July 4th, 2012 Art Performance By Caridad Sola at The Paper Box NYC
In January 2006, United States Interests Section in Havana began displaying messages on a scrolling "electronic billboard" in the windows of their top floor. The Times Square-style ticker streamed news, political statements and messages in crimson letters blaming Cuba's problems on the country's communist system and socialist economy. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro ordered the parking lot in front of the U.S. Interests to be dug up and replaced with 138 black flags, each centered with a white star, obscuring the messages from the Cuban Residents. The dozens of huge black flags, which Cuba said represented more than 3,000 of its citizens killed over the years by U.S. inspired violence, effectively blocked it from view. The news ticker went dark in June 2009. Cuba later stopped flying the black flags, a step towards dismantling an in-your-face confrontation that arose around the building during the George W. Bush administration and brought always-contentious relations between the two countries to the breaking point. - ABC News Radio
Historical Background: Cuba and the U.S. have had an interest in one another since well before either of their independence movements. In Cuba, the Spanish–American War became known as "the U.S. intervention in Cuba's War of Independence”. Until Castro, the U.S. was overwhelmingly influential in Cuba. However, Castro’s Regime took power and tensions grew to a peak. Several unsuccessful attempts by the U.S to overthrow the Cuban government provoked backlash through anti-American propaganda. To their detriment, Communist Cuba has isolated its citizens from the rest of the world, and tension between the two countries has remained strong.