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HAPPY AT 90 MILES » 2009 » May
May
26
2009
1

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Internet?

The International Society for Human Rights has released a creative campaign pointing a finger at those leaders that fear that the openness of the internet is at odds with the closed societies they preside over. I guess this confirms that Raul Castro is the official image of Cuba.

mouse_raulcastro1
The campaign is by Ogilvy & Mather (Frankfurt) and won a bronze Clio this year in New York.

Check out the others here, starring authoritarians Ahmadinejad and Chávez.

For more info on the restriction of internet in Cuba, please see my previous post on the subject.

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May
24
2009
0

The rhetoric of prison countries

cuba_bars
image credit: International Society For Human Rights

The necessity of imprisoning one’s people because they are liable to emigrate en masse if given half a chance is nothing but a sad admittance of failure. All societies exercise some level of coercion over their citizens in order to ensure order, but the ultimate proof of tyranny is a closed border. It is a capitulation of faith, replaced by a grim certitude that people must be prevented from voting with their feet.

I came across a piece of East German propaganda that attacks the motivations of those who would want to leave the “worker’s paradise”. It is called “He Who Leaves the German Democratic Republic Joins the Warmongers”. This pamphlet was distributed in 1955. It is sad that so many years later Cubans still suffer under similarly tired slogans and laws.

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May
18
2009
1

Internet in Cuba

Less than 2% of the population in Cuba has access to the internet.

Reporters Without Borders online protest against Internet Censorship

Reporters Without Borders online protest against Internet Censorship

There are real obstacles presented by economic limitations of the potential users and the U.S.embargo (lack of access to fiber optic cables limiting bandwith, although telecommunications technology is not part of the embargo). However, the fact remains that the Cuban government extends its severe censorship to the world wide web, undobtedly fearing its inherent openness.

Go to any bookstore in Cuba and check out the selection: The life of Che, Che’s diaries, Memories of Che, Fidel’s best speeches, The Open Veins of Latin America by Galeano and some works by Chomsky. There are other titles, conspicuously apolitical, but that about sums it up. Now imagine applying that kind of filtering to the internet. It’s hard, but the regime has managed through a couple of ways. Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes recently called the internet “A wild Colt (horse) that can and must be controlled.”

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May
15
2009
2

Drawing Havana

Here’s a study of a street scene in old Havana.

habana_vieja011

It’s loosely based on a photo I took years ago and shows two constants in Cuban street life; People hanging about without anything particular to do and magnificent old buildings in Art Deco and Baroque style crumbling slowly. The idle Cuban is not lazy, rather, there’s nothing for many of them to do. In order to avoid high double digit unemployment, most Cubans are employed just a couple of days a week as there’s not enough work to go around.

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May
12
2009
0

Games for change


There’s a burgeoning movement that entails the intersection of video games and documentary, especially in light of human rights. The portal Games For Change showcases a series of games with social issues such as human rights abuses, Poverty and global conflict.

A good example of a simple yet effective flash game is Against All Odds, created by UNHCR where you have your avatar go through the refugee’s experience of persecution, imprisonment and torture, and eventually escape. No specific country is mentioned, but it could be Zaire, Bosnia or Cuba, anywhere Human Rights are abused.

(more…)

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Written by IPH in: Human Rights,Video Games |
May
08
2009
2

Sketching the past

There is a real challenge in trying to capture a past that in not your own.

In order to portray the Jorge of 18 years ago, I have only two old photographs to go by. One of them is on the main page of this blog. The added difficulty is that Jorge’s appearance has changed over the years, mainly due to serious health complications from having ingested acid in prison in protest over his treatment.

By looking intently at Jorge today I can still glimpse the young man, his cheeks hollowed by the meager rations and hunger strikes, the same button nose, the same eyes, almost slanted.

Here are the result of the sketchings I have done.

jorge_at20

jorge_brazos


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Written by IPH in: Graphic Novels,Updates |
May
07
2009
0

Thanks for voting!

All right, I’m not happy with the voting widget I put on here, it seems to seriously under-report the votes as if it were a power-hungry autocrat. (Ah, the problems with electronic voting!)

This is the result of only 8 votes, the numbers are percentages. If the damn pie chart doesn’t display properly, hit refresh.



Version # 2 won, but I’ve gotten several comments that indicate that this logo isn’t ready for prime time yet, so it’s back to the woodshed to make some alternatives. Thank you all for participating.


As for GlowDay.com, it has been voted off my island.

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Written by IPH in: Uncategorized |
May
06
2009
4

Vote for the logo

I’m putting together a logo/banner for the project, and thought I’d consult with you, the faithful visitor!

The logo uses a font that somewhat evokes comics and is based roughly on the Cuban flag, which takes its inspiration from the American one.

I might add elements to it, but right now I need to hear some opinions.
Please look past the ugly colors of the widget and cast a vote for your favorite. Consider things such as readability and visual impact when choosing. If you don’t like any of them or think a mix would work better, say it in a comment. Thanks!


Survey ResultsGlowDay.com

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Written by IPH in: Updates |
May
05
2009
0

Character studies

Here’s a drawing of Jorge and his friends, all around the age of 16, ready to get on a raft and paddle away.
Left to right it’s Papili, Jorge, Pichi y Mañanga. (those Cuban nicknames!)

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Written by IPH in: Graphic Novels,Updates,WRITING |
May
04
2009
0

HIV and AIDS education through comics

In another look on the intersection of Human Rights issues and Comics, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has comissioned a comic book for its operations in Africa that aims to educate children and young people on the facts and human rights issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Unlike most comics made for institutions this one sports compelling illustrations and typography. It seems well produced, with versions in English, French and Arabic. Hopefully the booklet will be able to make a difference in the refugee camps with this difficult yet inescapable subject.

Click on the images to see PDF versions of the books.

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Written by IPH in: Human Rights,comics |

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