The US government is very upset at the moment, apparently, about the fact that it gave a shed-load of cash to Cuban dissidents in Miami to promote capitalism back home, and they spent it on Gameboys, mountain bikes, crabmeat and chocolate. (Otherwise known as ‘consumer goods’, those many and various shiny things that capitalist culture teaches us is our right to purchase, cheaply, constantly, and in surfeit to our needs).
A scathing congressional audit of democracy-assistance programmes found “questionable expenditure” by several groups funded by Washington in opposition to President Fidel Castro’s rule on the communist Caribbean island. The Miami-based Acción Democrática Cubana spent money on a chainsaw, Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations, mountain bikes, leather coats and Godiva chocolates, which the group says were all sent to Cuba. “These people are going hungry. They never get any chocolate there,” Juan Carlos Acosta, the group’s executive director, told the Miami Herald.
Yep, sounds to me like a highly “questionable” demonstration of US consumer values, that….
Personally, I don’t see what the problem is. As previously noted (see yesterday’s entry on chocolate covered fat, stale bread, garlic and vodka) Communism is hardly the culinary world’s greatest friend, is it? On that basis, what more effective way is there to show your former compatriots the true value of democracy than by sending them a bit of fresh crab and a couple of boxes of Quality Street?
“Screw the opium of the people, taste that!”
I mean really: what did they want them to do, use the money to produce a lengthy political treatise expounding on the values of capitalism and the free market?
If I was offered a choice between eating Eastern European-style ‘salo’ or seafood salad and chocolate mousse (or let’s face it, even Double Whoppers and KFC) for the rest of my natural, you can be pretty sure I’d be voting Republican before you could utter the words “diabetes” and “cholesterol”.