CARACAS (AFP) – A top Venezuelan newspaper cartoonist said Wednesday he was fired over a sketch depicting Hugo Chavez’s signature melting into a flat-line electrocardiography in a jab at the decrepit national health care system.
The drawing in the paper El Universal by veteran satirist Rayma Suprani shows a normal heart beat line in red under the word “health.”
Below it is one labeled “health in Venezuela” with the late, beloved leader Chavez’s signature quickly dying into the flat heartbeat line of a deceased person.
El Universal was traditionally anti-government, but it was sold six weeks ago and has changed its editorial tack to go easier on the administration of Chavez successor President Nicolas Maduro.
Chavez died of cancer in 2013.
Venezuela is oil-rich but its economy is a mess, with rampant inflation and unemployment and shortages of essentials, and a healthcare system with hospitals lacking basic supplies.
The health care woes have prompted calls for the system to be declared a national emergency.
Suprani, who has worked for the El Universal for 19 years, said he was notified of his sacking hours after the cartoon ran. The newspaper said it would issue a statement Thursday.