Is that a Darth Vader gum ball dispenser? A quick tour of Raul Castro's retro-hip office

One of the most perplexing things about Raul Castro's speech on Wednesday was all the retro-hip decorating in his office, which looked like a Hollywood set of…well, an 83-year-old Cuban dictator's office. It's not the first time Raul has used this set to give a speech (here's a video from 2013), but it was the first time the whole world was watching and wondering, WTF! Is that a C-3P0 figurine next to a Darth Vader gum ball dispenser or cookie jar? Also, is that real wood paneling on the wall, or is this some fake set that could fall down halfway through the speech? And who are all those old dudes on the wall (the guys with slightly smaller foreheads than José Martí)?


Also, where are the pictures of Che and Fidel — or anyone from the past two centuries?

"I would imagine there are photographs of Fidel and Che elsewhere in the office, so I don't think we should read too much into their absence here," said Jennifer Lambe, assistant professor of history at Brown University. The portraits of the Cuban heroes of independence, Maximo Gomez, José Martí and Antonio Maceo, Lambe says, "are the symbolic icons of Cuban sovereignty, and therefore beyond dispute or partisan politics."

Others are also having fun with Castro's anachronistic office. On Thursday morning, a fake Twitter account for Raul Castro @PresidentCuba popped up announcing "A splendid day for Cuba, US and the world! I open today my official Twitter account. Connecting with all American people. Thanks and welcome!"

The account immediately exposed itself as a hoax, but that didn't stop Taye Diggs from following.


Nuria Net is a founding editor at Fusion and now Social Storytelling Editor working on our Snapchat Discover channel. Co-founder, former editor-in-chief of Net is her real last name; Lechuga is her DJ name.

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