mother from the Wreckage of the 13th of March Tugboat,' 'MIG Smoked Brothers to The Rescue Pilot,' or 'Rafter Fed Atlantic Tiger Shark.'
The Cuban Revolution is not some groovy abstraction; it has caused real death, torn real families apart, and confiscated people's very real private property (including restaurants). It's ironic that people would open an establishment in a quasi-capitalist location, idolizing another place where private property is non-existent. The owners ultimately have the right to name their restaurant whatever they please; the last thing we need is the state-backed PC police to step in with their own brand of totalitarian oppression. But those offended by the name 'Cuban Revolution' can make a conscious choice not to patronize their establishment and to politely ask anyone who will listen not to do so either.