CRNI Releases Interview of Threatened Venezuelan Editorial Cartoonist Rayma Suprani
Venezuelan columnist and cartoonist Rayma Suprani is rarely surprised by what she calls the dictatorial tendencies of the Chavez Regime. After all, Rayma is very aware that merely drawing President Hugo Chavez’s face can result in a 30-month prison sentence. But Rayma was shaken, and understandably so, by unfounded accusations made by a talk show host on the state-run television channel Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). She was even more shaken by threatening tweets and emails from Chavez supporters after the program aired. Mario Silva, the host of La Hojilla (The Razorblade) accused Rayma of being a hate-filled racist and elitist. The ensuing tweets and emails threatened her with violence, expulsion from Venezuela and some even threatened her with death. The accusations were in response to a March 14 cartoon by Rayma that criticizes the government's treatment of the homeless. The cartoon depicts a man inside a doghouse asking, “What housing plan?” Despite the on-air attacks and the ensuing threats via Twitter and email, Rayma continues to bravely express her opinions.
At Rayma’s request, CRNI now posts the following March 20, 2012 interview of Rayma Suprani, opinion writer and editorial cartoonist for El Universal. The interview given to Deputy Director Drew Rougier-Chapman took place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Cartooning for Peace – America Inaugural Symposium. Rayma, an invited speaker at the symposium, had planned on devoting her speech to the role of oil in Venezuelan politics. That was before she was vilified by a government talk show host and then threatened by Chavez supporters. Although Rayma still devoted most of her presentation to the politics of oil, she felt compelled to devote a portion of her presentation to the increasing threats to Venezuela’s, at least for now, independent media. This interview took place shortly after her presentation.
To learn about Rayma's situation, click on the article Venezuelan Political Cartoonist Rayma Faces Pro-Chavez Social Media Attack, from Sampsonia Way magazine, and, the article Venezuelan cartoonist complains of harassment due to her drawings, from Rayma's paper El Universal.