The Parallels Between France’s Charlie Hebdo and Ecuador’s Bonil
The killing of the Charlie Hebdo staff triggered a discussion over cartoonists’ freedom of expression and marked a time to evaluate the circumstances and censorship that cartoonists suffer in various countries.
The popular Twitter tag #JeSuisCharlie condemning the Charlie Hedbo tragedy proposes putting an end to all kinds of oppression to cartoonists across the globe. In Ecuador a series of tweets have risen in support of cartoonist Xavier Bonilla (known as Bonil), who uses his sketches to reflect his serious opinion and has become an example for satirical cartoonists in his country.
A few tweets recall the sanctions placed on Bonil in Ecuador paralleling his situation to the one in France.
Last year Bonil was sanctioned and had to change one of his creations because his caricature wasn’t based on facts, according to Ecuador’s Superintendency of Communications (Supercom).
Bonil drew a group of police officers entering the home of an opposition member carrying computers. The text reads, “Corruption complaints.”
President Rafael Correa groaned about the raid drawing and challenged Bonil to prove that assertion.
A tweet from Andrea R. mentions one of the descriptions Correa had for Bonil and some of his other “controversial” cartoons.
— andrea r. (@andre_monita) January 8, 2015
#Mashi called #Bonil an “ink assassin” and made him pay for his cartoons. We have problems in #Ecuador too #CharlieHedbo
Some even speculate what would happen if there happened to be a Charlie Hebdo in Ecuador.
Imaginen un semanario satírico como @Charlie_Hebdo_ en Ecuador, con LeyMordaza, SuperCan8A, el rompediarios, Alvarados y una justicia servil
— David Rosero (@davidroserow) January 8, 2015
Imagine a weekly comic like @Charlie_Hebdo_ in Ecuador with LeyMordaza, SuperCan8A, el rompediaris, Alvarados and menial justice.
— Josué Intriago (@JintriagoL) January 9, 2015
I think if #Bonil drew cartoons like #CharlieHebdo he’d spend some time behind bars.
Meanwhile Boris Mantilla assesses the impact of Charlie Hedbo in Ecuador and links to a CNN interview with Xavier Bonilla.
— Boris Mantilla (@BorisMantilla) January 8, 2015
Political revenge leads to backlash, such cases #Bonil #CharlieHebdo @patriciajaniot to @bonilcaricatura here:
Users also took time to defend freedom of expression in Ecuador.
Pero cuando sancionaron a #Bonil ahí si era justificado! Defensa de la Libertad de Expresión se da frente a cualquier arma así sea jurídica!
— Dani Pazmiño (@danipazmino) January 9, 2015
But it was truly justified when #Bonil was sanctioned! Defense of Freedom of Expression is given against any weapon even legal.
— basol (@B3scobar) January 8, 2015
These miserable attacks only strengthen their creative pens://Dear @bonilcaricatura, a BIG hug!!
Many also strongly condemned statements made by Correa just like the cartoon Bonil had to fix for the president’s dislike.
— borisvian1 (@shababaty) January 7, 2015
@ahorapodemos @Pablo_Iglesias_ The cynical #Correa who admires, goes after and condemns cartoons #Bonil
And the answers came quickly, Roman Maspóns and Santi Serrano had the following comments:
— Roman Maspóns (@badpons) January 7, 2015
No, as a pal, don’t start comparing #Bonil’s cartoons and #Correa’s reactions to #CharlieHebdo because there’s nothing.
— Santi Serrano (@santi_adelante) January 7, 2015
@ceppdi there’s little comparison to #bonil he’s criticized for his bad taste, his deceitful pen, lies and high degree of political partiality.
The Superintendency of Information (Supercom) postponed Bonil’s hearing, originally set for January 16th, to February 9th.
The cartoonist announced the change on his Twitter:
SUPERCOM me había citado para el 16 de enero. Pero 2 días después de CharlieHebdo pospuso la Audiencia para el 9 d febrero. ¿Xq será?
— Xavier Bonilla (@bonilcaricatura) January 12, 2015
SUPERCOM booked me for January 16 but 2 days after CharlieHebdo the Court changed it to February 9. What gives?
Last November Supercom accepted the complaint from Afro-Ecuatorian organizations against Bonil for alleged discrimination against Agustin Delgado.
Editor’s Note: Delgado is a former soccer player with no college degree who won a seat in congress in 2013. The first box shows Delgado stuttering through a speech, where he says people think he’s a “poor guy” when they hear him talk, but — in the second box — he says that no one thinks he’s poor once they see how much money he earns as a congressman.
This article was originally published on January 28, 2015 and is republished with permission from Global Voices.