Originally posted at American Thinker blog
In the style section of online community MamÃ¡s Latinas, author Irina Gonzalez was all atwitter about Barack Obama’s fashion statement scheduled to be made at the mid-April Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. Seems the President has commissioned Colombian designer Edgar Gomez Estevez to supply him with a full wardrobe of “very different and special” shirts called guayaberas.
Estevez explained how Obama’s request demands a labor of love. And from the sound of things the shirts are slated to be an eclectic blend of international diversity.Â The 100% natural linen fibers originate in Normandy, France.Â They then go to Ireland and Poland.Â According to Estevez, “Making a guayabera is not something that can be delegated. All of the embroidery is done by hand. I cut the piece and the borders, and single mothers finish the details by hand, and then we tailor the custom shirt together.”
The MamÃ¡s Latinas feel that President Obama wearing a guayabera shows his support for the Latino community. But there’s one person who’s not all that impressed with Barack Obama’s attempt at sartorial diversity, and that’s former Cuban president Fidel Castro, a man usually dressed in either military fatigues or a tracksuit. And here’s why.
There is strong evidence that the lightweight Caribbean guayabera had its origins in Cuba. One Cuban legend says it was “created by a poor countryside seamstress sewing large patch-pockets onto her husband’s shirts so he could carry guava fruit from the field.”
At the request of Canada and the US, the Summit of the Americas, which hosts leaders from all across the Americas, banned communist Cuba from attending. And Obama chooses to wear traditional Cuban garb? In other words, Barack Obama, just for fun, might as well be wearing an ostentatious sombrero to a gathering he wouldn’t attend if Mexicans were invited.
The insensitive absurdity that the MamÃ¡s Latinas failed to notice was picked up on by the 85-year-old Fidel Castro and articulated in a letter published in the “Reflections” section of Cuba’s state-run newspaper Granma, where he criticized both Canada and the US, but spent much of the allotted column space addressing the Obama/guayabera controversy.
In his article, Castro argued that the shirts Obama will be wearing are Cuban, not Colombian or Mexican in origin, as some believe. Â Fidel claimed “this Caribbean shirt comes from the shores of the Yayabo River in Cuba, so they were initially called yayaberas.”
Clearly miffed at Cuba’s exclusion from the summit, Castro wrote: “The funny thing, dear readers, is that Cuba is forbidden from this meeting, but the guayabera, no. Who can keep from laughing?”
Wearing Cuban garb to a summit he requested that Cuba be excluded from indicates that the President is totally clueless, either purposely attempting to aggravate Fidel Castro or feeling a little guilty about prohibiting the Republic of Cuba from attending the gathering, which confirms once and for all that Barack Obama’s guavas are in the wrong pockets after all.
Yet, despite the awkwardness of the clothing controversy, all is not lost. Barack Obama is not only a Latino fashion plate; he’s also on the cusp of a budding singing career. Recognizing the President’s vocal gift, the smitten MamÃ¡s Latinas have some advice for President Obama to win even more affection from the Latino community, and have recommended “5 songs President Obama should sing to woo the Latino vote.”
So, if at any point Obama wants to mend fences with our Cuban neighbor, he can start by admitting his Colombian-made guayaberas originated in Cuba. Then he can take the advice of the MamÃ¡s Latinas and serenade the former Cuban President with a few bars from the Buena Vista Social Club’s ode to Che Guevara, Hasta Siempre Commandante.