Friday, September 08, 2006


Cuban Posters in Solidarity with National Liberation

These days when you think of Cuba's friends you might think of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, or the other aspiring Bolivarians of Latin America's anti-neoliberal left. In many ways the Cuban revolution has never forgoten its roots. Today's insurgents and rebels can be a power on the world stage tomarrow, and Cuba itself is an ongoing example. For nearly half a century Cuba has built relationships with movements for national liberation and socialism.
The Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (OSPAAAL) was created in Cuba in 1966 hot on the heels of the Tricontinental Congress. The Tricontinental Congress brought together revolutionary forces from every corner of the colonial world and helped crystalize not just frateral relations between them but cemented these movements turn towards armed struggle and socialist transformation. The Cuban revolution had tremdous prestige amongst the anti-colonial movements in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East after its 1959 victory over the Batista regime. Che Guevara in particular became a symbol of the armed rebellion against imperialism---his call for "two, three, many Vietnams" echoed from Angola to El Salvador.
In the wake of this Congress and in the spirit of this global network of revolutionary movements, OSPAAAL became a clearinghouse of ideas and, most strikingly, images. OSPAAAL brought together some of the finest, most cutting edge graphic artists from Cuba and the world to create posters and artworks to celebrate the revolutionary and independence struggles of the period. OSPAAAL made it so even if your movement was low on cash, had it's printing press seized, was facing international propaganda against it, and was generally forced underground you could still count on your message and ideas being plastered on walls in cities across the globe.
And those OSPAAAL posters got around! I'm sure there are many people in this world that only knew about the Western Saharra independence movement, or the movement in Yemen, or repression in Haiti because they saw a Cuban-printed (often Cuban designed), multi-lingual OSPAAAL poster in their neighborhood. They sent buddles of these beautiful designs to leftists all over and these images became part of the common language of a generation of revolutionaries, especially in the self-indentified Third World.
OSPAAAL is still around, still printing posters and publishing materials aimed to help social justice movements. Although today, as you might have guessed, many of the posters take aim at the International Monetary Fund, the WTO, and US agression in the Middle East.
Here are some of my favorites from the late 60's through the 70's.
Olivio Martínez Ospaaal PosterJesús Forjans Ospaaal Poster
Solidarity with anti-apartheid movement in South Africa from 1974 (left) and 1977 (right)
Ospaaal Posters - Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin AmericaAlberto Blanco Ospaaal Poster
Solidarity with anti-Pinochet forces in Chile (1975) and against US involvement in Nicaragua (1985)
Middle Eastern Ospaaal PosterOspaaal Posters - Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America
For an independent South Yemen (1969), and declaring "Unity is Vitory" in Lebanon (1978)
Alfredo Rostgaard Ospaaal PosterDaniel García Ospaaal Poster
Against US imperialism in Vietnam (late 1960's), and in solidarity with the Japanese New Left (1968)

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?