Depicting a cartoon of US President Donald Trump holding the Statue of Liberty’s severed head in one hand and wielding a bloody knife in the other, German news magazine Der Spiegel chose to make a strong statement on the cover of their latest issue.
The man behind the powerful image is freelance artist Edel Rodriguez, a Cuban political refugee who escaped Castro’s autocratic regime in the 1980s.
“I was born in Havana, Cuba, and I came to the United States in 1980 when I was nine years old. It was a political refugee situation, so I became an American,” Rodriguez told artnet News in a telephone interview.
Rodriguez said that he disagreed with the Trump administration’s executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Islamic countries from traveling to the United States.
“I think [Trump] has a really warped and simplistic view of immigration. From my story and other people’s stories, I can say that its an issue that’s much more complicated,” he explained.
According to the artist, his illustration for Der Spiegel reflects the damage that America’s international reputation has suffered as a result of Trump’s controversial immigration policy.
“I think that he’s destroyed the world’s idea of what American democracy is about and that was what I was trying to convey in the image,” Rodriguez concluded.
In Germany, the controversial cover has attracted plenty of criticism from politicians as well as competing media outlets. According to Newsweek, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP) and vice president of the European Parliament dismissed the cover as “tasteless,” whilst German daily Die Welt said that it “damages journalism.”
Speaking to Newsweek, Der Spiegel’s editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer rejected the criticisms and defended the divisive cover. “Der Spiegel does not want to provoke anybody,” he insisted.
“We want to show what this is about, it’s about democracy, it’s about freedom, it’s about freedom of the press, freedom of justice and all that is seriously endangered,” Brinkbaeumer continued. “So we are defending democracy… Are these serious times? Yes they are.”
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