EL CUENTO DE LA LIBERTAD"
- Una alegoría de las Américas
"AND, WITH TALES OF FREEDOM"
-An Allegory of the Americas
1992, Oil on canvas
75" X 45" / 190.5 cm. X 114.3 cm.
Frame hand-crafted by the artist
as 1829, only six years after the proclamation of the so-called Monroe
Doctrine, South American liberator Simón Bolívar, suspecting
ulterior motives in United States President James Monroe's interventionist
edict, prophetically warns of a United States of North America which
is "omnipotent and terrible and with tales of freedom will
plague us all with misery." Debunking the publicists
tale of a benevolent United States protecting its hemispheric "backyard"
from outside aggression, "...And, With Tales of Freedom..."
points to a danger within: the United States as sole aggressor and suppresser.
An allegorical southern America is portrayed on a symbolic cross. Armed
violence and death, the instrument and consequence of the pax americana,
are displayed at its feet. The pose suggests the contour of the hemisphere.
The figure's bright colors represent blood, the turquoise waters of
the Caribbean and the hemisphere's natural wealth. They are also a nostalgic
reference to the brilliant plumage of the guacamayo or wild parrot of
the artist's native Puerto Rico which, like Puerto Rican culture under
permanent U.S. occupation, is close to extinction.
Overhead unfurls an accounting of the casualties of "freedom"
and, barely discernible on the black background, all U.S. interventions
since the 1823 enactment of the "doctrine" are listed chronologically
by country (Haiti, 1994, has been added after date of completion).
The legend at the base quotes Bolívar.