Brazil: Cartoonist Faces Censorship for Challenging Bolsonaro, Artists Rally in Support

By David Martinez

The fascist Bolsonaro regime is targeting Brazilian cartoonist Renato Aroeira and journalist Ricardo Noblat for the creation and dissemination of an editorial cartoon that shows Bolsanaro painting a swastika onto the red cross medical symbol. Other cartoonists have shown solidarity by recreating the cartoon in their own style to challenge the threat of censorship and sharing their work with the hashtag #SomosTodosAroeira (We are all Aroeira).

The cartoon by Renato Aroeira that is facing censorship

The original cartoon, titled ‘Ongoing Crime’, shows the red cross, a universal medical symbol, with black paint marks on its ends, converting it into a swastika. A caricature of Bolsonaro slinks away with a brush in his hand and a can of paint, with the phrase “Will Bora invade another?” The cartoon is meant to portray Bolsonaro’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic, turning it into another platform for his fascism.

Bolsonaro’s regime has launched a full-on attack on Aroreira and Noblat. His communications secretary asserted that the cartoon falsely accused Bolsonaro of Nazism and was not protected by the law. Noblat, a prominent independent journalist, has been targeted for sharing the cartoon on his twitter account.

According to A Nova Democracia:
“The Minister of Justice also asked that journalist Ricardo Noblat also be investigated for having shared the cartoon on the internet. The minister used Article 26 of the National Security Law as a basis, which says: “Slander or defame the President of the Republic, the Federal Senate, the Chamber of Deputies or the Supreme Court, imputing to them a fact defined as a crime or fact offensive to reputation.”

Article 26 was created under Brazil’s previous military dictatorship which lasted throughout the 60s and 80s, and the law has been maintained even during Brazil’s era of supposed ‘redemocratization.” Under Bolsonaro, the state has only reactionized further, and this attack on the free press and satirical expression illustrates the state’s desperation to attack all critics.

Numerous cartoonists and journalist organizations have rallied to Aroeira and Noblat’s side, and in an open letter released on June 16 stated, “The function of every good cartoon is to reflect and comment on events that interest the citizen through drawing. The cartoon is not a creation out of nothing, but a thermometer of what the people say on the streets.”

Tribune of the People stands with the targeted artist and journalist and denounces the fascist attacks on the people’s rights to a free press. We publish Aroeira’s cartoon and others in solidarity with the people of Brazil struggling against the old society.

Below are some of the cartoons made by Aroeira’s peers (Click to Enlarge).