Time magazine is featuring two Nicaraguan editorial cartoonist Pedro X. Molina and Manuel Guillen and Manuel Guillen and their struggles with a Sandanista government that is intensifying its crackdown on the independent press. After receiving death threats and text messages threatening to crucify his daughter, Manuel moved his family to Miami where he was approached by other Nicaraguan’s who want to undermine the Sandanista government using Manuel’s cartoons as a means of “winning back the streets.”
In Miami, the cartoonist was approached by several businessmen in the Nicaraguan expat community that fled the Sandinistas in the 1980s, and are now keen to undermine the Ortega administration voted into power in 2006. Their proposal: a mass-distribution anti-Sandinista comic book.
The first edition is scheduled to hit the streets of Nicaragua in July, and Guillen says its mass appeal is aimed at helping his unidentified backers to “win the streets” from the Sandinistas. “Comics are a very powerful instrument of cultural penetration,” Guillen said. “This is going to be very subversive. This is a guerrilla war.”
Guillen acknowledges that his new venture, which will be distributed for free on buses and in markets, will up the ante. But as someone who grew up believing in the original ideals of the Sandinista revolution, Guillen hopes it will help people to demand change. “Comic books in the United States are for distracting people,” Guillen said. “I am trying to get people to focus.”