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Castro's Tropicana

June 18, 1988

Long before Las Vegas was Las Vegas, and before Batista violated the rights of a democratically elected government, there was the Tropicana, the most beautiful night club this side of the Folies Bergere, where Cubans and tourists flocked every night.

Now, Castro, the second-longest ruling impresario of oppression in the Western Hemisphere (after Stroessner of Paraguay), in an effort to demonstrate how wonderful life is in Cuba under his boot, has brought us the Tropicana nightclub revue, a showcase of music and dance that is nothing else but an anachronism in today's Cuba ("Cuban Dancers Warm Up the L.A. Night," by Victor Valle, June 13).

It should be remembered that most Cuban artists, black and white, who used to perform at the Tropicana at the time the night club was taken away from its rightful owners, have left the country, and only select Cuban workers, party leaders, tourists and diplomats can attend.

It is ironic that in a Cuban film ("A Successful Man") recently shown at the American Film Institute festival in Century City, the Tropicana was presented as an example of the decadence before the Revolution, yet now Castro is exporting this poor copy of what used to be the pride of Havana.

As the "Saturday Night Live" Church Lady would say, "How conveee-nient."

RAUL DE CARDENAS

Los Angeles

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