“Stupid idiots! Can’t you upvote him? He’s just a bus driver!” From inside a White House-style building located “somewhere on Earth” enrages a blonde, tousled character. The cartoon looks like a cross between villain Donald Trump and The Incredibles Antagonist Syndrome. He’s screaming in Spanish on a mobile phone, with a heavy American accent.
“We’ve tried everything!” Simplify the two characters they’re addressing, who look like Venezuelan opposition politicians Henri Ramos Allup and Julio Borges. The villain presses a red button that shoots a drone through the roof of the “White House”. A cartoon map shows the drone moving toward an area that closely resembles the northern coast of South America before targeting a country the size of Venezuela.
So begins the first episode of the Venezuelan animated cartoon, super bigot (Super Mustache) – Starring a heroic character with a mustache similar to that of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuelan government is so fond of the soapy bigot that it promotes the cartoon through social media. President Maduro recently encouraged his followers to download Instagram filters so they can take pictures of themselves as the sooper bigot. And while sharing an episode in which the US attempts to block the entry of COVID-19 vaccines into Venezuela, Luis Villegas Ramirez, Deputy Minister of Trade tweeted: “It’s great! Don’t miss it!”
Across the country, pictures of Sper Bigote are multiplying. In northern Venezuela, Governor Rafael Lacava has controversially renamed a plaza after Soper Bigot and included an image His On the walls of a renovated hospital. in carnival procession this yearThere was a time when children traditionally paraded in fancy dress, at least according to Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, the soper bigot was a popular outfit.
While government supporters celebrate the cartoon and his solidarity with an “indestructible” president, who is the country’s “hero and defender” against dangers and hardships, many others see the sober bigot as a cynical attempt to make a personality cult. I see. With a low popularity rating, Maduro needs to cement his image for the 2024 presidential elections, argues Venezuelan sociologist Trino Marquez.
Read more: The New York Times daily ends political cartoons, but it’s not the death of the art form
The cartoon was first broadcast on Venezuela’s state TV channel Venezolana de Télévision (VTV) in December 2021. So far, nine episodes of Soper Bigot have been aired on VTV. Each depicts the character using his superpowers to thwart dastardly plots devised and financed by “great villains” in the North with the aim of sowing chaos and division in a fictionalized version of Venezuela. It was recently announced that an illustrated comic strip is now planned based on the same character.
Latin America has a long tradition of using cartoons, comics, and humor to provoke discussion on national and international stories. In Peru, cartoonist Juan Acevedo uses a rodent, the el que, to explore social and political issues, including epidemics; In Argentina, Quinoa’s Mafalda character challenges middle-class values; And in Chile, Pepo’s cartoon Condorito has commented on political events for decades.
When then-Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno accused Maduro of staging protests in Ecuador in October 2019, the cartoonist joked on state TV:
President Lenin Moreno comes along and says that what is happening there is my fault. That by just shaking my mustache I can overthrow the governments. I am already wondering which government I can overthrow with my mustache. I’m not superman, I’m super mustache!
According to Omar Cruz, the creator of Sooper Bigot: “Venezuelan humor is part of our nature.
We resort to humor in good times and bad. So much so that it is humour, not politics, that can unite the government and the opposition. Humor has always been in the round table discussions because we know that humor is a very serious matter for us.
In 2004, during the government of Hugo Chávez, Juan Foro wrote in The New York Times that, in a political situation with “more than his share of absurdity and larger-than-life characters”, humor was used to skewer the powerful. and ridiculed their perceived failures.
But in this case, instead of challenging Venezuela’s powerful elite, the cartoon has been adopted by those in charge as a way to garner support.