Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Anti-American Art: Passive-Aggressive Neighbor

"No Al Bloqueo Economico a Cuba!" "No to the Economic Blockade of Cuba!" reads this 1991 poster from Cuba's OSPAAAL. It shows a map of Cuba breaking through the bars of Uncle Sam's top hat.

It's the American argument against Castro's Cuba that makes me furious. "Oh after fifty years of revolution the country is still so poor! Look they have nothing!" Because the real story is that the United States has spent fifty years trying to isolate Cuba into submission. Cuba's pre-revolution economy was intimately connected to the U.S. economy; its agricultural products from sugar to fruit to cigars had a market beginning just across a few miles of water. Tourism, even though it was tainted with organized crime and prostitution, further channelled money back and forth between the island and the U.S. And then Cuba dared to kick out its corrupt politicians and exploitative landowners and dared to break free of the U.S. sphere of influence. This country has never forgiven them; never forgiven its embrace by the Soviet bloc in the cold war.

The economic survival of Cuba, rather than being seen as a condemnation of its socialist government should be held aloft as a miracle of determination in the face of unbelievable odds.

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