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Xavier “Bonil” Bonilla

Xavier Bonilla, known by his pen name Bonil, is an Ecuadorean political cartoonist who has drawn for leading newspaper El Universo for more than 20 years. Since President Rafael Correa took office in 2007, Bonil has received a number of threats for his work, including fines and sanctions by government institutions and verbal assaults from Correa himself. On December 27, 2013, Bonil published a cartoon about the government’s raid on the apartment of a journalist critical of the president. He became the first person to be charged under a controversial new media regulation law that stifles dissent. Correa himself publicly denounced Bonil via his Twitter account, calling him “an assassin with ink.” El Universo was fined and Bonil was ordered to print a “correction” of the cartoon. Bonil wrote an essay decrying the suppression of free press in Ecuador, and published the correction as the government demanded – but instead turned the cartoon into a subtle critique. He continues to publish cartoons that highlight the abuses of Correa’s government and in 2013 released a book titled Bonil Cartoons.

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