Fidel Castro has been called a lot of things – brutal, a great speaker, egomaniac, intellectual, conniving.
Leave it to the décor, or lack thereof, in his abode to earn the 88-year-old former Cuban leader a new modifier at this stage in his life.
Recently, photos circulated far and wide of Fidel Castro meeting in his home with “The Cuban Five,” Cuban intelligence agents whose so-called "Wasp Network" operated in Florida in the 1990s.
The photos, the first photos of Castro’s house, drew attention for various reasons. The Cuban Five were all wearing identical white shirts, for one thing.
But it was the – ahem – interesting interior furnishings and decorations that sent tongues wagging, reports the Miami Herald.
All sorts of styles co-exist in the lilac-tainted den: white wicker chairs, desks chairs and even a rocking chair. Then there is the wooden horse carvings and all sorts of very detailed bric-a-brac.
Long-time critics of Fidel and his brother Raul Castro couldn’t resist slamming his decorating style.
Which is what led to “tacky.”
“It’s tacky,” said Miami radio host Ninoska Perez to the Miami Herald. “All those colors, blue and green and orange and a different blue — it’s just tacky, dictator-tacky.”
Joe Fava, who has a trained eye in such things, opted to take a more diplomatic approach, perhaps in the spirit of the new diplomatic direction of U.S.-Cuba relations.
“Let’s be kind and call it ‘eclectic,’” said Joe Fava, who owns Miami’s Fava Design Group.
“Maybe ‘collected,’ in the sense that he just added things he liked as he found them. Definitely ‘hodge-podge.’”
The Herald noted that Fava seemed a bit overwhelmed when shown photos of the room where Castro sat – in his Adidas athletic zip-up jacket – with the Cuban Five.
“It seems like there’s no rhyme or reason to any of the touches,” Fava said. “There’s no rhythm or balance to any of it.”
Time Magazine seemed to come to the same conclusion about Fidel Castro in 2010, but that was about his sartorial choices.
That year, Castro – who long donned only military fatigues in public – came in at No. 8 in Time's list of the "Top 10 Worst-Dressed World Leaders."