portfolio > Cuba + Puerto Rico | Invitación a Volar

2 second video loop

U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt's expansionist foreign policy was referred to as big stick diplomacy, for his often-used moniker: "speak softly, and carry a big stick." This threat of aggression behind a thinly veiled rhetoric of compassion proved characteristic of his administration's relationship abroad, especially within Latin America and the Caribbean. Roosevelt's militaristic implementation of the Monroe Doctrine ushered in an era of justified foreign expansion, which included the occupation of Philippines and Puerto Rico (nations which had secured their independence during the 1898 war with Spain) as well as the highly suspect terms of the Panama Canal Zone lease deal.

This inconsequential moment in popular sports culture presents a caricature of Teddy Roosevelt (one of several presidential mascots representing the Washington Nationals baseball team) expressing frustration over another embarrassing defeat during a mid-game promotional race. This moment is highlighted and repeated ad infinitum by the artist--a provisional, yet satisfying act of decolonization.

"Just at the moment I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth. All that we wanted from them was that they would behave themselves and be prosperous and happy so that we would not have to interfere."
—Theodore Roosevelt, 1906


Soft Spoken