Still in tumult over Trump, Facebook is now engaging with the Castro Question, with the left producing the utilitarian defence and free-thinkers arguing that the ‘greater good’ is not worth having if it includes persecuting dissenters (and shooting about 10,000 of them, in the case of Cuba).
Now, one might pass over how this division mirrors the row between ‘health-ists’ and what could be termed the ‘risk aware’, were it not for Castro’s favourite prop – and a significant prop to his impoverished fiefdom’s economy – the famed Cuban cigar.
Castro, who began began smoking at 15 and only stopped at 65, even had his own personal brand rolled for him. And with cigar manufacture accounting for one per cent of his country’s GDP (possibly two, if the thaw between Cuba and the USA continues under Trump), he and his cronies have been ambivalent about suppressing the habit at home.
Although all Cuban tobacco products carry health warnings, as elsewhere, the rules are less stringent for cigars. And while the island is gradually tightening rules on smoking in some public places (but not, for example, nightclubs), these are generally ignored. Unsurprisingly, Cuba is also opposed to international moves towards plain packaging of tobacco products – and is currently in dispute at the World Trade Organisation over Australia’s ‘de-branding’ of its premium products.
Viva la revolucion!