Move over Che, indeed


AFP has published the photo featuring the poster of Presidents Obama and Castro in central Havana yesterday, characterizing the photo as “a revolutionary change to the portraits of Che Guevara and other communist leader plastered around Cuba.” The accompanying AFP story carries the headline “Move over Che: Obama’s the new poster in town.”

Someone observed this week (I think, and I’m sorry I don’t recall who) that the United States has improved relations with two countries under the administration of Barack Obama: Iran and Cuba. In the case of Iran, Obama’s slobbering devotion is strictly a one-sided love affair. In Cuba, however, Obama may have a groovy thing going with the Castro brothers.

According to AFP, the poster is not the handiwork of the Castro regime. I doubt that it could stay up for 30 seconds in central Havana without official approval. Nevertheless, AFP reports that the poster is the creation of a restaurant owner harboring pro-American sympathies:

“Welcome to Cuba,” the poster says under the Stars and Stripes and the Cuban flag.

Miguel Angel Morales, owner of La Moneda Cubana restaurant, said putting up the poster was a big step in a country where the United States has been long been the enemy and where political imagery is tightly controlled.

“As far as I know there’s never been a portrait of a North American president before,” Morales, 41, told AFP.

“In our restaurant we’ve had the US flag up inside for five years, but this is also the first time we’ve shown it outside,” he added.

Morales said he hoped the authorities would not tell him to remove the picture.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “The more publicity the better for me, because it will be harder for them to do anything against us.”

For Americans, the Move Over Che sentiment has a different meaning than the one AFP intends to evoke. It provides a handy précis of the Obama era and Obama’s proclivity toward one-man rule. Here again this morning I draw on the wisdom of Junie B. Jones: Boom! Do the math.