Edel Rodriguez first came to the United States as a nine-year-old political refugee from Cuba after Fidel Castro announced the 1980 Mariel boatlift that led to some 125,000 Cubans fleeing the country and it's crumbling economy.
Though Rodriguez and his family were able to build a new life here in the States, his childhood in Cuba living under Castro's dictatorship forever changed the way that he saw the world and would later inspire him to transform his personal politics into powerful pieces of art. Last year, Rodriguez's TIME magazine covers took the internet by storm with their simple yet scathing depictions of Trump as a literal melted down puddle of slime.
Now, for Der Spiegel, he's drawn the Donald as a screaming, knife-wielding maniac who's severed Lady Liberty's head. The image, Rodriguez told Public Radio International, is meant to be provocative and upsetting because the time for subtlety has passed.
“I don’t think you can be subtle about what’s happening right now. I think we were subtle during the primary," Rodriguez said. "And because of that, because the media treated it as sort of a show and wasn’t very serious about it, we have the president that we have right now.”
Rodriguez's drawings of Trump have drawn criticism from members of the German press for being in poor taste and potentially hurting the magazine's reputation for bring hyperbolic in its imagery, accusations that Der Spiegel's editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbäumer has shrugged off. To Rodriguez, though, regardless of how people feel about his art, he sees it as the necessary response to Trump's bullying style of politics.
“When I was a kid, I would go outside and get in trouble with someone," Rodriguez said. "They might punch me, and I’d come home crying, and my dad would say, just go out there and punch them harder next time."