Feast envy

A Power Point presentation circulating around details the closure of a famous restaurant in Havana.  The sequence of photos, apparently taken by the financial police (DTI), shows the “evidence” used to charge Juan Carlos Fernandez Garcia, owner of the paladar [private restaurant] Hurón Azul.  I stopped looking at the rudimentary multimedia with a gesture of disgust, and not particularly for the material goods shown in it.

The revulsion it gave me confirmed that the possession of certain objects is something that can be enjoyed only by those who impose “egalitarianism” from the podium.  The list of the “crimes” also contributed to my nausea:  Selling “prohibited food” such as lobster and beef; having more than twelve seats in the restaurant; giving credit to the painters to eat there; becoming a patron of the arts; paying a huge electricity bill; having a lot of cash; and—what nerve—wanting to open a restaurant in Milan.  As if it wouldn’t be much easier to authorize the sale of those creatures with antennae who live in our sea, to congratulate Juan Carlos for his work in promoting culture, and to allow each paladar to have whatever number of chairs and employees they decide.  But no, to authorize all that would set off too strong a competition with the inefficient restaurants and cultural centers of the State.  To admit that the Hurón Azul would continue to progress would be to run the risk that one day its proprietor would want to found an art magazine or open a museum with his private collection.

I feel sorry for those who took these photos.  I note, in all the careful focus on the food, the deep poverty of sustenance of those who prepared the dossier.  I’m deeply shamed that the police in my country are dedicated to imprisoning enterprising citizens, while the streets are full of criminals who snatch purses, steal and defraud.  I’m sad for the neighbors, green with envy, as they begrudged so much prosperity.  Above all, I think about the old gentleman who looked after the cars at the entrance to the paladar, and the lady who washed the dishes, now left without work, and especially the children of Juan Carlos.  Possibly they have understood, given the example of the Hurón Azul, that in order to prosper one must get off this Island.

Huron Azul (English)



  1. Yoani.

    Thoughtful, strong, impassioned; wonderful as usual. Take heart; change is clearly in the air. The Castro brothers know it’s the end of the game, for them personally and for the way they have been running the country (the only way they know); the unfolding discontent has got their attention and is surely a concern. So they are reaching out.

    The world should be nice to the Castro Brothers and their regime, smile, talk nicely, be nice, and politely go around the system directly enabling people to people across the board, go out of our way to foster and enable cultural inter-action especially with fellow Latinos.

    A velvet revolution where people, people from other countries, just come and go, everyone learns, move on, and the old men sit on the sideline in velvet chairs and talk about the (bloody) revolution, the history, till their last breath. Let them go gracefully in order to smooth the unstoppable huge existential change that has begun. It is the end of an era in Latin America, finally, the end of the era of brutal military dictatorships. Let it end in peace.

    Let the people get together. The silly constraints will simply disappear and
    Cuba will really come alive. For Cuba, a new beginning has already well and truly begun.

  2. Well, let me see…maybe we should send a connection of this blog to those US envoys who visited Cuba recently. They believe that because they carried a message from the new Administration that the Castro’s brothers will agree and conform to their request and bring them to their knees.
    I got news for those silly US envoys that wined and dined under the paradise sun of the Castro’s machinery, nothing is going to change from their end, business as usual.
    And as for the Embargo, let me tell you folks, last year alone the Cuban Robolution bought goods directly from this USA in excess of over $700 Millions in CASH, YES CASH.
    What does it mean to lift the Embargo? It means, for those who are not aware of the situation, allowing CREDIT to a bankrupt Apartheid system at a time when we are experiencing a financial crisis of our own in this United States. I guess if we pump money to the Auto Industry, Financial Institutions and Insurance companies, we can also lend our generous hand to a regime that hates our guts.
    I got to go to work, will continue later.

  3. Let’s not expect too much change as there are obviously lots of people in this sort of government who are happy with the way things are. Even when both Castro brothers are gone things will remain as there is an entrenched system in place. I have struggled with Customs and the Cuban postal system which is truly terrible, unreliabe and full of theft. If the Cuban postal system can be reformed then I will be impressed. I don’t know about private restaurants but the obstacles and bureaucracy involved in sending a small package weighing 2.5 kgs are mind boggling and complicated. There will be hope if the Cubans can sort out their corrupt and theiving postal system.I am still waiting for this package to be delivered after 2 months and sent by expensive International Courier Express. Never mind the ordinary 3 cards sent by ordinary post 4 months ago and yet to never arrive!

  4. Interesting how the regime squashes everything that works successfully like a psychopath that destroys all that has beauty, and that takes mental effort and hard, careful work. It is as if the brothers hated Cuba and the Cubans in it. They are like a destructive gardeners that nip flowers just as they start to bloom. They lie to the people as to what works by telling them the flowers will spread poison.

