Dictators hate political cartoons — so I keep drawing them | Rayma Suprani

Dictators hate political cartoons — so I keep drawing them | Rayma Suprani

[This talk is delivered in Spanish
with consecutive English translation] (Rayma Suprani: Speaks Spanish) Cloe Shasha: When I was a little girl, I used to draw
on all the walls of my house. (RS: Speaks Spanish) CS: Until one day, my mother
got angry and told me, “You can only draw on one wall. Don’t draw on any others.” (Laughter) (Speaks Spanish) That was the first time I experienced
an act of totalitarian censorship. (Laughter) (Speaks Spanish) But a lack of freedom
stimulates creativity and empowers it. (Speaks Spanish) Many years have passed since my childhood, but throughout my formal studies, I found myself drawing
in the margins of my notebooks instead of paying attention
to my professors. I studied journalism in college with the intention of expanding
my communication and writing skills, but the only thing
that I felt connected to in life was drawing. (Speaks Spanish) I was born in a democracy, in a country called Venezuela,
which is now a dictatorship. (Speaks Spanish) For 19 years, I was the daily cartoonist
for “El Universal,” one of the biggest newspapers
in Venezuela. I really enjoyed translating political
and cultural current events into drawings. (Speaks Spanish) In the year 2014, I got fired from my job at the newspaper
over a cartoon that I drew alluding to the health care
system in Venezuela. I drew a flat line of a heartbeat monitor, but I intentionally drew
the heartbeat line in a way that resembled
the signature of Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela. (Laughter) (Speaks Spanish) All of this happened
after the newspaper was bought by an unknown company, and some of us suspect that it was the Venezuelan government
who was behind that deal. (Speaks Spanish) My work as a cartoonist
became more and more of a nuisance for the dictatorship. They have no tolerance
for any freedom of expression or free thinking. (Speaks Spanish) After I got fired, I started to feel unsafe
in my own country. I received anonymous calls
and death threats. I was mocked publicly
on national television. I was eventually forced out of Venezuela, and I now live in Miami, Florida, where I am free to be
my own editor for my work. (Speaks Spanish) A political cartoon is a barometer
of freedom in a country. That’s why dictators hate cartoonists and try to eradicate everything
that involves humor as a mirror for social
and political issues. (Speaks Spanish) A cartoon involves a delicate balance
of ideas and drawings that reveal a hidden truth. (Speaks Spanish) And a good cartoon is one that conveys
a plot of a full-length movie in a single frame. (Speaks Spanish) A cartoon needs to communicate
the core of a story with its precision. And when it succeeds, its message can have the effect
of inoculating people with a dose of skepticism. (Speaks Spanish) Cartoons are drawn
from observation and analysis. They are inspired by muses of mythology, as well as classical, modern
and paleolithic tales. (Laughter) When we are told that a modern-day emperor
is wearing new clothes, cartoons reveal that the emperor
just might still be naked. (Speaks Spanish) At one point in my career, I drew pigs and compared them
with politicians and national guards who were responsible for stopping
peaceful student demonstrations. One day, when I got back to my office, I had a letter on my desk. (Speaks Spanish) The letter was from
the Venezuelan Swine Federation. (Laughter) (Speaks Spanish) The letter said, “Please do not compare an animal
as wonderful as a pig with politicians. (Laughter) Pigs are very friendly and noble, they can be a great mascot, they make good pets and they provide sustenance to us
in the form of pork.” (Speaks Spanish) I think they were absolutely right. I didn’t draw any more pigs, but I did keep drawing politicians. (Laughter) (Speaks Spanish) A cartoon travels
on an information highway, which seems like it has multiple lanes, but in reality, all of these lanes lead to a binary response
of either positivity or rage. “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” Those are the only responses that govern democratic thinking
on the internet. (Speaks Spanish) We have lost the space for nuanced debate, we have no time, so we simply respond
with approval or disdain, and we let algorithms take over. (Speaks Spanish) But a cartoon is born
from a space of deep, nuanced thinking. Creating a good cartoon
