The unprecedented rash of protests across Cuba catalyzed an equally remarkable wave of expertise to wash over everyone in the United States with the pointed exception of its 2.3 million Cuban-American residents. These 329.9 million newly minted Cuba experts lost no time in loudly proclaiming their recently-acquired proficiency.
“I watched Pitbull’s Fireball music video in high school,” explained Sasha Purdue, an animated Georgia Tech graduate student. “So, I’m fully aware that the real victim in Cuba is Fidel Castro’s legacy. The man stood up to decades of U.S. tyranny, and now paid thugs in Buenos Aires want to tear it all down.”
When informed that Cuba’s capital was Havana, and not Buenos Aires, Purdue instructed me that I “didn’t know shit” and promptly flicked me off.
“I understand 12 words in Spanish,” began Julia Clarke, a 45-year-old mother of three who left her hometown of Provincetown, Massachusetts exactly twice. “But I know for a fact that everyone in Havana is chanting for an end to the embargo. They wouldn’t be starving, or beaten by state police, or jailed without cause if they just had access to a corner Starbucks.”
Jesús Ramírez, a third-generation Chicano, stood in the doorway of his walkup Lakeview apartment. “My neighbor’s girlfriend’s stepdad is Cuban,” he paused for a moment. “Or maybe Peruvian. Anyway, he told me that Fujimori really wasn’t that bad a guy. I mean, he defeated the Glowing Path terrorists and stopped runaway deflation, so I don’t get why Cubans are all worked up. They have plenty of ceviche.”
“We stand in solidarity with all oppressed peoples of African descent, especially when the source of that oppression is a racist police state,” declared Derek Boniface, The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s Communication’s Director. “Except, of course, when those oppressed peoples of African descent are Cuban and the oppressive police state is also Cuban. Then it’s all the America’s fault.”
This newfound expertise did not stop at Cuba’s coastline, but extended to all individuals of Cuban origin residing in the United States.
“Those radicals in Miami just want to burn everything down,” declared Jeremy Pritchett, an aggressively Anglo Columbia University Latin American studies professor who was once flippantly christened an adopted Cuban at a Brooklyn cocktail party, and really took it to heart. “I know them. I’ve been to La Carreta. They’ll stop at nothing to get their hands back on their ill-gotten property in Cuba. Removing them entirely from the equation would certainly be our best way forward.”
When asked to elaborate on how he would remove Cuban-Americans from “an equation,” Pritchett glared and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know! Ignore them! Maybe put them on an island somewhere.”
What all these brand new Cuba experts did not expect was the magnitude of the corresponding Cuban and Cuban-American backlash. In the streets and on social media, they forcibly refused to allow others to misrecord their narrative. To everyone else’s shock, they yelled, and clapped back, and called out, and generally made people feel very uncomfortable. Apparently, the freshly licensed horde of Cuba specialists failed to learn a fundamental truth about this fractious, infuriating, bull-headed people:
They don’t agree on politics, or economics, or culture, or what to order for lunch (except maduros, they’re auto-includes), or even Cuba, but the one unifying thread connecting all Cubans everywhere is the intractable urge to mandar everyone else who wishes to broadcast uninformed opinions about their community straight to el carajo. Yes, they constantly fight each other por gusto. But providence protect the poor fools who catch the attention of millions of Cubans just long enough to focus on some imbecilic, pompous, bigoted, history-rewriting bullshit to fall from their non-Cuban mouths.
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