The words have to be enticed out of Ibrahim Miranda’s mouth, one by one. His sentences are brief, sporadic, with long pauses, and are often condensed into a simple head movement, affirmative or negative. Sometimes there is a smile of approval or a laugh. I have never seen him worked up, or heard his voice raised. Yet one always feels the presence of a great inner, containement, like a pressure cooker.
This xylograph with charcoal is somewhat removed from the iconography that Ibrahim used in his initial engravings. Far from expressing the whims of his imagination, here he intentionally transmits a message of social, racial and political meaning. Ibrahim based this work on the title of a song by Cuban musician Miguel Matamoros (Santiago de Cuba, 1894-1971), interpreted by the famous Trío Matamoros which used as a background the image of an old map of Cuba where the Florida peninsula is also visible. The long political rift between the governments of Cuba and the United States, which has blocked our country economically and culturally for the past fifty years, has not only generated untold hardship and suffering in our population, but has also encouraged it to embark on an exodus to the United States (especially Miami, only 90 miles away) as a possible solution to our problems. In addition to the dramatic separation of families, this voyage is often carried out on rudimentary crafts, which has caused countless deaths in the Straits of Florida. The black population of Cuba – although less represented in these migrations – has always been worse punished by the economic effects of this political conflict. Aside from the many domestic problems they have faced as the most vulnerable sector of our society, they are also in a disadvantaged position in relation to the remittances sent by émigrés from abroad, since the black sector residing abroad has fewer employment possibilities and receives less remuneration . The black tears of this work refer to the sufferings of the Cuban people in general, and specifically the tears of black men and women.