Killer Cartoons

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Between the spring of 1986 and the fall of 1987, the presidents of five Central American states came together in Esquipulas, Guatemala in order to find a solution to the region’s military conflicts. The cartoon above shows the five presidents who signed the Esquipulas Peace Agreement, or Esquipulas II. From left to right, the signers of the peace agreement were: Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala, José Napoleón Duarte of El Salvador, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, José Azcona Hoyo of Honduras, and Óscar Arias Sánchez of Costa Rica. The cartoonist apparently believed that Cerezo, Duarte, and Azcona were using the peace process as a means of hiding their misdeeds, while Arias organized the meeting out of his own vanity and desire for a peace prize. The cartoonist’s bias is quite evident considering Ortega stands with nothing to hide. However, the indigenous peoples of the Miskito coast might have disagreed with this portrayal. After the Sandinistas came to power they sought to incorporate the Miskito people of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, who had historically enjoyed a large amount of autonomy. This led to a Miskito revolution against the Sandinistas, which culminated in the return of Miskito sovereignty in 1987. Ironically many who supported the Sandinistas in their struggle against the United States, such as Gabi Gottwald, also supported the Miskito Indians in their struggle against the FSLN, revealing that for many connected to the solidarity movement a conviction to supporting human rights often trumped political considerations.

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