involves repeated failures, draft after draft. And a cartoonist must shed
their own taboos to spark a conversation,
rather than a confrontation, through their work. (Speaks Spanish) In the year 2013, President Chavez died, and I had to think about what to draw
as the cartoon of the day at “El Universal.” I was personally happy
that he had passed away, because I thought
that the end of his power would potentially bring our country
closer to freedom and better times. (Speaks Spanish) But there were many other people
who were mourning the death of Chavez, so there was a divided
sentiment in Venezuela. Some were celebrating, and others were crying
at the loss of their leader. (Speaks Spanish) I felt stuck, I really didn’t know what to draw
in this historic moment. And I knew that I couldn’t allow
my happiness to seep into my work, that I should take the higher road
and respect people’s grief. So what could I draw? (Speaks Spanish) I spent many hours drafting
and throwing out papers. My editor called me and said everything was late
for that day’s newspaper and asked me when I’d be done. It was in the middle of the night
that the idea came to me. And we then published a cartoon that represented
a historical moment in time. (Speaks Spanish) A fallen king chess piece in red. (Speaks Spanish) A good cartoon has a lot of power. It can generate action and reaction. That’s why a cartoonist must
exercise their power responsibly, showcasing the truth and drawing without
the fear of consequences. (Speaks Spanish) Having an opinion has a cost, and in some countries, that cost is high. (Speaks Spanish) In Venezuela, many young people have been killed
for protesting peacefully. There are men and women
who are stuck behind bars as political prisoners. So over the years, I’ve drawn the faces of imprisoned women, because I don’t want them
to be forgotten by the community. (Speaks Spanish) This year at an event
called El Foro Penal, which is a criminal forum where a group of lawyers do pro bono work for Venezuelan political prisoners, a young woman approached me and she said, “I was imprisoned, and then you drew my face and my story. It’s because of that drawing
that people knew who I was. Your cartoon helped me survive
my days in prison. Thank you.” (Speaks Spanish) This was a moment that meant a lot to me, because I had found a way to collaborate with the memories
of my country and its people. (Speaks Spanish) Last year, I started making
drawings about immigration. I drew my own world, my fears, my suitcase, my roots and everything that I had
to leave behind in Venezuela. I also drew my joy
in the face of this new opportunity as an immigrant in the United States. (Speaks Spanish) From there, I worked
on a series of drawings that represented the experience
and psychology of immigration. (Speaks Spanish) Being an immigrant
is like moving to another planet. At first, you don’t understand
anything about your new world. There are new codes, a new language and unfamiliar tools
you need to learn how to use in order to adapt to your new life. (Speaks Spanish) Being an immigrant is the closest thing
to being an astronaut who landed on the moon. (Speaks Spanish) Over time, that series of drawings
became a traveling exhibition, called “I, Immigrant.” And the exhibition traveled
to multiple cities, including Miami, Houston,
Madrid, Barcelona, and we’re hoping for more places. (Speaks Spanish) The show has become
a meeting space for the diaspora, for people to gather and recognize
their shared experiences of suffering that come with immigration. (Speaks Spanish) What I want these drawings to convey is that an immigrant is not a criminal. An immigrant is a person
whose life has been broken. A person who has very likely
been separated from their family under inhumane conditions. Who has been forced to leave their country
in search of a better life. (Speaks Spanish) A drawing can be a synthesis of a place, a universe, a country or a society. It can also represent
the inner workings of someone’s mind. For me, drawing cartoons
is a form of resistance. (Speaks Spanish) A cartoon is like a Rosetta stone. If we throw it into outer space, a future alien would be
able to know with certainty that in the past, we once had a civilized world
with free thinking. (Speaks Spanish) That one wall that my mother gave me
the freedom to draw on feels infinite. And it’s for that reason
that I am still drawing. Thank you very much. (Cheers and applause)


