Venezuelan Cartoonist Rayma Suprani Fired After Criticizing Hugo Chavez
Sometimes we comics fans can get so bogged down in the minutiae of whether characters we like are being treated the way we think they should that we forget that some cartoonists actually risk their livelihoods -- and occasionally their lives -- to make comics.
Trouble can arise even over seemingly innocuous points. Consider the case of Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani, who was fired from her job at the El Universal newspaper over a cartoon about health care.
The cartoon makes a pretty basic point that Americans see more or less daily: A politician ruined something. Specifically, the cartoon uses an EKG readout to show the status of health care in Venezuela. One graph, under the word "salud" (which means "health) looks normal. Another, under the words "salud en Venezuela" shows the signature of former President Hugo Chavez, and then a flat line.
Suprani was the cartoonist at El Universal for 19 years. The paper has traditionally been anti-government, but it recently changed ownership and softened its stance. Chavez died last year of cancer.
Despite her reported firing, the cartoon is still up on the El Universal website. The newspaper has yet to explain its reasoning behind the firing, but Suprani made the following statement on Twitter: "To my readers and followers, I tell you that we will carry on through other, smaller avenues but with endless creativity."