A family is seen in Lima, Peru, on April 23, 2020. Peruvian cartoonist Carlos Tovar Samanez recently received death threats for his work. (AP/Rodrigo Abd)

Peruvian political cartoonist Carlos Tovar Samanez receives death threats

April 28, 2020 2:10 PM ET

On April 21, 2020, Carlos Tovar Samanez published a cartoon lampooning Alan García, a former Peruvian president who committed suicide last year.

A few hours later, he received an email, which he forwarded to CPJ, saying: “This is the end of the line, Carlos Tovar,” and, “We are going to look for you and find you and we will make you eat dust.”

Tovar told CPJ via messaging app that the email came from someone named “José Santos,” whom he does not know.

Tovar told CPJ that he also received several menacing messages on social media, including an April 22 tweet from Salvador Heresi, a former justice minister with the current government, who wrote: “The threats against you are well-deserved even if they beat you up.”

In the cartoon, Tovar depicted the former president saying he planned to shoot someone and then kill himself, as he embraced his daughter, Carla García. Tovar said the cartoon alludes to Carla García’s recent comments praising her father, and news reports that Alan García, who was under investigation on corruption charges, considered killing public prosecutor José Domingo Pérez before committing suicide on April 17, 2019.

Heresi’s Twitter account does not allow for direct messages, and CPJ was unable to find contact information for him.

Tovar, 73, is a longtime cartoonist for the Lima daily La República and uses the pen name Carlín, according to the paper. In its 2015 special report, “Drawing the Line,” CPJ found that cartoonists are often targeted for harassment because their satirical portraits, whether backhanded or overt, communicate complex political ideas in a form that is accessible and resonates with mass audiences.