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. 

One of Bonil's cartoons: “We've got everything…accused of spying…”

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. 

 #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.

Imagine a weekly comic like @Charlie_Hebdo_ in Ecuador with LeyMordaza, SuperCan8A, el rompediaris, Alvarados and menial justice.

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. 

 Political revenge leads to backlash, such cases #Bonil #CharlieHebdo @patriciajaniot to @bonilcaricatura here: 

Users also took time to defend freedom of expression in Ecuador. 

But it was truly justified when #Bonil was sanctioned! Defense of Freedom of Expression is given against any weapon even legal.

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.

 @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:

 No, as a pal, don't start comparing #Bonil's cartoons and #Correa's reactions to #CharlieHebdo because there's nothing. 

@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 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.


  • Fernando F Villacís F

    Amigos, pienso que hay que partir de referencias para criticar, defender o atacar una situacion. Primero que nada, en Ecuador, nadie ha sido criticado, ofendido por publicar verdades, caricaturas que no muestren racismo, o mentiras. El señor Bonil publico una caricatura en la que muestra una accion que fue comprobada que no ocurrio, e hizo otra caricatura, burlandose de un diputado ecuatoriano, que su pecado fue que era negro y ex-futbolita. Por el otro lado, yo si critico la caricatura de los franceses porque lo unico que engendra es odio, y se burla o critica a una religion que no la comparto, pero que no merece ser ofendida. Por lo tanto, contra lo que todos deberiamos oponernos es a informacon, sea en caricaturas o no, que engendre odio, racismo o mentiras.

  • Jason Faulkner

    The central hypothesis of this article is bogus. Bonil isn’t on trial for satire. He’s on trial for libel, a libel he can’t defend. His defense rests on the assertion that libel laws that are on the books in every country in the western world are null and void if you publish it under a cartoon. That’s why the conversation has been diverted to this nonsense. He’s guilty of libel, a crime anywhere in the civilized world. He has no legal defense. The libel is there for all to see. The punishment is he’ll have to publish an apology. Is that analogous to shooting him? What a shameless ploy to equate murder with a civil case in a court of law.

  • […] that cartoonists suffer in various countries. The popular Twitter tag #JeSuisCharlie … Brought you by Roy Rodriguez (News Editor for Doodle Inc Limited)- Keep reading the story HERE       […]

  • […] who's nominated in the art category, has been the target of fines and various legal battles in Ecuador. In 2013 President Rafael Correa passed a law allowing the government to control certain […]

  • […] is not the first time Correa has attacked the freedom of expression. There was a similar incident earlier this year […]

  • […] others at Global Voices have unpacked some of the reasons Charlie has resonated […]

  • […] nominato nella sezione arte, è stato bersagliato da multe e da vari procedimenti legali in Ecuador. Nel 2013, il presidente Rafael Correa ha approvato una legge che premette al governo di esercitare […]

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