Update on Ecuadorian Cartoonist Bonil



On December 27, 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, twelve policemen entered the home of Fernando Villavicencia. As the parliamentary advisor of the opposition to President Rafael Correa’s regime, he was searched and accused of alleged espionage against President Correa and other state officials.    

This story was picked up by Xavier Bonilla, a well-known cartoonist for several media outlets in Ecuador. Using his pen name “Bonil”, he went on to publish a cartoon about the controversy in the national newspaper, El Universo.
Translation: "Knock, Knock. Christmas gifts!"
Caption Below: "Police and chief prosecutor raid home of Fernando Villavicencio and take documents of corruption claims." 
 Cartoon by Bonil
After the first cartoon was published, Bonil and El Universo were given a notice by the Ecuadorian government to respond to a complaint regarding the cartoon. El Universo was told to provide "all information surrounding the cartoon" and Bonil was instructed to write an explanation of his actions concerning the cartoon.  Both parties were to present their answers in court. El Universo was fined $93,000 and Bonil was ordered to create a "correction" of the cartoon.
Since the publication of the first cartoon, Bonil had been verbally attacked by President Correa and his regime thru many media outlets. In an attempt to destroy Bonil's effectiveness and credibility, Correa personally accused Bonil of lying to the public. The president demanded Bonil provide proof to the police of his accusations of corruption. Correa went on to emphasize that he doesn’t have a problem with the cartoon but with the false information he provided in his cartoon. 
On February 5th, Bonil published his “correction” cartoon where he shows Fernando Villavicencio welcoming the police into his home as the police raid his place. 
Caption: "Police and Chief prosecutor raid home of Villaviciencio sieze his tablets, computers, and cellphones"
Cartoon by Bonil
We are providing one of the only English language translations of his story to the Internet public.  Reporting this story on behalf of Bonil to a number of English-language outlets we increase public awareness about what is happening to free speech in Ecuador. In a personal interview with CRNI director Dr. Robert Russell, Bonil explained  his case by telling us that all the information he used for the original cartoon was from reliable sources and that although slightly exaggerated, it deals with something that actually happened.  By personally contacting cartoonists interviewing them and reassuring them of our support, we often help our clients make decisions about their responses to the threats against them.  In almost every case a cartoonist will say "thank you.... I didn't think anyone knew about my situation or cared." 
Ecuadorian Pres. Correa has become a poster boy for other repressive heads of state in South America for his affective attacks on the free press.  As of this writing Bonil has satisfied his requirement to explain himself,  pay a fine (his paper paid his fine) and print a revised cartoon.  
There are no further actions pending against him it should be responded to.  However personal emails or letters of support to him would be personally satisfying, and letters to the editor of his newspaper asking them to further support and protect free speech would help Bonil's situation. .
Spot Gobierno
Sabatina del Presidente 
France Press Agency
www.lahora.com.ec/index.php-/noticias/show/1101619976/-1/Caricaturista_ecuatoriano_investigado_por_dibujo_criticado_por_Correa.html#.UtX0l_RDtyw http://economia.terra.com.ar/caricaturista-ecuatoriano-investigado-por-dibujo-criticado-por-correa,c1ff5bfb2ec83410VgnCLD2000000dc6eb0aRCRD.html
CNN Interview Camilo Egaña (Jan. 14, 2013)
America TeVe Interview (Miami)
Colombian Channel NTN24 Interview)
Radial Interview Andrés Carrión Radio Platinum )
NOTA DIARIO HOY Domingo Los trazos que arañan al poder
El Cuidadano, Presidential Newspaper of Ecuador
La República
Artículo Iván Sandoval
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