"The political monero must be critical of all powers, not just one": Helio Flores |Video

For 60 years, helium flowers (1938) is an acute observer of the Mexican and international reality. Through the cartoons of him he has learned to deal with the censorship and to exercise criticism without restraint, with the authority that the years and the trade give him, he points out that, unlike other times, today the moneros and columnists, “today they can publish what they want.”

Some of his work can be seen in daily The universalbut also to the delight of his followers, in the books our democracy and the fresh off the press the man in black, both published by Alias ​​Editorial. Both titles are two examples of the profession and legacy of an essential journalist within the tradition of Mexican political cartooning.

How do you remember 1968, the year you created the character “The Man in Black”?

It was a very beautiful time. We met four cartoonists, Rius, Naranjo, the teacher AB and me. There was a lot of censorship in the normal media, including the newspapers where we worked, so we decided to make a publication that would allow us to publish what we were not accepted. that’s how he was born the tick. We were critical of the Díaz Ordaz government. We tried to give our point of view, but without provoking too much because we knew what he was capable of. We were the directors of the magazine and we worked very comfortably. We had no advertising, it was supported solely by readers.

Today it seems impossible for a publication to be kept from its readers…

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I don’t know if it’s impossible, maybe it could be sustained, of course, with certain limitations. We had to do everything because there was no budget for collaborators, although when new cartoonists appeared the magazine welcomed them.

Did “The Man in Black” emerge as a way to circumvent censorship?

Yes, it arose at that time and in the tick. When reviewing it, I am still surprised by how he approached the time of Díaz Ordaz, the problem of the repression of the student movement. That comic was always something of an experiment in terms of character, format, and themes. The character was aware that he was part of a strip, unlike the rest of the comics where the characters take attitudes to a certain extent human, like theater or movie actors.

“The man in black” was born from a very particular moment, would there be room today for a similar character to emerge or is the country different?

The country has changed a bit in some things, in others it remains the same. I think that for an equal character to emerge there would have to be a cartoonist who thought the same as me, I don’t think the country’s conditions influence it.

Which ones have changed and which ones have not?

Currently or four years from now, as far as I know, there is no longer censorship, as there was during the time of Díaz Ordaz, Echeverría and the rest of the PAN and PRI governments. That has changed and I mention it in the first place because for a cartoonist or cartoonist it is very important. In my case, I have dealt with censorship my entire career. Today in the newspapers the cartoonists and political columnists publish what they want. Surely there are other things related to the economy where we are more or less the same. The current government has been an experiment in transformation. It is not easy to change, nor can miracles be achieved overnight.

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Should the cartoonist or political monero always be critical of power or should he be more lenient if he sympathizes with a regime?

You always have to be critical of the power or powers, we know there isn’t just one. In my case, I continue to criticize power, but there is economic, military and media power. There are many to whom one should direct criticism, including the president. The transformations we are seeing face problems and difficulties, some natural and others caused by other powers that oppose the change. Personally, I focus on the powers that be trying to hinder the change we all want. I have always criticized the powers that work with the government such as business groups or charro unions. US interventionism is as much a source of criticism now as it was 40 years ago. The same president, when he fails we must question, for the good of all. What I do notice now is that there are many cartoonists who focus on criticizing only the president, for them the only power that exists is the presidential one, in fact they work for other powers, that is, for the sold press. There are groups that want to carry out a coup in Mexico or that try by all means to prevent this transformation from continuing. There are moneros who fly the flag that power must be criticized, but what it is about is criticizing all powers, not focusing on just one, even some hardly questioned the presidential power before.


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