Monday, March 05, 2007

Dining with(out) dictators

Close but no cigar, folks …the ninth Habano Festival closed in Havana over the weekend without sign of either of the Castro brothers.

According to media reports, about 800 wealthy cigar-smokers from 40 countries attended the gala dinner that marks the end of the five-day cigar festival.

In the past, humidors personally autographed by Fidel Castro had been auctioned during the dinner for as much as USD500,000 a humidor, with. the money raised supposedly going to the Cuban hospital system.

This time around, however, Castro failed to sign any of the humidors on auction, apparently due to ill health.

But fear not, those happy capitalists attending the dinner had a great time nonetheless, enjoying fine wines and equally fine cigars in between courses of lobster, prawns, salmon, caviar and salted beef fillet with mushrooms in guava sauce, which sounds very cocina nueva.

And they happily toasted the health of the ailing 80-year-old dictator, wishing Castro a speedy recovery. Lovely, no?

UPDATE: The older Castro brothers may not have attended the dinner but it seems that at least two of Fidel Castro's sons were there on the night: Alejandro and Antonio, who is pictured above. According to reports in the Spanish media, the brothers and their respective entourages enjoyed all that caviar. And the fine wines. And the cigars. Quite a night. Not that you'd ever read about it in the Cuban media, of course.


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