An Artist’s Opinion of the New USA-Cuba Accords


HAVANA TIMES — Yasser Castellanos brings us his perspective on the recent agreements between the United States and Cuba, announced by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro. What do you think?

11 thoughts on “An Artist’s Opinion of the New USA-Cuba Accords

  • Thank you for the link to that interesting website. I have learned something new. While there are no “pure blood” Taino in Cuba, many Cuban’s have Taino mtDNA. An article on the website spoke of rural communities east of Camagüey where traditional Taino cultural practices are still maintained, if often folded in with Spanish & African cultural influences.

    That said, I still think the painting would be more relevant to rent events if the figure on the right was a Cuban military officer, as the proposed normalization of US-Cuba relations seems to be driven by US business interest on one hand, and the Castro regime oligarchy on the other.

    Perhaps the artist could add ordinary Cubans (Creole, African & Taino) lying down on the bottom of the image, with the other figures, US dollar & FAR general, standing on them. That would be most appropriate.

  • Given the imaginary definition of “real democracy” you have crafted all by yourself, it is safe to say I know as much about real democracy as you do. You have never experienced the fantasy bottom-up democracy that gives you the warm and fuzzies. No one has because it has never existed. So don’t prance around like you are the expert. You can imagine that brave new world until the cow come home. In the meantime you live in the US.

  • To me the painting represents Cuba again opening up to a murderous, morally corrupting force that has killed far more people than did the Spanish ethnic cleansing that followed Columbus et al .
    In fact, Columbus and the gold and spice seekers who followed were after the possessions of the native Americans , were out to kill these people and take what they wanted no less than the imperial capitalists have done in impoverishing half the world .
    Since , according to the lesser educated, socialism and communism have failed , ( in fact, they have never existed ) those systems cannot be blamed for the world’s poverty which, although far worse in developing ( Third World ) countries, runs to some 20% in the USA; the richest capitalist country to ever have existed.
    The picture should be titled: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
    or “Better check that outstretched hand of capitalism for the knife it will always stick in your back while lifting your money belt. “

  • …..And WTF would YOU know about real democracy?
    You are faithful to and support the four totalitarian pillars of US society which you refuse to acknowledge: capitalism religion, the oligarchy and the (normally) male-dominated nuclear family.

  • Historical note: the Taino disappeared long before the USA even existed, so you can’t blame that on the US.

    What I see in the use of the Taino image is the cultural appropriation of a vanquished race by the descendants of the victors (the Spanish). In modern social justice circles, that sort of thing is very much disapproved of. If the Castro regime is attempting to pass itself off as “innocent natives” reaching out to the rapacious capitalists, that is a very hypocritical stance.

  • Congratulations to the artist! This is his vision and respecting it tells you he sees the new possibilities necessarily must build on the past. I interpret it as saying something very accurate about the US relationships and treatment of Cuba since the beginning. The US government saw Cuba as a business resource to be exploited, first by commerce and slavery and later by domination. If you think that for one moment the government every cared a twit for the people, the decimated “natives” or non-rich, that is your right, but a very silly and naive opinion. The right reminds us that long before Spain and the US decided to invade and pillage, there were a non threatening people who reached out as sane and decent human beings. Imperialism made sure no such nonsense endured. So while their decedents may be buried by horrific history, their spirit is still alive in Cuba – and contrary to the “haters” who will be furious at this painting, whatever is good and bad in Cuba today, it reaches out for a respectful relationship, even with the USofA which is the most money dominated country and culture in the world! So I hope the best humanity in Cuba will rub off on the some of the Americans who travel South.

  • I recognized the Taino figure. There are no Taino in Cuba today, which is why I felt the image was meaningless. There is a military oligarchy which rules the country and who hope to gain from the new relationship with the USA.

  • I disagree with Yasser’s depiction of the US. It is not about money for the US. It is about Obama’s ego. He would like history to record that the first real steps toward restoring democracy to Cuba began with his decision to normalize relations. He seems to have a “God complex” to this effect with regards to former enemies of the US. Iraq, Myanmar, even Syria are examples where Obama has originally extended the olive branch. In most cases the response was not wholly positive. There is no money to made in Cuba. Not really. If there is, it will be made by the Cuban generals cum corporate barons once capitalism roars in. For the US, US business in Cuba is simply a defensive strategy to blunt the Chinese and Russians from gaining a beachhead on the island. Opening business investment in Cuba will also satisfy the Miami Cubans who have been chomping at the bit to take advantage of their vulnerable uncles, aunts and cousins. I agree with Griffin’s vision of the Cuban half of the drawing. The Castro oligarchy, who have waited patiently in the wings for 56 years, for their own glory will jump at the chance to push the last of the Castro clan aside and fill the breach with their own selfish agenda. I would also add one other character. Outside this handshake are the Cuban people. Unless real democracy comes to the island they will stay poor and voiceless.

  • There have been numerous ideas for artworks depicting the détente between Havana and Washington. The person depicted in the right half of the painting is actually a Taino warrior, since Cuba was inhabited by Taino Indians before Columbus’ time. One day, I can make an artwork depicting a gentle Uncle Sam embracing a Cuban maid with jet black hair.

  • The left half of the painting is accurate. The right half should depict a general of the Cuban military, holding a truncheon.

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