For many months, my leftie friends on social media — and before you ask, yes, I’m a leftie too — have been mostly unified thanks to their shared hatred of Donald Trump. Then Fidel Castro passed away last week, and now the once sweet Kool-Aid we all used to communally drink has turned to bitter wine (the gross boxed kind).
I don’t really have any conservative friends (that I know of), so the core of my Facebook feed has split into two main camps: group #1) a hardcore, capitalist-hating, Chavez-respecting, Manu Chau-listening bunch, and group #2) the sober, perhaps a bit more centrist and less romantic faction (they probably listen to shitty music too, don’t put it past them).
The former group get huge hard-ons thinking about how Castro essentially got away with flipping off the US for so long, and right in its fat, McDonald’s-eating face. Why? Because most other countries — especially in Latin America — wouldn’t dare to piss off the Yankees. It’s the same band of people who immediately point out all of Castro’s great contributions — many of which, if this writer is to be believed, were already in place before he took over:
Before Mr. Castro came to power in 1959, Cubans suffered from a grasping, corrupt dictator and the U.S. mafia was involved in the island’s casinos, to name two issues. However, Cuba was not an economic straggler and it already “topped the charts” on multiple social indicators.
…ponder Cuban health care. Cuba in 1957 already had more doctors per 1,000 people than did Norway, Sweden and Great Britain. In 1958, according to even one recent regime-friendly academic paper, Cuba “ranked in the first, second or third place in Latin America with respect to its healthcare indicators.” Circa the 1950s, that success included long life-expectancy rates, and the lowest infant-mortality rates in Latin America.
The latter group, the one’s you’ll never catch wearing a Ché t-shirt because Rage Against The Machine ruined them for everybody since the ’90s, are softer lefties, but they do have the capacity to appreciate Mr. Comandante Tracksuit’s support of racial equality, medicine, and higher education (even if he pimped out Cuba’s bookworms later on).
But faction #2 can not turn a blind eye towards all the other shady shit Fidel did (mistreatment of dissenters, homosexuals, and, among many other things, the fact that he never actually implemented a real democracy where people could vote, which was kind of the whole point of his revolution in the first place). Concerning this criticism, die-hard castristas argue that Fidel was simply from another time and he did what he could with what he had, or something along those lines, but camp #2 is having none of it. For all the progress that occurred under his watch, Castro was still a huge asshole, they say.
Alas, these are the core arguments I’ve been reading from many of my buddies on social media. But if you’re truly wondering about the merits of Castro’s revolution — and its culmination — I suggest you check out Patria o Muerte, a new HBO documentary which gives many current Cuban residents a chance to tell their own tale:
María Rubio was so good as Catalina Creel, an iconic telenovela villain, the role ruined her career
According to sources on Twitter, and also TvNotas, the holy bible of Mexican gossip, María Rubio, the legendary actress best known for her role as Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna de lobos, has passed away. She was 83 years old.
Thanks to her role as Soraya Montenegro in María la del Barrio, Itati Cantoral has been dominating the internet with an insane amount of memes, gifs, and even a House of Cards promo special. Itati blew up in the mid ’90s, when older millennials were still teens, and she’s that generation’s go-to character when it comes to Mexican telenovela villains.
Yes, Cantoral was great as Soraya, but the top dog in the telenovela villain game was — and has always been — María Rubio. The Tijuana-born actress was so good in Cuna de lobos that, according to an interview she did with Cristina Saralegui, the role ruined her career:
“[Catalina Creel] was a difficult, beloved character. I enjoyed playing her, but she also hurt me a lot. People completely forgot about María Rubio and now it seems that, after 40 years of being an actress, I’ve only done Catalina Creel.”
Catalina, a murderous matriarch, was known for having some of the best one-liners in telenovela history. But in the same interview with Saralegui, which was filmed over 20 years ago, María proved to be just as cunning and smart as her infamous character, but also incredibly funny:
“[Although I played a villain], I’ve received nothing but compliments, love, and admiration. Never aggression. I think viewers do attack the bad ones — bad actresses, that is.”
If you understand Spanish, check out the hilarious interview below. Watch María viciously own everyone in a panel of full of young telenovela villains:
Traumatic advice from aunt Rosa: “Don’t torture your Care Bear, Mijo. Or else.”
I was 6 years old when I yelled at Tugs, my Care Bear. I put him in time-out for not agreeing to the rules of an imaginary game I had just created.
I built a little time-out fortress for him to stay in while I played with my other toys. Coincidentally my tía Rosa was visiting that day. I urged her to see all my toys when she came into the house. I also explained to her that Tugs was in time-out, to which she replied in shock, “Mijo, mira, You have to be nice to your toys.”
I replied, “Tía, I am nice to my toys, but I’m teaching him a lesson.”
She contested nervously, “No, Mijo, you have to be nice to your toys or they might not be nice to you.”
I wasn’t following her logic.
“Mijo, if you’re not nice to your toys, then at night time they might wake up and crawl into your bed to cut your toes with tiny razors,” she said slowly while staring at my imprisoned Care Bear.
“What?!” I whispered to her while looking at Tugs from the corner of my eye.
“Yes, your toys might do very bad things to you if you don’t treat them good.”
I stared at her in disbelief.
She stood up and walked towards the doorway.
“Mijo, I brought you some tortillas. Come in the kitchen and let’s warm them up,” Rosa said casually.
From then on, Tugs sat on a tufted pillow on my dresser while I slept in velcro shoes for the next year. Growing up in my Mexican-American family meant that everything was possibly alive and watching you.