31 January 2009

Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?

Fidel’s revolution has always been about images. The picture perfect dictatorship.

And that image has been successfully sold to the unsuspecting consumers in the market for a Utopia for half a century.

Fidel’s one and only talent has been to lie and sell slavery as revolutionary martyrdom-Patria o Muerte. He was able to tap into the Cuban unconscious and push all the right emotional buttons with symbols. The beards and crucifixes of the early revolution, the fatigues, four hour speeches, the Korda Che picture on t-shirts and cigars later and now the tracksuit and blog have all been part of the symbolic look of his revolution’s marketing campaign.

Castro’s 50 year propaganda campaign has managed to convince the world that even after 50 years Cuba is still undergoing a revolution that was over on Jan 8 1959. The world’s longest going out of business sale.

Ironically, this week that picture perfect dictatorship wasn’t exactly all that picture perfect thanks to a couple of pictures.

Fist off, Newspapers in Argentina and Venezuela as well as most of Miami were questioning the authenticity of the picture that showed the Argentine president next to a “rejuvenated” and some would say a fake Castro. Yawn.

But, I did show the high resolution digital photograph to a friend who uses photoshop and other software to legitimately “fix” photographs. I also told her the story of how a Cuban official “handed” the photo to the Argentine in public. When she finished laughing-she swore she wasn’t laughing at me and my Cuba obsession-she said that the high resolution digital image was that of a scan. So if someone took a digital photo, doctored it, printed it than scanned into a high resolution image, unless they were really bad at “photoshopping” the image, she couldn’t tell if it had been altered. And she said, what difference does it make, anyway?

OK, so it caused me the price of a latte to find out what I already knew.

The other not so perfect picture that caused a stir, especially on the island, according to Yoani Sanchez, was the Cuban Flag Picture in Granma, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party.

In it, the white star on the Cuban flag was black. Doesn’t sound like a big deal in a country that’s been stuck in 1959 since well, 1959. But it was. It was such a big deal, The next day Granma printed an explanation. A translated Yoani comments:

There are errors that have much greater symbolic weight than hundreds of successes. Evasive stars and readers who interpret their escape; Islands that live dependent on prophesies and superstitions; days to remember the national hero and flags that dare to show what so many people keep silent about.

And all while the substitute dictator, who like the evasive star had left the scene of the crime and was in Moscow drinking Vodka, eating boar fat, (yuk), and nostalgically reliving the glory days of the USSR.

Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

1 comment:

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