Uprooted is proud to present the work of independent artist, Ian Deleon!
We are pleased to announce that Ian Deleon has submitted his work “Y Sin Embargo, Te Quiero” or “And Yet, I Love You” for inclusion in the Uprooted series. This work deals with the effects of the decades old economic embargo placed on Cuba by the United States. It symbolically examines the ways that this policy affects Cuban migrants living in the States as well as, the ways in which US foreign policies often times create the conditions that lead to migration.
Ian describes the meaning of his work in the following terms:
“With this piece, I wanted to use the long-standing economic blockade on Cuba as a symbol for historical and ongoing interventions by the United States against foreign governments. Having, myself, cultural ties to the Cuban situation, I found the subject of the island’s refugees to have great potential for a visual metaphor of the foreign policy of the United States.
Initially, the embargo on Cuba was put in place by the United States with the hopes of crippling the popular uprising of Fidel Castro and his group. Castro, however, refused to let the embargo stop the momentum of the Cuban Revolution and has continued to blame the U.S. for the economic crisis of the small Caribbean nation, while at the same time implementing strict rations on its provisions.
Paradoxically, Cuban-American exiles (often the most staunch supporters of this embargo), such as those living in South Florida communities, are often the most affected interest group (from the American side), as the embargo makes it extremely difficult to travel or send supplies to Cuba to aid their family members.
Though the Cuban government, more so than the U.S. embargo, may be the largest obstacle in the way of a free Cuba, it is undeniable that this five-decade-long crusade against socialism (having roots in the power struggles with the Soviet Union since the end of the Second World War) has failed and has done little to contribute to the enhancement of freedoms for the Cuban people.
In seeking to force an economic standstill that would result in a counter-revolution to topple Castro’s regime, the United States may have done nothing more than strengthen the anti-imperialist views of Castro supporters and make the situation just a little bit more difficult for Cuba’s citizens. Presently, the embargo is being weakened under U.S. President Obama in order to foster more communication among the people of the island and their American expatriates in order to promote what he calls a grassroots democratic movement through word of mouth. While the Cuban embargo may be given up altogether in the years to come, the United States’ tendency to meddle in foreign affairs has not abated. It remains true that the U.S. often does not act out of a sense of moral obligation to help a people in need, but rather it is motivated by selfish economic interests.
The contradictions in this situation were represented through the treatment of iconic symbols of American culture (and its global presence). Whereas the Cuban refugees may come over and celebrate the unfamiliar taste of a Coca-Cola, or proudly display an American flag on their window and violently defend the honor of the country that welcomed them, my irreverent use of these icons within the installation hint at the deeper problem of America’s continued involvement in foreign affairs and the disreputable actions of American corporations across the world.”