Man-Made Hurricane, Wall Before the Wall

Photo by Tobias Nordhausen | CC BY 2.0

Witnessing the crisis of their neighbor and ally Venezuela, Cubans express their memories of the ‘’Special Period’’ (Período Especial) of the early 1990s, when Cuba lost Soviet Russian endorsement, as the USSR disbanded. Cuba then entered panic and financial crisis, hit by sudden scarcity: an abrupt situation, entirely the opposite of the sudden rush of freed capital and consumer-culture that characterized the liquid 1990s for many capitalist Latin American countries (they would only later experience such a crisis in 2001.) A time of plenty collapsed into a brutal struggle on all levels of Cuban society, having to evolve a new Spartan creativity after the loss of the Russian benefactor. (At least Moscow forgave Cuba’s Soviet era financial deficit—can we say the same of Puerto Rican debts owed to the mainland after the Caliban tempest?)

At the radio news of the death of Comandante (it feels like yesterday) an entourage of prosperous Miamians— Cuban exiles—made global hideous headlines by dancing in celebration. And last year, in 2017, the same macabre ensemble made news once more. Like a bad merengue orchestra, whose off-key sound and vain shriek rile the listener. They came and danced again, on live TV, this time in worship of the real-estate mogul turned primetime president Trump, lauded as their defender against tyranny.

A Cuba-Libre-lobby of vengeful entrepreneurs in Miami and other cultural metropolises like…

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