  • Steve Muratore says:

    Brava Rayma Suprani!

  • Luz Angela Hernandez says:

    Sooooooo proud of you

  • MegaBaellchen says:

    Rayma Suprani was suspended after she had published a "cartoon" that showed a heartbeat with the headline "Salud" (health) and below it a flatline, starting off with Hugo Chavez's Signature, with the headline "Salud en Venezuela", a year after Chavez had died of cancer in 2013 (theguardian com/world/2014/sep/18/venezuelan-cartoonist-fired-healthcare-satire). Chavez socialized the Venezuelan oil wells and took them away from US oil companies. The "dictator" she criticized was already dead.

  • Christopher Forsyth says:

    Finally a Ted talk worth watching !!!!!! So tired of all the SOCIALIST , POLITICAL CORRECTNESS , SJW'S and the damn LBTQPMS CLAPTRAP !!!

  • Mike Walterich says:

    no habla

  • F B says:

    Dictators hate memes even more than political cartoons.

  • Victor Jimenez says:

    As a Venezuelan all these comments are making my head hurt

  • King Mitch says:

    Arriba Maduro!!!! Guiado es un traidor #handsoffvenezuela

  • Дино Баджо says:

    Hello!  I need help.  Why are my accounts permanently deleted on Facebook, when I want to report on a real environmental disaster? This does not fall within the scope of the law and is outside the law. They destroy not only people, but all living things.have been living in the territory of Boguslav district since birth.The Boguslav district of Kyiv region has always had a good nature, fresh air and good living conditions.  Address: Boguslav city, Shevchenko str.  numerous appeals to the fire department, garbage disposal service, Boguslavblagusriy municipal utility, Boguslavsky mayor did not give results, no response was undertaken.Moreover, Limited Liability Company  Due to this, a thick artificial fog is formed. Signatures were collected by activists and residents to stop the poisoning of the population, however, such an appeal was ignored.  of Old deputativ.Takozh by the city in the superficial journalistic investigation it was discovered that the factory is registered in another city, and pays taxes in the city (article 212 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, tax evasion).  Also, it changed its name to "Global Specials" as of the last date.  In the village of Tuniki, where my relatives live, and for a certain period of time I also live, living conditions in the village became impossible due to the dirty air. To the address: 1, Victory Str., There is a production of fuel pallets. The owner of this production is an Individual  -Entrepreneur Kovalenko Yuriy Igorovich.During the production of these pallets, the pollutants are also emitted. In this case, the production building is located on the top of the village, all the houses are in the lowlands, and therefore, the smoke, along with all the harmful substances settles on the houses  ki, gardens, recreational facilities, playgrounds.  Due to the activities of the listed enterprises, local residents are deprived of the opportunity to breathe freely, and their health status has deteriorated.  This circumstance is an environmental disaster that requires rapid intervention and response from the authorities, public organizations to end the situation and restore the original state of the environment.  "Ensuring ecological safety and maintaining ecological balance in the territory of Ukraine, overcoming the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster – a catastrophe of the planned scale, preserving the gene pool of the Ukrainian people is the duty of the state" – Article 16 of the Constitution of Ukraine.  This article of the Constitution is one of the most important as it relates directly to the very existence of the Ukrainian people, the health of every person living on the territory of Ukraine, future generations … It will continue!https://youtu.be/xPiyETM1unU

  • Roberto Turco says:

    Oil stealing thefts sponsored propaganda

  • Alkhemia Studio says:

    I random click on the video time-line to skip the intro and i met the quote "i found myself drawing on the margins of my notebook instead of paying attention to my professors"

  • Roberto Turco says:

    Venezuela had fair election and oil thefts didn't like it so they sponsor traitors like this woman

  • Theodoяe Kяap says:

    The problem with cartoons is that most of them are propaganda, dictators hate counter propaganda in anyform because they tend to grab power in poor countries which cannot effectively counter the propaganda aimed at them. And don't forget when memes got policed in democracies because they were hateful and filled with lies.

  • CAESAR 0F ROME says:

    Everyone hates them

  • JCLeSinge says:

    Venezuela is not a dictatorship. Juan Gaido is not president, he has never even stood for election. This woman is not a political cartoonist, she's a propagandist sell out.

  • Caleb Saucedo says:

    ¡Arriba Maduro!

  • JPAnor says:

    That s literal shitposting XD

  • Mihir Patel says:

    And I love it.

  • Bob Frog says:

    If President Trump were a dictator, this ugly broad would already be in a camp for orderly disposal.

  • Pavel Aramei says:

    How about Saudi Arabia? Do you have enough balls to talk about their dictatorship and human rights violation?

  • Yuxuan Gao says:

    I didn’t find the drawing I was looking for. You know which one I’m referring to.

  • KSP says:

    Venezuela will be free again !!!
    Free from socialism and free from a dictatorship!
    Hugs from a brazilian brother

  • Dallon Cook says:

    She doesn't know what a dictator is

  • DeathAngel says:

    not a fan of her art style but i like what her art has to say.

  • Mitchell Thadderton says:

    Trump is a dictator also, as is his agenda, was he in the book, I had to cut it short. I do hope Putin, Lenin, Stalin any of the heavyweights was depict in there. //ex-kgb lw:s spetznas alfagruppe

  • premier69 says:

    great, pls continue, make memes of them!

  • Liam Vertal says:

    Long live PSUV, long live the Bolivarian Revolution, long live the revolutionary spirit of the Venzuelan people. The children of Chavez have my utmost solidarity and the vicious coup plotters who dare to take an axe to this wonderful movement in the name of "democracy" must be condemned by the whole world. The coup will be defeated, Guaido will never be president of Venezuela.

  • Mostly Lapse says:

    So beautiful and amazing!

  • The Flaneur says:

    More of Hillary and the Clinton body count!

