Not really! Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba (which does not yet include lifting the embargo) is a giant step toward fixing Cuba. Nevertheless, people are already worried that Cuba will no longer remain a zoo of human inmates dwelling in picturesque shabbiness – already complaining about the prospect of Cubans no longer trapped on a prison island, no longer oppressed by a totalitarian regime, and therefore free to buy a Big Mac. Seriously. This is a real thing on Twitter:
Cuba is going to look GREAT with McDonald’s golden arches everywhere! pic.twitter.com/NgL7qctlqt
— Lazlo Morphine (@adammc123) December 17, 2014
Wish I’d got to see Cuba before McDonalds set up shop
— Dave Smith (@ffflow) December 17, 2014
The US opening up Cuba is huge news. Cuba is an amazing country…hope it doesn’t get ruined with Starbucks & McDonald’s on every corner — SPEAK (@speakz) December 17, 2014
Look, I totally understand the sentiment. There is something singular and vivid about a vibrant, tropical ruin frozen in the 1950s. Cuba is a showcase of dilapidated anti-commercial mid-century nostalgia, and I too sort of wish I had gone to see it, just as I wouldn’t mind having seen Soviet Leningrad. Come to think of it, it would be pretty interesting to see the slave ships coming into harbor in prebellum Savannah. What a scene those auctions must have been! But the human part of me, the moral part, as opposed to the aesthetic and amorally curious tourist part, can only regret that slaving Savannah and communist Russia lasted as long as they did, and today I can be nothing but hopeful that something like freedom is finally coming to the Cubans. If it does, and I make it to Havana, and see a McDonald’s, I will walk into that McDonalds, buy a large Diet Coke, and pour a little on the ground in half-sincere mourning for the pretty, impoverished theme park of tyranny I never had the chance to see.