Papá Noel, Navidad Cuba

Santa returns to the village

Havana Cuba. — The harsh social and economic crisis that Cubans are going through, accentuated in these last days of the year, has brought with it strange episodes, which in other times would have been branded as “ideological diversionism”, bourgeois and even counterrevolutionary.

In socialist Cuba, where Christmas was banished as soon as Fidel Castro came to power, Santa Claus has reappeared; without much to share, but with a very clear message for which he only needed to show up with his red outfit and his grab bag; in this case, a yellow sack containing some toys and sweets to distribute to Cuban children.

Santa Claus has returned to the village in the context of the new thaw between Cuba and the United States, or perhaps by the will of those who refuse to let the Christmas spirit go unnoticed in a country with so much accumulated sadness.

The truth is that its anachronistic appearance in El Vedado, the Víbora Park neighborhood and the white beach campingin Holguín, has provoked the joking of netizens, whose comments denote the degree of bitterness with which Cubans have arrived at the end of this 2022.

There is always the possibility that the adventures of the Christmas old man are part of the many ridiculous initiatives that state institutions come up with; hence the flip-flop Santa who disembarked in the aforementioned Holguín campsite, or the dolled-up one who crossed 23rd Avenue just one block from the López-Calleja Tower, in the heart of a bourgeois neighborhood par excellence.

In any case, it is a representation. That Santa comes does not mean that Cubans have Christmas, nor does article 54 of the Constitution imply that Cubans really have rights, or that Díaz-Canel’s recent verbiage will put meat and fish on the table of a hungry people. It’s pure theater, nothing more.

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