  • Fabio Fernandes says:

    That's exactly why we should have more Muhammad caricatures!

  • Gerald Miller says:

    So lets see one of muhammed.


    I’m from Venezuela. My heart hurts at the pain of Venezuela. Communists took ever and they’ve ruined every facet of life. I’m beyond lucky to live in America. God bless the USA and all the freedoms it gives.

  • credenza1 says:

    A very talented woman. I noticed caricatures mocking Trump (not a dictator), trying to create peace in the Korean Peninsula, yet none of Xi Jingping (an actual dictator) who could assist that process were he not so busy spying on and imprisoning his own people. I also note a cartoon mocking US Presidents who ensured that democracy and freedom prevailed in the US, making it a haven for refugees, such as Rayma, from dystopian socialist states. I wonder how this audience would react if she showed the Charlie Hebdo cartoon. It would be interesting to see how genuine they are. I like her style. Very condensed and dramatic. Its a shame that she can't see past her TDS.

  • Daxxon Jabiru says:

    A girl cartoonist? WHAT?!? Truly this world is full miracles!

  • August Greig says:

    That opening is very good. She's a better stand-up than Joe Rogan.

  • leiner Vargas Salazar says:

    Soy venezolano y este vídeo tocó mi corazón. <3

  • Normal Human says:

    Powerful art

  • Richard Davine says:

    A rude but funny parody about Trump.

  • M says:

    If you don't want to live in a world in which classification is present, the best thing to do is to stop classifying.

  • Endrina Rosales says:


  • mv cardenas says:

    Left Venezuela at age 14, now I'm 18. I have been suffering from PTSD since 2014, where I witnessed young students Some as young as me be repressed, beaten and some taken away til forever, because we never found them. I saw Rayma's drawing while sheltering in my house, the loud bams from outside slowly destroying my childhood, and still, I was proud of her and every single Venezuelan who put themselves in the front line. She gave me hope and courage. Rayma, you may not read this, but I know what's like to be exiled like you, to miss your family and worry about them. My grandmother died and I didn't get my chance to say goodbye. Now my grandfather is sick too, and I just can't take another lost. Since 2014, all that I have experienced is repression, depression and fear, feeling like an alien in a foreign country and also feeling like I'm losing my connection with Venezuela. Yet, I dream of becoming a writer, and maybe, like you Rayma, I can use my passion to fight for my country. Thank you for everything. May one day we can all go back and rebuild our beloved country.

  • Gordy Bishop says:

    My hero

  • Ignacio Collantes says:

    Maldita sea Rayma aprende inglés

  • Sohail Ahmed Khan says:

    Beautiful Rayma

  • Old Games Reviews says:

    Y ni con dibujitos entendieron…

  • YouAndImpact says:

    Great video.👍🏻

  • Maria España says:


  • Light of the Earth says:

    Sorry TED. Instant translating does not work for us bilinguals. We hear everything twice and make it incredibly annoying. Subtitles please

  • Gentlemen joker says:

    Dictatorship is easy to understand by a example–We can easily use donkeys for our working motives and most importantly donkeys think about human being are dictators but in reality uneducated people percentage in any country define donkeys story 😀😃😄😁😂

  • Sac Al says:

    Bravo, gran trabajo que nos representa a todos los venezolanos 👏

  • Jose Bendito says:

    Bravo Rayma. Valiente es poco!

  • Ace Hardy says:


  • Jarrek Dyer says:

    I guess being elected is more of a dictator than just declaring yourself president like Guiardo….

  • RandomPerson says:

    There is no bigger dictator or emperor than the one you've elected

  • Elias says:

    I love how the audience instinctively laughed at the word "compara"

  • Anjero Gomez says:

    As Venezuelan, you touched my hearth!

  • UltraAar says:

    draw some of the false prophet muhammad!!!

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    American are most intelligent people on Earth..they elected a perfect representative…a rotten orange

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Subtitles works better than instant translation

  • PavelLevUp says:

    You should drawing US world crimes!!!!hypocrisy and cynicism. How much you get paid for such performances? write about usa!!!!

  • ChrisAllmighty54 says:

    ¡Esta mujer es una gran pendeja!

    Hay eleciones!

    Why does she stutter? She’s a liar and just another gusana along with the rest of them down in Miami! Ya pendeja! Calmate con su opinion solo por decir algo dramatico atencion de la misma gusanos pendejos!

  • Isidro Torres says:

    Thanks Rayma to show how ditatorship destroyed our dreams. Es un Honor verte en TED. Algún día viviremos en democracia.

