Cuba Libre . It is not heard often now, but occasionally is, when some whitlamite or a Greenie orders it in a bar. It is like that. Certain people, who can’t handle their alcohol straight and want it diluted, and do not want to order a whiskey with something because of its British imperialist or Yankee connotations, order a rum and coke, which in Australia of my fading memory, meant the Bundaberg Rum and Coca-Cola with some ice, and in better establishments, with a slice of lemon. Trying as much as I could then to not differ too much from my fellow articled clerks, I used to order a Baccardi and coke, slightly more expensive as I couldn’t handle the taste of Bundaberg rum; and thus branded myself irrevocably and irredeemably as a foreigner. Similarly, it was and probably still is an article of faith that a Queenslander drinks Fourex : – light brown, CO2 saturated liquid, called ‘beer’ by those who know no better. In USA, I believe, “XXXX” is a brand of condoms; but I’ll not make any crude jokes. If the Queenslander must drink something other than beer, he drinks Bundaberg Rum.
For those not familiar with a subject called geography, Bundaberg is a coastal town some 400km north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It lies in the midst of what used to be a prosperous sugar cane growing region. That was before Australia and USA signed what the Americans were pleased to call a free trade agreement, which made them even more free to do whatever they considered beneficial to them. I recall that for some unstated reason, totally missed and ignored (to the best of my knowledge and belief) by our financial experts the sugar, i.e. our sugar, was peculiarly treated. I was puzzled just for a short while – of course, Castro brothers’ Cuba was the reason. USA expected the inevitable collapse of the system there; and in a similar way the Westies had to support the derelict economy of East Germany after ‘liberation’ and ‘unification’, the United States would have to prop the Cuban so called planned economy, consisting mostly of inefficient sugar cane plantations. (Mybête noire - steadily decreasing quality of communist cigars we might discuss another time) United States knew they do not need any complications in the future with any inconvenient Australian sugar producers. Better to kill them off (bankrupt them) in time.
Some may mistakenly believe that the pleasant drink Cuba libre (recipe below) has something to do with the Castro brothers and their revolution. That is almost as far from the truth as the current Havana regime is from the freedom. ¡Cuba libre ! (Free Cuba) was the battle, not a bottle, cry of Cuban patriots who fought the Spaniards with the help of the still United States of America. Cuba became free in 1898 and the drink came to the existence a few years later, as Coca-Cola got to the island only in 1900. In any case, it has nothing to do with the aging murderous communist regime, still in power on the island. Whilst the killings abated, the ruling geriatrics had not mellowed; the persecution of citizens for their political beliefs continues.
White Lady. Similarly, the current White Ladies have nothing in common with the alcoholic mixture (the recipe below). Las Damas en Blanco want to help the people, loosely described as dissidents, currently held in the Cuban jails. The women dress in white and parade on Sundays. Most, though not all of them are related to the prisoners. The White Ladies are trying to bring the world’s media attention to the repression of the freedom of speech under the communist rule. Naturally, they are largely ignored, thought a short term publicity was achieved by a singer Gloria Estafan. (Bless her) Unfortunately, she was born in, and escaped from Cuba, so what could she possibly know? The Washington Post knows better. Certain publicity arose thanks to the efforts of the Spanish Catholic church, with some marginal success as far as the treatment of prisoners was concerned. Yet, for the left-dominated media, the exhumation of an almost forty-years old corpse of the Chilean leftist president is more important news than the fate of those suffering in communist jails today. Even the human rights activists have to be of the correct political colour.
The name Las Damas en Blanco was given to those courageous women by journalists prone to coining catchy phrases to save them from an effort of thinking. Likewise, the label Las madres de Plaza el Mayo was given to the women in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who used to try to bring to the public attention their attempts find out what happened to their sons, husbands, brothers and boyfriends during the military law. The men’s disappearance, almost certainly by the efforts of the secret police and paramilitary groups during the seventies stirs the Left imagination even today, more than forty years later.
In Argentina the perpetrator was not a communist regime. So it would not surprise anybody to find that Ms Hebe de Bonafini, the President of the Argentinian protesters (Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo) accused the Cuban Ladies in White of being CIA stooges. She criticised the symbolic use of the white scarf, stating “Our white scarf symbolises life while those women, that you are talking about Ladies in White, represent death.” Bonafini also said “the so-called Ladies in White defend the terrorism of the United States.” The Ladies in White do not pass her muster, their men are not dead yet. Estimates wary considerably, but apparently Castro brothers killed between 17,000 and 70,000 of the opponents of their regime. (Do not rely on the leftiepedia for the number.)
The Argentinian publicity seekers are only a part of the concerted socialist Mafia attacks. One of many examples – the ever reliable Marx-Leninist The Guardian screams – “Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to a notorious CIA operative”. According to their obedient, collective, sheep-like minds, she is notorious because when she visited Cuba she assisted the Ladies in White; and those women are undoubtedly financed by CIA. If you are for freedom, you must be financed by the CIA. (I wish it was true; I never got a single cent.)
The internal, that is the Cuban dictatorship’s counter offensive consist of physical attacks on Las Damas en Blanco by the ‘spontaneously’ organised true Cuban womanhood. The Cuban dictatorship had also increased the frequency of sending “cultural missions” abroad. Perhaps they believe that the Caribbean jazz would be louder then the victims’ protests, and that at least some of the artists would come back to the communist paradise.
Let us now drink, with whatever you have handy, a toast to the real Cuba libre, Cuba free and democratic, hopefully in a not too distant future. After all, neither drinks, nor dictatorships last forever.
And as promised:-
60 ml rum
60 ml Coca Cola
8 ml lime juice
dash of Angostura bitters
60 ml gin
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml lemon juice
[Somebody told me that this article is a long-winded; trying to say too much. It is true. Well, if I could limit myself to just one half-baked, easily-digested idea per article, I would write for The Australian or The Washington Post.]
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