Through posters, a dialogue about Cuba's future
This image provided by "For Another Cuba" shows a poster created by artist Rolando Pulido that was on display Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Miami as part of the "For Another Cuba" campaign. The works are part of an exhibit held in Miami by State of SATS, an activist group attempting to foster civil society and stimulate discussion about Cuba's future. (AP Photo/For Another Cuba)
MIAMI (AP) — In one poster, Raul and Fidel Castro ride in a hot air balloon made of newspapers. Their fingers are plugged into their ears, drowning out any noise around them. A blue bird similar to the Twitter icon flies nearby, its beak threatening to punch a hole and send them to the ground.
In another, a Havana street is lined with banners hanging from streetlights.
"Citizen demand for another Cuba," the signs read. "Sign it now!"
The works are part of an exhibit held Saturday in Miami by State of SATS, an activist group attempting to foster civil society and stimulate discussion about Cuba's future. The group's leader, Antonio Rodiles, is in Miami to promote a campaign demanding that Cuba implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ratify two United Nations covenants the government signed in 2008 protecting civil, political, social and economic rights.
The posters all contain the words "For Another Cuba" and were created by artists on the island and in the diaspora. The works were shown in Miami's Little Havana and will later be put on display at the State of SATS in Havana, which is operated out of Rodiles' house.
"The posters are part of a campaign including artists, musicians and citizens of all types," said Rodiles, 40, who earned a doctorate in physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and taught at Florida State University before returning to Cuba. "Caricatures and posters send very direct messages that sometimes words and analysis cannot."
Rodiles and other members of State of SATS are the most recent Cuban opposition leaders to travel abroad and share their work with the international community — and the large base of exiles in Miami — since Cuba eliminated its exit permit requirement in January
Blogger Yoani Sanchez, Berta Soler, co-founder of the Ladies in White group and Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of Oswaldo Paya, a dissident killed in a car accident last year, all visited Miami in April.
All have vowed to return and continue their work on the communist island, unlike many who left after the 1959 revolution. These dissidents frequently say their future is not in another part of the world but in a different Cuba. They have been given human rights prizes and received with open arms by the exile community and Cuban-American politicians in Miami. It's unclear what conditions they'll face on their return, or even how far their message has spread in Cuba.
But at the very least, their visits have provoked a dialogue in Miami of Cubans from different waves of immigration. At the Saturday exhibit and panel discussion, many of those present were exiles who had left the island decades ago and never returned.
"People in Cuba know their rights and want change," Ailer Gonzalez, State of SATS' artistic director, told them. "But they don't know how."
State of SATS believes change can be provoked by building an independent civil society in Cuba, much like what occurred in Eastern Europe more than two decades ago. The group coordinates panels and lectures in Havana on topics like "Master Plan for a 21st Century Havana" and "The Media in Cuba Today." The events are all taped, burned onto DVDs for distribution and placed on YouTube, where some of their videos have received thousands of hits.