Fidel Castro wears a guayabera well, I must say. And he looks rather elegant there, posing cigar-less and holding a wine glass.
Barack Obama is obviously not a casual clothes guy. Not even close. He even declined to hold the traditional Silly Shirt Photo Op at the Pacific summit he hosted last November. But will he wear one at the Americas summit in Colombia next week? Maybe he will, if Castro needles him enough.
Fidel Castro mocks Obama over 'guayabera' diplomacy:
Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has mocked the idea that US President Barack Obama could wear a "guayabera" shirt at an upcoming Americas summit in Columbia, while opposing Cuba's presence at the event.
News reports have said a noted Colombian designer is making a series of guayaberas for Obama to wear at the summit of the Americas in Cartagena, April 14-15.
Castro, whose brother Raul formally succeeded him as president in 2008, offered a history lesson on the origins of the light, tropical shirt, asserting that it was created in an area of Cuba that is watered by the Yayabo River.
"That's why they were originally called yayaberas," he wrote in an article published in the Cuban press.
Other accounts say the shirt's name may have come from the guayabas, or guavas, that could be carried in the large pockets that are sewn into the shirt's pleated front.
"What's curious, dear readers, is that Cuba is forbidden from attending this meeting, but not the guayaberas. Who can stop laughing?" Castro said.
The United States and Canada have opposed Cuba's participation in the meeting, which brings together 34 heads of state and government to discuss regional cooperation and a reduction of physical barriers to integration.
Other Latin American countries had pressed for Cuba's inclusion in the summit, but Washington has been reluctant to end a five decade old policy of isolating the only one-party communist state in the Americas.
Okay, so Castro resents Cuba's exclusion from these summit things. Got it.
To get back to the Silly Shirts, I see that Castro got Jimmy Carter to wear a guayabera during his 2002 visit to Cuba. But, how hard could it have been to persuade Carter to do something slightly undignified in the interests of going along with his hosts? I don't think Obama will loosen up without a fight.
If Obama won't wear the Silly Shirt to spite Castro, this guy will. In a heartbeat.