Cuban Artists for Palestine: A Collective Mural Calls for Neighborhood Reflection

By Laura V. Mar and Victor Villalba Gutiérrez, Photos: Yaimi Ravelo

Havana, March 30, 2024 – Artists and cartoonists carried out an urban intervention in the central Paseo Avenue of the Cuban capital, on the occasion of the Palestinian Land Day, that commemorates the first general strike against the theft of part of the Palestinian territory by the Zionist regime.

Now, 176 days after the unprecedented massacre in Gaza, world solidarity is increasingly necessary. The solidarity cannot slow down it needs to grow in many ways. This was the understanding of the renowned cartoonist Ares, National Humor Prize (Cuba 2020) and Grand Prix UYACC Anticoronavirus (China 2020), when he called others to join in on this collective mural.

“When Ares called, everyone said “I put the materials,” Adán (Iglesias Toledo), cartoonist of Juventud Rebelde and Dedeté, told us.

“We needed to reach the streets”, commented Aristides Hernandez Guerrero, popularly known as Ares, in an interview with Resumen Latinoamericano about the reasons that led him to think of this project.

Taking advantage of the public space to show support for Palestine and ” visible in the street so that people can see and come to participate” was the main premise that put into practice that idea among friends, which had the immediate support of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, as Ares explained.

“What can we do?” was the question that prompted Adán (Iglesias Toledo) to participate in this cooperative work. “A painting cannot overthrow a government or win a war, but at least it calls for reflection and sensitivity, it reminds people of what is happening in Palestine,” cartoonist Lazaro Miranda, known as Laz, told us.

“It’s a commitment, you don’t do anything by drawing alone, you take sides”, said Adam, with the conviction of one who knows that from the sensitivity of the artist he has managed to draw social attention to an issue that urgently needs to be taken into account, with a clear and synthetic message: freedom for Palestine and the end of the Zionist genocide.

Palestinian and Cuban students, members of solidarity organizations such as the Martin Luther King Center, Juntas por Palestina -Rapadas por Palestina, the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples and journalists participated with the artists of the graphic art of humor. Among others were Dr. Mariela Castro Espín, Director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) and Deputy of the National Assembly; Enrique Ubieta, Director of Cuba Socialist Magazine; Yoerky Sánchez, Director of Juventud Rebelde and Ricardo Ronquillo, President of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC).

This collective mural that was painted on the walls of the Guido Fuentes Basic Secondary School (Paseo between 21 and 23, El Vedado), “will serve as a reminder of the crimes that are committed daily, so that no one can get used to this being the normality”, as Gerardo explained to us, with the hope that this initiative will be reproduced in other neighborhoods and provinces of the country.

Source: Cuba en Resumen