Sculptural mural, 45 ft. base, 27 ft. transverse,
33 ft. height. Painted at Montview
Boulevard Presbyterian Church and St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1985-1986. Sponsored
by Our Lady of Guadalupe
Catholic Church, Denver, Colorado. This work portrays the Central American people
struggling for a better life while
faced with overwhelming poverty and oppression.
I designed this sculptural mural in 1985
to draw attention to the intervention of our government
against the Central American peoples. My design involves a twisted
and jagged cross to symbolize
the crucifixion of the poor and exploited by despotic Central
American rulers. It also sought to demonstrate our solidarity
with the people
of Central America, especially those in armed struggle,
namely Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
My composition evolves from a scene which
shows an enormous predatory eagle spreading its wings protectively
over a sinister vulture devouring a human being. The eagle represents
imperialism protecting its lackies, portrayed as a vulture
and the victim being ravaged signifies the oppressed of Central America.
The numerous people behind the vulture represent
those Americans who endorse this cruel arrangement of our government
allied with oppressive regimes.
From the right side is approaching a multitude
representing the Central American people coming to confront their tormentors.
Foremost in this scene is a campesino carrying a cross wrapped in a
red flag. This symbolizes a great motivating ideology to those peoples
in the revolutionary struggle, namely Liberation Theology. Essentially,
this means that the scriptures and Christ’s teachings urges Christians
to seek justice for the poor and defenseless and to overcome all forms
Other depictions on the mural’s right side include:
Mothers of the Disappeared – the line of women approaching as
they uphold placards bearing photographs of loved ones kidnapped and
disappeared by the army and secret police.
Women as revolutionaries – a woman with a white head scarf grabbing
a soldier’s weapon even as other bayonets threaten her. Her left
hand is clenched into a fist.
A revolutionary Catholic priest – with right hand upraised in
protest while his left hand carries our Christian bible.
Banner with the statement “Between Christianity and Revolution
there is no Contradiction.”
On the left side are depicted conscientious Americans coming to oppose
the oppression and suppression of the Central American peoples. At the
same time, these concerned Americans denounce our own government’s
In the near left base can be seen an American religious minister extending
his hand in solidarity while another, lower figure, points at a declaration
which reads “No more racist war!” Various people together
hold out our American flag which appears tattered, dirty and smeared
with military boot prints. This was my way of accusing our military of
soiling our national flag by siding, participating with, and assisting
bloodthirsty dictatorships throughout Latin America.
Approaching on a wheelchair is a Vietnam War
veteran amputee whose gesture is one of protest against U.S. intervention.
Other people hold up placards questioning the reasoning for intervention.
One such poster states “our Chicano sons will not be sent to kill
our Central American brothers”. Finally, among the multitude, approaches
a child bringing an injured white dove as if to confront the warmongers
with this symbol of peace so often ignored or forgotten
The ascending imagery depicts various figures representing Central American
nations crucified upon their own flags. One of these, I suggest Nicaragua,
succeeds in freeing itself, reaching for the region of liberators. Among
the liberators is Christ, who uplifts Nicaragua as he shields him from
Two of the crucified are even so still being victimized; one, an indigenous
woman is being milked of her life essence by a decrepit but well attired
female; two, a campesino is having his heart and soul extracted by a
wealthy landowner in a white suit.
Another scene is a kidnapping in process of a dissident or conscientious
citizen abducted by a government death squad, never to be seen again.
On each extremity of the transverse, that is, the arms of the cross,
are depicted the following:
On the transverse left side, is depicted an indigenous
Mayan family surrounded by menacing weapons. The child,
mother and father are painted
with halos over their heads suggesting the Holy Family. A
fourth halo, however, is seen around the man’s grip on his machete
signifying that the right to self-defense and self-determination
is a sacred right
of all oppressed peoples.
A television camera and a cynical news media with no understanding of,
or sympathy for the oppressed in Central America, present the striving
of the poor as a communist threat. In this area is also shown a Central
American army soldier about to decapitate his own people under the guidance
of a U.S. advisor using the CIA Instruction Manual.
On the transverse’s right side, are shown first of all, the four
American religious women murdered in El Salvador in 1980 for working
to assist the poor. Following this is a landowner shaking the hand of
an American business man who has just purchased the agricultural and
other products of his country for consumption in the U.S. Between the
two is shown a young girl trying to cover her nudity with her country’s
sarape. Her braids have been cut off and are held by a red headed woman,
who encircles the world with her legs, while offering to replace the
girl’s cultural identity with a mask likeness of her white face.
Meanwhile, appealing to the landowner are two hungry children
who are then threatened by the national army least they reach
the sustenance they need.
My intention with this depiction was to question why should the U.S.
consumer be gorged and satiated with the products of poor countries where
malnutrition is a daily reality?
How is this arrangement just?
Secondly, aside from the economic exploitation, I wished to portray
American cultural imperialism depicted as the read headed woman with
the mask likeness of herself, trying to impose it on others.
On the upper area of the cross are grouped
together many heroes and martyrs of the struggle for liberation. These
personalities represent love for humanity, love for cultures, love and
action on behalf of the poor and exploited, and love for justice and
compassion. Among these are Christ, Che, Zapata, John Brown, Martin Luther
King, ___________, Sandino, Chief Sitting Bull and others.
This is the region where the young man representing Nicaragua and many
others, reach for, the dream of human liberation.