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What Cubans Are About to Discover with Wi-Fi

A cultural center in Havana has finally rolled out access to Cuba’s first free, public Wi-Fi and, as you’d imagine, hundreds are flocking to discover this “Internet” thing. We can’t imagine spending a day, let alone a lifetime, without the amazing sh*t we get from the Web. Although it’s only the beginning, and Cuba’s Wi-Fi may move at the speed of a herd of turtles, it’s life changing. Here’s how…

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Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

Entertainment

Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

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Recently, it was announced that Amazon studios will be producing a movie based on the lives of groundbreaking Old Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. According to reports, Nicole Kidman is set to play Ball while Spanish actor Javier Bardem will be playing Arnaz.

Seeing as Arnaz is widely viewed as one of the first Latino actors to achieve mainstream success in the United States, this news was positive for many. But for others, the news was less than ideal.

Some critics are lambasting the decision to cast Bardem as Arnaz, seeing that Bardem was born and raised in Spain, and is therefore not Latino.

One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “I guess it’s really hard to find a Cuban actor so you have to hire a Spaniard…Whitewashing can happen to Latinos too.”

The criticism around Hollywood relying on Spanish actors and actresses to play Latino roles is not a new one. For years, Spanish actors like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, and Paz Vega have played Latino characters in American movies. The preponderance of this phenomenon have led some people to accuse Hollywood of “white washing” Latino characters by casting Spanish actors.

Antonio Banderas is one of the most famous examples of a Spanish actor who built his career off of playing Latinos.

He has played Latinos for so long that many people think he is, in fact, Latino. But when he was erroneously called a “person of color” by American publications when he was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, there was quiet the outcry in Spain.

Spanish publications condemned American media for having an “absurd obsession” with race, and not understanding that Spaniards are, in fact, white.

Publications wrote arguments like: “Banderas might pass as a Latino ‘person of color,’ to an Arkansas farmer, great-grandson of Germans, but never to a California delivery man born to Guatemalan immigrants.”

To some observers, it seems that Hollywood prefers casting Europeans as Latinos because Hollywood sees Europe as more “sophisticated” than Latinidad.

25-year-old Spaniard Juan Pedro Sánchez, summed up the problem on Twitter, saying: “A lot of people in Spain are bothered if others confuse them for Latin American because Spaniards see Latinos as people of color, and they don’t want to be associated with that.”

He went on to say: “What bothers me is not being considered a person of color, but that people ignore that Spain was a colonizer country. It erases that history.”

The bottom line is, fans are frustrated that Hollywood keeps looking to European actors to cast Latin American characters.

Study after study shows that there is still a stubborn lack of representation for Latinos onscreen. And when there is finally a role that puts a Latino character front and center, Hollywood prefers to hire a European actor over a Latino one.

Javier Bardem is an exceptionally talented actor and there’s no doubt that he will tackle the role of Desi Arnaz with creativity and dedication–but fans’ frustrations at the casting choice doesn’t have to do with Bardem’s acting capabilities. It has to do with the all of the ways that Latinos are discounted–including professionally.

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Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

Culture

Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

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Thanksgiving is almost here and the pandemic is changing things for the holiday season. One of the biggest changes is that it is not advised to gather in person for the celebration. This might seem like a bad thing but it does give you the chance to mix things up before a Zoomed Thanksgiving feast. Here are some Latin Americans substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving table as a test run for next year.

Turkey is great but give some lechon a try.

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Lechon is a Cuban pork dish made for big celebrations. Thanksgiving is a big celebration the revolves around food. Lechon is already the meat of choice at a Cuban Thanksgiving and is usually the star of the plate. You can spend hours dealing with a turkey for the tenth year in a row or you can be a little more excited and make this delicious Cuban meal.

Tostones (patacones) are the perfect replacement for potatoes.

Tostones, also called patacones, are made using green plantains. They are tough and starchy so they make a great savory side dish. make sure you double fry these bad boys. Once when they are chopped and a second time after smashing them to their iconic flat shape. If you let the plantain ripen, you can use it to make maduros instead, which are sweet.

Or, take those plantains and make mofongo.

Mofongo uses the same green plantains except they are fried once then mashed. It goes great with pork so this is a perfect little dish to pair with the lechon if you really want to go for it. The Puerto Rican dish is something that will forever change your mind about what you’d like to see at Thanksgiving.

Causa rellena is a Peruvian take on the classic mashed potatoes.

If you want to stick to the potatoes you are used to buying, Peruvian causa rellena will given them a Latin American spin. The dish does not take long to make and requires minimal cooking. The most you have to really cook is boiling the potatoes so you can mash them but the way the dish ends it by popping it in the fridge. Just layer the cooked ingredients and set it in the fridge overnight to save on Thanksgiving Day cooking time.

Corn is always a hit, especially as esquites.

Esquites is one corn dish everyone needs to try at least once. It is a neater version of elote because it is all the same ingredients but in an easier to eat way. Better yet, you can make a big batch or opt for personal servings to make it all cleaner and easier for everyone involved.

Guava con queso pastelitos are the dessert everyone is really asking for.

This little Cuban pastry is probably one of the best desserts ever created. This is not up for debate. It is just a simple fact of Latin American desserts. Honestly, when you taste the sweet and tangy flavor of the guava wrapped in the flaky, buttery pastry, your life will change. Drop the pumpkin for one year and give this Cuban dessert a try.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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