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Matador’s figures strike poses of bemused innocence as they get into mischief, including killing, kidnapping and stealing elections.
Another cartoon, titled “Raped and pregnant,” links Uribe’s drive for a third term to his support for outlawing abortion even in the case of rape. In the panel, a sad and ragged looking woman represents the Colombian Constitution. She already has two little boys who look like Uribe and is pregnant with a third — who looks like Uribe.
Matador grew up in a rough barrio in Pereira, a city located in the coffee-covered mountains of central Colombia. His father was a shoemaker and, at the age of 5, Matador began drawing cartoons on the discarded pieces of leather in his father’s shop. His subjects were always figures of power — like his parents, the local priest and neighborhood gangsters.
Among his early inspirations were the Bill Watterson comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" as well as the works of Roberto Fontanarrosa, an Argentine cartoonist who often made fun of his country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.
An avid reader, Matador devours the morning papers from Bogota, Medellin and Cali, takes a post-lunch nap, then draws in the afternoon. He uses a felt-tip pen and thick white paper and finishes most of cartoons within five minutes before emailing them to El Tiempo. He never corrects his flubs in an effort to maintain a childlike aura as he works.
“When I draw, I feel like a kid,” Matador said.
Because he still lives in Pereira, Matador rarely rubs elbows with Bogota politicians which makes it easier for him to skewer them in his drawings.
Though Uribe is his most frequent target, Matador also goes after left-wing politicians and the country’s Marxist guerrillas, who are often depicted as skeletal Grim Reapers. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has threatened to wage war with Colombia, is sometimes drawn in a suit of armor made of Russian tanks and missiles.
Matador also makes fun of U.S. politicians. When the Nobel Peace Prize was announced in October, just as the U.S. government was about to dispatch another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Matador drew a teacher grilling a student about literature.
“Who wrote 'War and Peace?'" she asks, referring to the Leo Tolstoy novel.
The perplexed student replies: “Obama?”