FIRST AIRED: August 12, 2017

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>> Havana's dilapidated walls doubling as canvases for Cuba's young graffiti artists looking to subvert a range of social policies. Five or ten years ago, artists say they wouldn't have been able to do this. And until recently, graffiti was uncommon in Cuba's tightly controlled public spaces. Reuters' Sarah Marsh explains why the art is popping up.
>> Street art isn't new in Cuba. There are plenty of decorative, state-sanctioned murals around the city of Havana. However, what is new are these illicit graffiti making pointed social critique. For a handful of young Cuban Artists these illicit creations are a coded means of touching upon socially sensitive topics, such as the fear of expressing oneself freely in public, and growing materialism.
>> 27-year-old Yulier Rodriguez is behind these creations. Inspired by street artist Banksy, he says his creatures often have no mouths in order to represent Cubans' reluctance to publicly express their discontent for fear of being punished.>> In my work, you can find desperation. You can find frustration, you can find impotence, fear, pain, solitude, because they exist.
>> The same themes can be found in the murals of Fabian Lopez. The 20 year old drawing headlines for this depiction of Donald Trump's severed head, reflecting anger over the US President's plan to constrict US Cuban relations. Havana officials quickly painted over the image.>> Artists who openly challenge the government often get detained.
One of the first prominent graffiti artists in Cuba, who was known as El Sexto. Mike immigrated to Miami in January, saying that he'd been imprisoned several times. And it didn't make sense to continue staying in a country where he couldn't do his art.>> Despite that, for many artists, Cuba's growing graffiti scene reflects a greater scope for critical expression under President Raul Castro.
And the increasing influence of international culture, as the country slowly opens.