Blog Syndicate

Nicaragua Horrors

Pedro Molina has been an editorial cartoonist in Nicaragua for more than 20 years. A crackdown by Nicaragua’s President, Daniel Ortega, threatens Pedro and other journalists who dare report the truth about the brutal regime. I asked my friend Pedro to write a column about the situation for us. – Daryl Cagle

Cartoonists often complain that politicians are unfair competition because they can be crazier than our cartoons. This is particularly true in Nicaragua, where I live and work as a cartoonist.

We have a government formed by a married couple: President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. The only time they venture out of “El Carmen,” their private housing complex, is for ceremonial events that are covered by most television and radio media in the country, which, by the way, they own.

Despite calling themselves “socialist revolutionaries,” the Ortega family are actually multimillionaires (thanks to Venezuela’s oil business) with a special taste for things like Mercedes Benz cars, Rolex watches and caviar. Our first lady, Murillo, the most extravagant of the duo, has filled the country with huge ridiculous metal “trees” she calls “Trees of Life” at the price of $ 25,000 each; we have hundreds of them! In the second poorest country in Latin America!

As you can imagine, Nicaragua was a cartooning paradise, with lots of potentially funny material for political cartoonists like me … until April 18 of this year.

After several years of suffering electoral frauds, curtailment of rights, selective repression, attempts to censor the internet and mismanagement of environmental disasters, the last straw was the enactment of the country’s social security law that curtails the rights of current and future pensioners.

Protests began timidly in a country where protests, however small, are crushed by mobs like the JS-19 (a paramilitary arm of the government) and the police. This time, the killing of college students made peaceful protests spread like a wildfire. Dozens were killed while Ortega’s wife, in the style of George Orwell’s Big Brother, referred to war as “peace” and violence as “love.”

Protests and killings continued. May 30 is national Mother’s Day in Nicaragua. People took to the streets to honor the mothers of all the victims of the repression since last April (numbering 86 dead at that time). The Mother’s Day march became the biggest public demonstration against this government, ending when the paramilitary and police forces of Ortega and Murillo opened fire against the crowd. It was a massacre.

At the time I write this, the number of protesters killed by the regime since April 18 is over 146. It is clear that Ortega and his wife, after 11 years in power, will not resign by their own will.

There are brutal regimes around that world, why should Americans care about Nicaragua?

In early June, Nicaraguans were expecting the General Assembly of the Organization of American States to deliver an energetic condemnation about the massacre conducted by Ortega’s goons. Surprisingly, we learned that the Ortega regime and the Trump administration made some type of agreement on a softer statement, avoiding the stronger condemnation that was needed and expected.

The question is why. Why is president Trump doing favors for a thug like Ortega? Is this another favor from Trump to Ortega’s comrade, Vladimir Putin? Is it because Trump identifies with an egomaniac that clings to power no matter what? Is it in exchange for support from Ortega against Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela?

There are many questions, but few answers.

I hope these questions find a way into Americans’ hearts and minds. Why is Trump aligned with a genocidal leader like Ortega? Congress is discussing Nicaragua now, and readers can take action to help us stop the killings. Please call your representatives in Congress and urge them to care about Nicaragua. Why? Because of our shared humanity; or perhaps because instability in Central America could mean many more immigrants trying to get into the USA soon. Please call your congressman and spread the word that what is happening in Nicaragua is NOT a war; this is an armed state murdering unarmed citizens.

– Pedro Molina, editorial cartoonist, Nicaragua


Republicans Argue Immigration

152057 600 Republicans Argue Immigration cartoons


Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my!

It has been too long since I have posted new cartoons here!  I took time away for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention in Salt Lake City. (You can see me opine on the convention with Rob Rogers and Pat Bagley here.) Then it was the end of the quarter and I had to pay the cartoonist royalties, another three days lost.  So I’m late.  But here are the missing cartoons!

I drew this one of Edward Snowden a couple of weeks ago.
133597 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

It wasn’t long before Ecuador was no longer talked about as a possible asylum for Snowden, so I drew a revision.

134264 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

Today it looks like Venezuela will be the lucky winner in the Snowden derby.

The next one is Obama sweeping some crud under the constitution rug. I thought about labeling the crud “NSA,” and I could have labeled it “Guantanamo,” but I decided labels are for sissies.  Given the e-mail I get from readers, I probably should have labeled the constitution also.

134245 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

Next is Mohammad Morsi in his prison garb.
134171 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

This one is actually in response to a reader comment.  I had posted this oldie of Morsi on my blog …

122900 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

Thanks to Cheryl Akins, who posted a comment that I should draw Morsi in prison garb now – and, of-course, she was right.  I made his face a little cuter the second time around.  I probably should have stuck with the uglier version.

With Egypt falling into chaos, I reposted one of my favorites from earlier this year.
126311 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

Which brings us back to the Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 decisions.  I drew this one.

133768 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

We had a nice bunch of DOMA decision cartoons, but the best one came from by buddy Nate Beeler, who drew this big wet kiss that went viral on Facebook.

133776 600 Egypt! Snowden! DOMA! Oh my! cartoons

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an outpouring of love for a cartoon as I witnessed for this Beeler beauty.  Nice work, Nate.



Edward Snowden

134264 600 Edward Snowden cartoons