    It is said that Adolf Hitler and his cohorts, including Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister, towards the end of the war, decided that Germany was not worthy of him and that all of it and its people should be allowed to be destroyed by the Allies. This is a commonly known quote in the free world, which I’m sure the Castro’s have studied in depth, but for those who are not familiar, here it is:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    By Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/joseph_goebbels/

  5. For those of you who can’t read spanish. On slide number 8 of the presentation it refers to “platos prohibidos”. That is “forbidden dishes”. Yes, according to the cuban regime there are some types of food that are not alloed by the law. I wonder if the 7 US congressmen know about that?? Actually, I’m almost sure thel all broke this “law” during their visit.

  6. The group that went to Cuba did not bother to walk the streets and talk to the people away from the shadow of thugs. Neither did they bother to contact any free thinking dissidents to get both sides of the story.

    These politicians are choosing to believe the lie as quoted above in #4, which is unforgivable as they live in a free society where information is all around them for the taking.

    I’m almost tempted to believe that they are either in co-hoots with the dictators, or have some other obscure agenda that we don’t understand.

  7. Cold in Chicago dice:

    “I’m almost tempted to believe that they are either in co-hoots with the dictators, or have some other obscure agenda that we don’t understand.”

    Well ……….. They ARE all politicians , and before they where politicians they where lawyers. No offence to lawyers with ethics but …………

  8. So many images of nothing …….. I lost count of the shoe photos , the frio pictures , the antique monitors lacking computers. I was about to say ‘what a waste of film’ , but caught myself in time .
    Confiscated digital camera ? Idiots !!!!

  9. What did this guy do to upset the authorities the mafia of the state security in Cuba? Did he forget to pay a bribe?Did he not contribute sufficiently to the CDR party?

    Obviusly every one can apreciate this guy was probably paying many people in hight places in Cuba to get all this things done. From permitions to travel outside of Cuba for him and his wife to many other things.
    Lessons learn

    This guy was born within the Cuban revolution so he should be a typical example of the “new man”

    all the people that he paid and that got corrupted did they go to trial too? are they also examples of the “new man”

    Can the leaders of Cuba see with this example that what they created is a system that punishes the normal state of things?
    What is wrong with a few people making money? and contributing to society in the arts or services that the state is unable to provide?
    Bigger question is why is so impossible for the state to provide this services?
    We can see so much in this example, it shows all the failures of the system.

  10. CUBAS GOVERNMENT needs and wants its people to be poor, under feed and uninformed. That way you have to watch out for big brother. Its sad to think that the US politicians did not meet with the political prisoners of the island. Did they not want to see and hear the whole picture. I am sure they got feed another “FIDEL STORY” , about HOW BAD THE EMBARGO is. Those same AFRO AMERICAN POLITICIANS don’t know that Castros Government scared its people daily with storys of YANKIE MILITARY ATTACKES. ALL AND ALL things are working out, cause the eyes and ears are all over Cuba RIGHT NOW. LA COSA ESTA CALIENTE. Thanks to ALL that make this WEB SITE possible and to Yoani for her talent and courage.

  11. Wampampiro #5
    The food that is prohibited or restricted for general consumption in a “Paladar”, is been served on a daily basis at Raúl & Fidel dining table, these two are allowed to eat anything they want without any restrictions. I wonder what would be the reaction of those people who took all these pictures if they were allowed to enter into the kitchen and mansion of the Castro’s brothers.
    The seven Congressmen went to Cuba with a written agenda from their boss. They also know that the American press will follow them wherever they go and they will use this opportunity to sell the lifting of the Embargo to the American public. They are not interested in what happens to dissidents or political prisoners and could care less what happens to a regular citizen in Cuba.
    Most politicians worldwide are nothing more than leeches they have no idea of what is to hold a real job in life.

  12. Administrator I’m being Blocked in the Blog Spanish version of Generation Y can you chack why and e-mail to me the reasons thanks in advance for your kind attention

  13. This is unbelievable. Things like this are exactly why I tell people that if we lift the embargo, things will not change. Nothing will be any different, regardless of the amount of money from the US coming into Cuba, until the leadership changes. Cuba has a regime that is so in control of everything from the dishes served at restaurants to what the press is allowed to say. It’s truly upsetting to me, both as a Cuban and as an American citizen.

  14. I’ve passed on your information to the Spanish site and will let you know when I hear something. Sorry about that!

    To others who may be commenting but whose comments aren’t showing up here — the spam catcher seems to be working overtime to trap ‘good’ comments. My apologies. As I mentioned before, it’s a balance — it we turn it off this site would be flooded with junk — with it on, some good comments get trapped and don’t get posted.

  15. Ashley,

    Why not keep parts of the embargo but allow free travel? Things have not changed in fifty years, and the dictator brothers should be gone from the picture (to join Mars and Lenin) within about five years. One is a known alcoholic (which shortens life span by fifteen years so he’s already overdue) and the other is teetering on the brink.

    So what do you have to loose?

  16. Did I miss something, or was this guy prosecuted simply for being too successful and for sharing his wealth by being a patron of the arts?

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