Since 1959 Fidel Castro (and his beard) have held power in Cuba. The length of his reign and the apparent adulation afforded him by his people mark him as a phenomenon in global politics. How has he achieved this? Regy Growthstein gives us his no nonsense view.
OK, so how has this 80 year old been the main man in Cuba since 1959? Some jackass commentators will tell you it’s his domestic achievements; sure, Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. I guess that means the guys back in Havana can read the bull that so called “intellectuals” peddle about Snr Castro then. I mean, some of these guys will say the old man’s still there because the Cubans see him as a revolutionary hero, sticking it to Uncle Sam. Others reckon that because he was best buddies with Che and maybe played a bit of golf with the guy that the people love him . Then there’s the bunch of Reagan loving cronies droning on about political oppression. Well, that’s all baloney. It’s the beard, man.
Consider the facts. Between April 15th and 26th 1959, Castro and a delegation of industrial and international representatives visited the U.S. as guests of the Press Club. This visit was perceived by many as a charm offensive on the part of Castro and his recently initiated government, the fact that Castro hired one of the best public relations firms in the United States nails it. Castro answered impertinent questions jokingly, ate hotdogs and hamburgers. His rumpled fatigues and scruffy beard made him seem an authentic hero. He’s used that communist bit of facial fluff to lethal political effect ever since. It’s the beard that projects proletarian solidarity, it unites the Cuban people under its whispy umbrella.
Would he still be head Cuban honcho if he’d sported a mustache or showed some clean Latino face? No way. The US were onto this right back in the 70s. In 1975 the New York Times broke the news that the CIA had developed a shoe polish compound intended to make Fidel Castro’s beard fall out, so that he would lose his “charisma”. The plan failed and here he still is.
Well Mr Fidel, I raise a fat cigar in your honour. The most powerful, iconic beard in history. Get well soon my friend.
Has Regy got it right? Is Fidel’s the most successful beard ever? Have you ever grown a beard for ulterior motives? Share your thoughts with the World (of Beards)