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HAPPY AT 90 MILES » Updates
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
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
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 |
Apr
29
2009
2

Che será, será.

He’ll have two brief appearances in “Happy at 90 Miles”, once in a historical setting, once in a dream sequence, so I did some drawings of him to get his likeness down.

guevara
Here he is, one of the most polarizing figures in Latin America. Not so much in Europe and great parts of the US, where the consensus is that “Che” was a righteous fighter for justice, a Christ-like paladin of the downtrodden and most of all genuine.

In Latin America, while he certainly has more followers than anywhere else of both the casual and impassioned kind, there is also a great many people who have been at the receiving end of the violence he either committed or inspired.

I’m not talking about dictators in shiny boots like Batista, or even the his torturers who were executed following the triumph of the Revolution. I’m talking about ordinary middle class people who were jailed and killed for their active dissent and opposition to communism, who were told they would either agree to become wards of the state or be labeled as criminals, the parents who lost sons to the armed insurgencies and terrorism he directly or indirectly exported, whether they were soldiers and police men of a bourgeois government, or had been seduced by Che’s example to take to the hills with a gun and fight his countrymen. How many lives have been ruined by the political violence that ravaged Latin America in the last 50 years?

Che means a lot of things to a lot of people. The asthmatic Argentinian physician who became the poster boy for The Cuba Revolution has long since ceased being a mortal human and has transcended into the rarified realm of legend, where he is usually only lionized or demonized. His image taken from Korda’s famous photo casually adorns the t-shirts and bedrooms of adolescents world wide. “Brand Che” has been thoroughly embraced and coopted by the very consumerist culture he despised while populating the wet dreams of rebels and radicals of all stripes who know they’ll never be as hardcore as he was.

To me, he is not Che. He is just Ernesto Guevara de La Serna. A fallible human being who had an inflated sense of self that enabled him to put an a gun to the head of anyone who opposed his worldview and feel holy when pulling the trigger. In other words, another armed extremist with a mission. In this he is more a continuation of the Spanish conquistadors than the indians they both aimed to “liberate”.

Where others see his love for the exploited poor I see this love used as a license for his tremendous capacity for hate. Only hate can put you in such a hard, fanatical position where everyone, including yourself is better off dead than “wrong”. All in the service of ideas that feed on blood and reduce human lives to the expendable debris that is the cost of failed messianic projects such as the Cuban Revolution.

I don’t think you have to be a hard-nosed conservative to see that his example is intolerant. undemocratic and ultimately futile.

One thing his admirers and I can agree with is that he was the genuine article. He was singlemindedly true to his ideals, and did not sensor the brutality of his thought process. This makes me think that a lot of the idealization that he’s the subject of is mainly casued by a lack of understanding and information. I’m sure he’d make most of his young fans cry in disbelief if he could have ten minutes with them.

An anecdote tells that when he was in charge of the more than 150 executions at La Cabaña prison after the rebels captured Havana in 1958, a woman came to plead with him for her husband’s life. He was one of Batista’s officers and was sentenced to die in three days. Guevara had all visitors cross the courtyard with its pocked wall stained with blood and brains from the victims of the firing squads. On listening to her plea, he said that there was no sense in her suffering for three more days, he’d take care to have the husband executed that same afternoon. Is it a true story? It certainly is consistent with his attitude documented in his writings and speeches.

“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary…These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall! (El Paredón)” –Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

“Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the
enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is
heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and
cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without
hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.” Ernesto Guevara -Message to the Tricontinental,
1967

For a brilliant summary on the dark side of Che, please see Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s article HERE

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Written by IPH in: Cuban Revolution,Updates |
Apr
19
2009
1

A video salute from Jorge Alvart

Un saludo de Jorge

Make sure to click the HQ BUTTON on the lower right for best viewing.

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Written by IPH in: Graphic Novels,Updates |
Apr
17
2009
1

90 miles

Those who live on both sides of the strait of Florida know exactly what the term 90 miles means. 90 miles (145km) is the approximate distance from Cuba’s northernmost point to Key West on Florida’s southern tip. This relatively small body of water is notorious for strong currents, sharks and sudden squalls. In good weather it’s a day trip in a motor boat, and 4 days in a raft if you hit the right current.

This geographical distance is loaded with the trauma of a people split apart by a political experiment gone wrong. Longing, fear and loathing reign in both camps that are like two distant planets, but the traffic only goes one way.

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Written by IPH in: Updates |
Apr
14
2009
0

Getting closer

Now, a first ever post about the project at hand; The Graphic Novel.

The writing of the outline is well underway, based on extensive interviews with Jorge. It is very much his voice shining through, as I attempt to conjure up the episodes that seems more from a movie than a life.Some things come easy to picture, others are hard, mostly for the pain and suffering that he went through. It is easy to empathize with, but to put yourself in his shoes?  

Jorge and I have been working on a video salute that will be up soon along with the first sketches.

To the few of you who have visited, please come back as things will get more interesting, if you find the project interesting tell a friend.

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Written by IPH in: Uncategorized,Updates |
Feb
21
2009
0

Welcome

Please pardon the dust as construction of this page comes to an end. In the beginning there will be an emphasis on news items and links while content creation ramps up.

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Written by IPH in: Updates |

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