“It was one of the funnier things that has happened…before I sign up for diplomatic corps, I might need to consider how I go about these things in the future.
“That morning, I woke up. I reached in my bag and I was a little groggy. The first t-shirt that came out was an army green t-shirt. And I always travel with this red bandana which I wear all the time.
“Here we go.
“So, it was really hot. We knew we would be dripping with sweat in the Havana sun trying to do this press conference. I put my red bandana on. And, I got a beard. I went down and I just didn’t put it together. It just didn’t dawn on me what I looked like and what that represents to the people there.
“I answered questions about why we were there, what role we were playing in the celebration and the role Cuban music plays. That was incredibly important to them…what role does Cuban music play in Canada. And, I kept stroking my beard. I didn’t realize at the time…you don’t say the name [Castro] necessarily, you just stroke the beard. I was wondering why they were all laughing. And, I looked down and realized that I’m wearing the uniform of a Cuban revolutionary, el Comandante. I finally acknowledged it and it was like the ice was broken, the tension was diffused and everyone started laughing.
“Ultimately, it was fine. But, I did get a few looks for the rest of that day. Once you’ve already impersonated Fidel Castro, it is easy to do anything after that.”