"Journalism and Humor Cannot be Silent"

Pedro X Molina’s caricature for the Day of Journalism in Nicaragua, on March 1.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yader Luna, Managua, March 4, 2019 — The Nicaraguan caricaturist Pedro Molina revealed that he was the victim of direct threats by fanatics from the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, something that he said dozens of independent journalists in Nicaragua also suffer. However, he insists that they will not shut him up and that the commitment he has, along with his colleagues who work clandestinely or from exile, is every day greater.

The Confidencial caricaturist reflected on how difficult it is to practice the profession in these days of crisis that Nicaragua is experiencing because of the constant attack guided by the Government. “We continue doing our work, overcoming censorship and reporting,” says Molina, who maintains that this is the great triumph and seems optimistic.

“The optimism I have is based on the commitment that today every journalist doggedly doing their work has. Many of them, working clandestinely or from exile, have shown that they aren’t there (reporting) for a salary, but rather because they have recognized that with their work they can contribute to the liberation of the nation,” he affirmed during an interview with the television program Esta Noche.

Molina, a man who has drawn the powerful for years, is accustomed to annoying those personages who believe themselves untouchable. However, he admits that in the current context the threats have escalated to another level and he blamed Nicaragua’s dictatorial “first couple” for anything that may happen to him or any of his friends and family.

“There have always been threats because of my work, but they have risen in tone because they have begun to reveal details of my private life or of those of people close to me; and [Ortega and Murillo] being the ’butchers of El Carmen’ they cannot be overlooked and they have to be taken into account,” he insisted.

For the humorist, currently in Nicaragua “it’s difficult to get any kind of protection” because “we are all exposed to any kind of thing they can do to us.”

The most recent threat he received, and the one that motivated him to reveal his situation by publishing a caricature on his Twitter account, was conveyed to him through a person close to the Ortega-Murillo regime. But as for him, he preferred to not be silent.

#Nicaragua A little message… #SOSNICARAGUA #SOSJOURNALISM (In summary, the text says: My work is not secret and is not a crime. I hold Ortega/Murillo responsible for anything that might happen to me or those close to me. Equally responsible are others who act for them. Everyone will be held to account in the future that will come to fruition.)

Molina declared that the current situation that Nicaragua is experiencing is difficult for humor, because “there isn’t much to laugh about,” but he believes in the emotional value that his drawings can have.

“All of us who do journalism independent of power have to celebrate because we are doing it, in whatever manner, whether it be clandestinely or from exile. I think that we have to celebrate the commitment of independent journalism to the truth,” he stated.

The artist said that humor has the virtue that it breaks with the powerful because “for it to function it has to upset power.”

Molina explained that many of the characters in power cover themselves with a cloak of solemnity and omnipotence. “Because of that, when you make them see with humor or with a caricature that they are equal to any other person, they feel that they are diminished, that they are being lowered from the place where they deserve to be.”

During the program, he said he felt accompanied by the popular humor of Nicaraguans, which is expressed on social media. “I am happy that people empower themselves with that weapon, because it is a tool that can help you and liberate you in a situation that oppresses you.”

He recalled the assault on the facilities of Confidencial, Esta Semana, Esta Noche, and Niú; but he also appreciated the solidarity of audiences and the support they show by sending their materials (videos, photos, reports) to independent journalists, via platforms like Reporte Ciudadano (Citizen Report).

Molina declared that his opinion of young people has changed, he used to believe they were numb, and he appreciated their being “one of the driving forces of awareness raising in the entire country.”

“Many people (close to the regime) boast of threatening and humiliating people (…) there is a lot of rejection of the Government, but there is also a lot of fear; which does not mean that the people have given up, because all fear has an expiration date,” he pointed out.

Translated by: Sheilagh Carey


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