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.