Colombian Coffee Growers to Sue Cartoonist

Monday, January 12, 2009
Mike Peters on Juan Valdez

Derogatory insinuations about Juan Valdez, the Colombian coffee industry’s mythical icon, have been a call to arms for the Colombia Coffee Growers Federation, which threatened to sue cartoonist Mike Peters for $20 million. The Valdez character was created by American advertising giant DDB in 1959 as Colombia’s international coffee diplomat, and many Colombians have taken serious offense at the cartoon’s implications. Constanza Perez, an engineer in Bogota, commented, “In the past, when we Colombians travelled abroad—it happened to me—[people would say], 'Colombia? Ah, cocaine!...That's why there is indignation. After so much time spent trying to clean up the image of Colombia, someone comes along and ties it to violence again.” Colombian historian Marcos Palacios sees the reaction as purely nationalistic, and argues, "Colombians want to appear, above all, totally civilized. The cartoon is a reminder that there are issues which are still to be resolved.”

Mike Peters Cartoon [01/02/2009]


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