Cartoonist Rayma Suprani was for nearly 20 years the staff cartoonist at El Universal, a Venezuelan newspaper in Caracas.
She became known as a tough but original and nuanced cartoonist. Her work became the topic of conversations and a must-see each week.
Except Rayna Suprani is no longer in Venezuela. She cartoons from exile, in Miami. She was fired from El Universal in 2014 shortly after Suprani published this cartoon:
When Chavez was in power, Suprani routinely skewered him in her cartoons. But by 2014, his Chavista successor, President Nicolas Maduro, had elevated the former leader to saint status. And around the same time, Suprani's newspaper, El Universal, changed hands. The new (and still unidentified) owners supported Maduro. And Suprani was let go.
Venezuelan journalist Cesar Miguel Rondon says the Maduro government acted like thugs. "They behaved like punks on a street corner. You don't have the rule of law here. Every single day it's more openly the exercise of a dictatorship instead of a democracy. So, 'we don't like Rayma. Rayma, you should go.' It's as simple as that."
For Suprani, the pressure became too much. She couldn't find a job and finally, in December 2015, she left. "Emotionally speaking, I never wanted to leave Venezuela but it became such a risk that I couldn't live with it. It sort of paralyzed me and now I feel like I'm in a place where I can look at everything from a distance and I can be more useful because my creativity can flow without worrying."