Hey Detroit, Meet me in Havana
Cancun, where I await a flight to Havana, is a gastronomic vaudeville for Margaritaville Americans bent on rogue acts of gluttony. They even tried to get me into a time-share condo, “NOW, before time runs out!” For which I told them:
Number one: “Bernard Madoff ponzy-schemed my life savings.”
And two: “I need a time-share in Cancun like I need a burlap Speedo.”
Cuba is another story and I want to be part of it . Havana, a crumbling Caribbean jewel of Spanish Palaces built by slave labor and capitalism (and unmaintainable by socialist labor and communism) is home to some of the best cars America ever made.
The last American cars to be quarantined were 1950s beauties, Detroit’s finest, still rolling through Havana’s streets, omnipresent like strong American values silhouetted by the one Russian car, the Lada, which is also everywhere, a truncated, Slavic cigar box of a Mr. Magoocovich-looking ride orphaned of even one ruble of free market savoir faire.
Detroit doesn’t need a bail out. They just need to get their cars back from Cuba and write Fidel a bad check before Obama lifts the embargo. For the Cubans, however, it will be like the painful demise of the USSR during Perestroika. Cuba will have Castroika when Yucatan Chuck roles up to Cancunify the place.
But, there is hope. We could give Ron Blagojevich – disgraced Governor of Illinois – to Fidel as Minister of Cuban Car Sales, and Ron won’t have to go to jail in the States. Instead, he’ll be doing post-Cold War community service here.
It’s only across the way.
“Yes,” shouts Blagojevich. “Come on down to Che Guevara Car City for the best of America. Get them while they’re hot, these unapologetic pegasaurian praises to the wheel, anthropomorph-mobiles with faces, eyes and mouths so majestic that you never need wear a seat belt, you can have a six pack of Schlitz on the console and you can even inhale a Lucky Strike while singing to Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons.”
Like the De Sotos and other road sharks, these cars have fins and can swim. If augmented with outboard motors and the incentive of blood, they probably can make it to Miami as a fleet.
If you are ever curious about who won the Cold War International Car Show, go to Cuba.
And remember, Lada, which rhymes with “nada,” is nothing.
Landscape artist, curator of ideas, Peter Soderman is the brainchild behind Writers Block and Quark Park. He is the subject of the film, American Landscaper.