Right up there with opening a restaurant called "Chez Guevara," an entrepreneur in Miami would be insane to have a cigar shop called "Castro's Back Room," replete with a man-size statue of the fatigue-clad dictator bearing a flower. Heck, you can't even keep a rooster statue in Miami without someone stealing it. Imagine a likeness of a tyrant who took people's land, home or freedom?
But you can have a jokey Fidel-as-cigar-store-Indian in New Hampshire. It ain't Miami. The sensibilities are different in a state where less than 3 percent of the population is Hispanic. The percentage of those of Cuban descent is even smaller. Compare that to Miami-Dade, where 72 percent of the 368,221 registered Republicans last election were Hispanic, nearly all of Cuban descent.
Given the different political culture and ethnic climate, it's probably not a big surprise that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's New Hampshire campaign staff didn't bat an eye when they opened the Newt 2012 offices next to this cigar shop. Still, a South Florida Republican from a rival campaign got a yuk out of the juxtaposition and snapped these pics.
Gingrich, incidentally, is well-liked in Miami's Cuban exile community and has been praised for his hardline leadership in the U.S. House when Helms-Burton was passed in 1996.
Also, it doesn't look like Castro's Back Room violates Helms-Burton. It doesn't have real Cohibas.