  • ChrisAllmighty54 says:

    Typical American ideology trying to force itself on sovereign nations that demand equality and nationalism of natural resources. She sounds like an animal speaking about the sentiment of joy she had over death of anyone, let alone the bravest of men like Hugo Chavez. Typical, the opinion of the ignorant and selfish few is always loudest with intentions of expressing that they are the voice of the popular when in reality it is not. Listening to this ignorant worm is similar to how it would be to listen to confederate soldiers speak post civil war, with the maintained expression that they have an ideology that is right and they make martyrs out of criminals and racist. Disgraceful, I’m unsubscribing. I cannot believe that in this day in age we have such false and inaccurate opinions raised to the top with intentions of corrupting thought.

  • Last ZaquBird says:


  • veryoldcookie says:

    I don't see any reason to listen to a TED talk if the speaker can't even speak English.

  • QA Audit says:

    Try in india against MODI. Troll army will reach your home.

  • larhule says:

    Draw the prophet Muhammad.

  • Mick7sp says:

    Amazing.. TED should apply what is learned here.

  • Wvm says:

    Draw Julian Assange story for the world…

  • evgeniydragondog says:

    She's very smart. Thanks for the good work!

  • v Doqa says:

    Dictators hate this trick!

  • RageNuke says:

    If you find any comments by an EmerBlox, please ignore them. Seems to be way too invested in spreading his propaganda.

  • Kanwardeep Singh says:

    Sir pyaar chaheda
    Maan pyaar chal
    My no my

  • Ivan Sandoval says:

    Do some about Cristina Kirchner please

  • Carlos Ayala says:

    I've never felt more proud of be Venezuelan.

  • solera2008 says:

    The first things that vanishes in socialism/communism are "the freedoms" (speech, thought, religion, personal direction). I am willing to bet that Rayma actually voted for Chavez back then because she bought into Chavez dream. The sad thing is, she is going to make the same mistakes now here in the US and vote (when she becomes a US Citizen) for the same type of thinking that got Venezuela in the mess they are today. It is not only her. It is quite a few Venezuelans coming to the US. Sad, ironic, disturbing…… (a Cuban, Venezuelan immigrant living in the US). LOVE the drawings. Super Cool!

  • Yegwanihst says:


  • Diego Arana says:

    Grandiosa! 🙏🏽🙌🏽 que viva Venezuela Libre ! 🇻🇪

  • Bence Illes says:

    Ah great, orange man bad, right?

  • YoomarTuNoOmar says:

    it's weird to saber both idiomas and escuchar the same sentence dos veces.

  • Kristen Honeywill says:

    Oh how I wish your exhibition could come to South Africa! We have TERRIBLE xenophobia here and I really think this would open some tightly shut eyes!!

  • f says:

    What they have done to Venezuela is devastating. The country is in ruins.

  • Julia Jesus says:

    Puede cuidado

  • Clifford Smith says:

    Lives in miami. Needs a translator. Go figure.

  • Andrea Brokate says:

    I like her shoes

  • David Sanchez says:

    Venezuela te ama Rayma 🇻🇪


    Excelente Rayma, maravillosa presentacion, muy sentida, orgullosa de ser Venezolana

  • guaremalito1 says:

    Que buena defensa, Rayma, de nuestro mundo venezolano a través de tu brillante trabajo. Siempre serás exitosa donde quiera que te encuentres. Dios te bendiga.

  • Rafael de Lucca says:

    Del ingl. to reflect, y este del lat. reflectĕre 'volver hacia atrás'.

    1. tr. Fís. Dicho de una superficie lisa: Devolver la luz, el calor, el sonido o un cuerpo elástico.

  • Dinorah Moreno says:

    Cuan orgullosa me siento de gente como Rayma. Que nunca merme La potencia de su mensaje Rayma. Gracias por tu valentía tu nivel profesional y tu compromiso por la libertad de nuestro país. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Dharma Doused says:

    Happy Draw Muhammad Day! 😀 <——— This is Muhammad.

  • Eva Cristina HuertaGiusti says:

    Excelente Rayma! Como siempre, muy acertada! Dios te bendiga!

  • Agon ! says:

    Hahahhahaha people hate this too https://youtu.be/xzh-ofGJ1z0

  • Suky Bansal says:

    Bravo – good for you Rayma!

  • Gail Allwn says:

    Absolutely BRILLIANT. WELL DONE.

  • V. Hansen says:

    Well, I love her.

  • Ivica Jaranovic says:

    She must be poor class in Venezuela! Right?

  • Gilmer Medina says:


  • hilda Marina says:

    Por supuesto es una forma de Resistencia!

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