(This article is part of two separate projects – The Central American Solidarity Movement and the Indy Media Movement in Grand Rapids)
There were all types of resistance to US policy in Central America in the 1980s. As we have already noted, people engaged in various forms of resistance and direct action against the US funding and training of the Contra forces in Nicaragua and the Death Squad Armies in El Salvador and Guatemala.
There were also artists who lent their talents to critiquing and satirizing of US policy in the 1980s. These are the days before the Internet and print media was the main form of communication for most grassroots groups.
In the 1980s in Grand Rapids, one political cartoonist created dozens of pieces to reflect both the absurdity of US policy and the harsh reality of torture, disappearance and murder that was being done with US funding and weapons.
Jim Jirous, created some very poignant pieces for the Central American Solidarity Movement, along with the Central American Sanctuary Movement. The re-design State of Liberty shown here is one example that reflected the US government’s selective treatment of political refugees. The blatant denial by the Reagan administration of the brutal repression in Guatemala & El Salvador is what fueled the US Sanctuary Movement.
Another cartoon by Jirous uses less satire, but reflects the direct connection between US weapons sales and political repression in El Salvador. During the 1980s, the Chicago Central America Task Force estimated that the US was provided $1.5 Million a day to El Salvador, which used that funded to murder an estimated 75,000 of its own citizens, according to the United Nation Truth Commission in El Salvador.
This cartoon by Jirous appeared in several local newsletters and his work inspired many on the realities of US Policy in Central America, along with the human cost of those counter-insurgency wars.
Pingback: Music was a tool in the Grand Rapids Central America Solidarity Movement | Grand Rapids People's History Project
Pingback: Grand Rapids Cartoonist Created Anti-Nuclear Characters in 1980s | Grand Rapids People's History Project
Pingback: 1980s Holiday Themed Political Cartoons Draw Attention to Militarism | Grand Rapids People's History Project