“As a white man with no direct connection to the Latino refugee experience whatsoever, I’m the perfect person to establish a restaurant celebrating Hugo Chavez!” exclaimed Sean Meenan. The 55 year-old, fifth-generation New Yorker stood outside Aló Presidente, his new Downtown Doral “Bolivarian-Korean fusion diner,” in a red beret and Venezuelan flag tracksuit popularized by the late South American demagogue. This drew a plethora of dirty looks and Spanish expletives from local pedestrians.
Hot off opening Café Habana, a Cuban-Mexican restaurant on South Miami Avenue “inspired by a storied Mexico City hangout, where legend has it Che Guevara and Fidel Castro plotted the Cuban Revolution” that currently boasts 1.1 stars on Google Reviews, Meenan decided to double down on his Latin American dictator branding concept.
“This is just the beginning!” cried Meenan, who clearly hadn’t spoken to a single Miamian before opening his restaurant. “We’re franchising all over the Magic City! I also have El Jefe, a fast casual cantina based on the life of Rafael Trujillo debuting in Little Santo Domingo. It has great cross-over potential with my Papa Doc’s Eatery in Little Haiti, as I hear Haitians and Dominicans have historically gotten along great.”
A passerby yelled, “¡Comemierda!”
“And good evening to you too!” replied Meenan with a wave.
Meenan seemed equally oblivious to his unscrupulous fetishization of tyrants to sell bland, aborted versions of ethnically specific dishes that can be purchased at half the price and triple the quality at a corner cafeteria. He was certainly blind to how his monetized historical revisionism erased whole communities’ multi-generational trauma.
“I can’t wait to welcome Miami’s diverse Haitian and Latino communities into my restaurants,” he continued. “Not as patrons, of course—those will be exclusively drawn from New York and California transplants who truly appreciate the cuisine—but as kitchen staff.”
Meenan bristled when I stated that he had upset a lot of people in Miami.
“They just don’t understand my vision!” he retorted. “I’m not glorifying Chavez, or Castro, or Trujillo, or Papa Doc. I’m simply inspired by them! The same way they’ve inspired millions of people around the world who yearn for…”
Meenan’s revisionist bullshit rant was cut short by a Venezuelan abuela’s inspiration to slap him across the face.
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