One thing that initially seems refreshing about visiting Cuba is the lack of commercial advertising. Not that there are no billboards; in fact, huge placards are omnipresent. They’re populated instead with political propaganda. I’m sure many Canadian leftists might savour the idea of progressive viewpoints brandished everywhere instead of airbrushed models toting Gucci bags. After all, isn’t advertising really a form of propaganda as well?
“How barbarous—they liberated a terrorist!” A billboard on the streets of Havana
In this arresting image, the subject at hand is Luis Posada Carriles, an enemy of the Cuban government who has been accused of involvement in a number of terrorist attacks—including the bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane, and the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro. Posada has admitted to a 1997 string of bombings of Havana nightclubs and hotels intended to deter tourism in Cuba. Posada, seen as a hero by many Miami-based Cuban exiles, was recently released from US prison after being held for two years after allegedly entering the country illegally.
The USA’s much-ballyhooed “war on terror” is a war of ideology. The L.A. Times recently quoted Wayne Smith, a retired U.S. diplomat and Cuban affairs analyst: “Posada’s release shows the Bush administration’s position against terrorism for the cynical sham it is. It takes us back to one man’s terrorist being another’s freedom fighter.”
Indeed. Still, it’s strange for an outsider to see the Cuban government’s position posted on every wallspace, near and far.
PHOTO CREDIT: JEFF BRIGGS