Fernando Camacho Padilla / Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Jan 12 2023, 17-19h. Campus Condorcet, Bâtiment recherche sud, salle 6.040
From 1961 through the early 1990s, Cuba’s revolutionary government committed itself to national liberation causes in Africa, Asia, and Middle East. By 1976, over 30,000 Cubans were actively involved in military, educational, and medical missions as part of Cuba’s internationalist solidarity mission. Cuba’s direct intervention in places like Angola, Syria, and Algeria was praised by some leaders, such as Nelson Mandela. However, it was considered threatening to some within the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations, where Cuba’s interests and connections with the Soviet Union were the object of some suspicion.
Sending direct military and humanitarian assistance were not the only means by which Cuba signaled its willingness to advance internationalist revolutionary objectives. In 1966 Cuba promoted the foundation of the Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL), which quickly became a conduit of revolutionary ideas. It circulated updates on national liberation struggles and calls to action for solidarity, through a monthly newsletter, the Tricontinental Bulletin, and a bi-monthly magazine, the Tricontinental. These publications included interviews, news reporting and analysis, speeches and essays, alongside colorful posters, and photojournalism. They communicated visual evidence of Cuba’s involvement in distant struggles for liberation.
This presentation will explore the role of visual communication and photojournalism in the printed work of the OSPAAAL. The goal is to find out how Cuba’s campaigns to promote a particular interpretation of the Cold War were coded into photographs and visual aspects of journalism. It is also interesting to see how depictions of solidarity activities were used to build confidence in Cuba’s position in international conflict.
This presentation is part of the research project “Photographing Revolution: Images of Cuban Solidarity in Transnational Contexts” hosts at the University of British Columbia (Canada) and coordinated by Jessica Stites Mor.