Dinner with a Communist

 

During the last few years of the Cold War I lived in Stuttgart, Germany and had dinner with many dignitaries and members of the East German Communist Party. At that time calling someone “Red” was pejorative American slang. Today, I live in North Carolina and referring to someone as being “Red” means something totally different.

Malcom Harris states in the New Republic magazine, “American anti-communism is probably at its historical nadir,” 2016. The word “socialism” doesn’t scare the next generation, they seem to like the idea of it, as does Bernie Sanders.  The Berlin Wall is barely a memory now. 

At the beginning of 2020 I was in Cuba for a photography tour.  While in Santiago de Cuba, on the last night of the tour a special dinner had been arranged for us at a “Casa de Particular.”  We would meet the owner, a prominent attorney, author and university professor, so we were told: dress up!

A “Casa Particular” is a private house similar to our AirBnB’s or a Bread and Breakfast. Casas particulares have a small sign on the door, with two blue triangles ("roofs") against a white background. We arrive, it’s a nice neighborhood with no commercial buildings, front yards, fencing and sidewalks but nothing that stood out as to where we were going. I did not see any obvious “Casa de Particular” sign when we pulled up.  I was honestly a bit confused. However, nunca juzgues un libro por su portada - OR - never judge a book by its cover, especially in Cuba! We were welcomed into a lovely home with a yard and it was very well cared for. We were escorted thru the home, past a well stocked library/office, past Piccaso style wall hangings and antique collectables, thru a large living area and out to the back courtyard.  The back area was stunning with an alfresco style dining area with an outdoor kitchen all draped by vines and lush foliage. It was a bit surreal to be honest. 

Senior Reinaldo Sua’rez Sua’rez is a handsome man with lovely tanned skin, a beautiful profile, and appears to be very physically fit.  We had an interpreter who was masterful and kept his stoic Mr Spock face the entire time.  Our interpreter never raised an eyebrow. Even Spock did that on occasion. The interpreter showed no opinion or if he even if he had an opinion, he just interpreted as best and as politically correct as possible. This was very well orchestrated and well rehearsed. Senior Suarez began his story with his concerns. He was concerned about the embargo. He was concerned that there was a coverup by his government.  He was concerned that there was a cover up by our government.  He was concerned about Trump as President for another term. He was concerned..... Did Senior Suarez really think this was news to us?  

He stood tall and was proud and to say he was a Communist. However, his body language said how he felt about the current state of affairs in in Cuba.  He hung his head, his posture became soft and he willingly, calmly, quietly admitted that communism is not working very well for Cubans or for Cuba. Again, did Senior Suarez really think this was news to us?  

The story Mr. Sua’rez Sua’rez, the Professor de la faculty de Derecho de la Universidad de Oriente, wanted to shock us with, was that Che' Guevara had shot himself in the mouth. It was an accident. Che’ apparently had been working at his desk. While sitting, his revolver was uncomfortable, he put it on the desk, it fell to the right side and he leaned over to grab it.  As it hit the ground it fired and the bullet went thru the right side of his cheek.  Then Senior Sua’rez produced the photos!  The proof to support his story..... There was a photo - just like in the National Inquirer, was my thought.  Reinaldo Sua’rez Sua’rez had photos of Che’ with a black mark on his right cheek. Senior Sua'rez said that was the bullet hole, a gunshot wound.  The photos taken at Che’s death do not show the bullet wound to the cheek, said Senior Sua’rez. He was going to do his best to get us to believe that Che’ Guevara did not die the way the news had reported his death on October 9, in 1967 and his photos proved it.  The Washington Post reported:  "Before his secret burial, Guevera’s body was laid out by Bolivian soldiers and put on display for the press in the village of Vallegrande."  November 17, 2014.


This was the first story of many he would tell us. He briefed us for 1 and 1/2 hours. He had a stack of documents, photos, papers, letters, news clippings all supporting his assertions. This was “fake news” cuban style.  Noticias Falsas Espanolas! I snapped a few photos of the meeting with my iPhone! The Gallery is attached HERE. Now wishing I had taken more photos. After all, I am a photographer!  However, that was the most awkward photography moment ever.  

LINK TO GALLERY OF THE PHOTOS 

PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!


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Chuck Doughty(non-registered)
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