Monday, March 10, 2014

Great Granma!

The Cuban government has a new upscale housing project it’s calling Project Granma.  No, it's not a retirement home for grandmothers, but rather fancy apartments for certain loyal government officials. So what’s Granma got to do with it?

Granma, a variant spelling of Grandma, was the yacht that was used to carry 82 Cuban Revolutionists from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 to try to overthrow the Batista regime. A 60-foot cabin cruiser built to accommodate 12 people, it was named by the original American owner as a tribute to his grandmother. The yacht was bought from the Schuylkill Products Company by a Mexican gun dealer named Antonio “The Friend” del Conde, who was secretly acting for Fidel Castro.

Although the coup was not successful until a few years later, Granma has become an icon of the Cuban Revolution.  The official daily newspaper of the Cuban Communist Central Committee is also called Granma.

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou did not have a grandma or grandpa since he was found as an infant hidden in some bulrushes wrapped in an old copy of Variety.  He has been “on” ever since, but it is not clear on what.

            When I’d snorkel and I’d scuba
            In the waters down by Cuba,
            I'd drop in on a bar quite near Havana,
            Where I’d sip a Cuba Libre
            Like a very thirsty zebra,
            And sometimes munch an overripe banana.
            One day I met a young barista,
            Who urged me to go see Batista,
            But the people had decided to rebel,           
            And in el jefe’s chair was Castro,
            So from way back on the last row,
            I stood and shouted out, “Hola, Fidel!”

            “Viva Marx!” the rebels shouted,
            And since I felt those Marxists doubted
            Me, I tried to act just like a gaucho.
            “Viva Marx!” I answered proudly,
            Then I added, very loudly:
            “Three cheers for Harpo, Chico, and for Groucho!” 

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