The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s been less than a year since both President Obama and Raul Castro announced the US and Cuban administrations respective decisions to restore diplomatic relations between the countries. At first glance it can be viewed as a positive. It re-establishes ties – economic, cultural and familial for many on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, with the recent influx of the media onto the island nation – cue the Conan O’Brien and Netflix cameos – one can’t help but think Cuba will become the very thing it was so steadfastly was opposed to – a feeding ground for opportunistic capitalism.
The latest offering comes in the form of Cuban Chrome, a show to be aired on the Discovery Channel. In its promo push it markets the show as the first US series to be shot exclusively in Cuba. It will follow the members of the “A Lo Cubano Car Club,” who are well known on the island for driving, tricking and tweaking their classic American cars to get every last mile out of them – think of all the great family elements of Fast & Furious and Sons of Anarchy minus the violence and crime.
The show’s main goal – refurbish these cars so they can keep them longer and in the best condition possible. Its well known that the U.S. embargo that took effect in 1961 stopped the flow of new cars, and parts into the island, forcing a handful of ingenious gear-headed Cubans to modify or just straight up create parts to keep their cars going.
While we haven’t had an opportunity to see preview episodes various outlets report that the show will take viewers to places never seen before on U.S. television, from Havana’s ramshackle garages that house jaw-dropping hot-rods to street races.
We still have a healthy dose of skepticism, but will reserve judgment until the finished product airs. Why? Well, if mutual, insight, understanding and prosperity can result, then we say – start your engines!
Cuban Chrome premieres July 13, 2015 on the Discovery Channel at 10:00 pm.