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Canadian editorial cartoonist association convenes in Cuba

Graeme MacKay, editorial cartoonist for the The Hamilton Spectator, writes a wrap up of his visit to Cuba this month as one of a handful of The Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists (ACEC) members attending their annual convention there.

Never before have we gone to another country where governments have a record of repressing free expressionists by clamping down on political satire directed their way. We changed that this year. In May, 16 cartoonists plus approximately 10 associates ventured to Havana, Cuba, for the cartoonist convention.

Read the whole thing.

Community Comments

#1 Carl Moore
May/29/2014
@ 4:52 pm

“Finally, here?s hoping our friends south of the 49th Parallel will soon rethink their relationship with this beautiful, historic country and its people and let them choose their own destiny unencumbered by old grievances and greedy ex-pat descendants from the Batista era.”

Hmm… So we damned Yankees haven’t let the Cuban people choose their own destiny, encumbered as we are by our old grevances and greedy ex-pat descendants from the Batista era, eh? Who’d a thunk it?… Good job, Graeme MacKay, you have shown us close-minded Americans how to open our minds, shuck off our tired ol’ capitalist, free-enterprise, free-to-criticize- satirize-caricature-and-debunk-pompous-dictators ways of thinking and embrace what amounts to an island prison, complete with gulags, political torture chambers, and, yes, welcoming smiles for useful idiots from Canada.

#2 Graeme MacKay
May/30/2014
@ 8:23 am

Carl please read the article again. I clearly pointed out the oppression served up by the Cuban dictatorship has kept its people from truly expressing themselves as we enjoy in Canada and the U.S. The word “hell hole” was used to describe the state of the economy no thanks to the outdated practices of stubborn ideological practices.

Tell me why it?s okay for the U.S. to trade like crazy with Communist China but to have no business with Cuba.

If you as an American citizen weren’t so oppressed by a Congress that lives in fear of a bloc of vocal Florida expats from the Batista era and could visit Cuba you’d find a people who’ve adapted quite nicely without the arm of Uncle Sam telling its government what to do as it does in so many other countries around the world. The 60 yr old embargo is as outdated as those who go around thinking ultra capitalism will lead us all to utopia ? who are the real idiots, hmmm? We met several Americans while we were in Cuba, and guess what, they love it there, Socialismo and all! Does that mean they?re socialists? Probably in your mind.

My hope, as stated in the article, is that when Cuba finally comes to that time in history and unshackles itself from its own outdated socialist practices (which I think is coming soon), it can choose its own destiny by maintaining certain standards, ones so many Americans frown upon, like universal health care, and an exceptional education system.

#3 Gerry Mooney
May/30/2014
@ 10:29 am

Graeme – Thanks for the reasoned and sane response. It sounds like a wonderful trip and great experience and your perspective is much needed.

#4 Mike Cope
May/30/2014
@ 11:24 am

Damn Canadians.

#5 Carl Moore
May/31/2014
@ 3:58 am

Mr. MacKay, what I find so sad in the ACEC trip to Cuba and your comments is your lack of appreciation for the obvious contradiction between what the ACEC represents – a group of cartoonists who champion values such as openness, free speech, freedom of the press, and a fierce opposition to tyranny and dictators of any kind – and your decision to even consider holding your convention in Cuba, one of the most oppressive regimes on the face of the planet. The Castro brothers are not just a couple of politicians trying out a socialist experiment and thereby thumbing their noses at those oppressive yankees. These guys are thugs. They and their gun-toting goon squads are murderers and criminals. They’ve had – not hundreds – but thousands of people lined up against a wall and shot. Che, that great icon of the left, took a chilling pleasure in personally executing political prisoners, the “gusanos” (worms) who advocated such values as… openness, free speech, freedom of the press and a fierce opposition to tyranny and dictators. Why a group of Canadian cartoonists – not just cartoonists, but editorial cartoonists of all people – think it appropriate to spend their time and money bending over backwards to “understand” and “appreciate” the positives of this Stalinist regime is ridiculous. They’re goons and thugs and any editorial cartoonist worth his salt should oppose them with every fiber of his being. One way to do that is to hold your convention elsewhere… Yes, using the term “useful idiots” was harsh. But were you guys useful idiots? You bet.

#6 Graeme MacKay
June/1/2014
@ 9:40 am

Personal safety is what I base where I will or won’t go. There are truly dangerous places to visit, not to mention a one hour drive from me in parts of Buffalo, NY. I avoid those places. Cuba is certainly not one them.

If people based their own travel boycotts on whatever regimes are in place and/or the actions of now dead thugs from decades ago, nobody would be able to move, including within or to Canada, the UK, France, etc., or anyone to or within the warrior nation of the USA.

It’s quite clear from the article, we went to Cuba to visit with other cartoonists and illustrators, like-minded people regardless of whatever government rules over them, and we had an absolute blast.

Speaking of like-minded people, I’m truly sorry to learn that for your sake, a particular gathering that seems to best suit one’s own comfort zone has been postponed for 2014. Oh well: http://summerredneckgames.com

#7 Carl Moore
June/2/2014
@ 2:33 am

Mr. MacKay – Hey, classy response. I see you’re a graduate of the Pee-wee Herman School of Comedy.

#8 Mike Lester
June/2/2014
@ 11:45 am

In the many years of arguments on TDC this may be the first time we’ve seen the “you’re wrong so you’re a redneck” strategy.
BRILLIANT!!!

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