American cartoon sparks Colombian ire

“Colombian coffee growers are planning to sue a US cartoonist for millions of dollars over a cartoon they say damages the reputation of Colombian coffee.

The cartoon is by Mike Peters, whose work is published in the US and abroad.

In it, one character refers to crime in Colombia and then to Juan Valdez, the fictional coffee grower used for years to advertise Colombian coffee.

Coffee growers say the cartoon links their industry with violence. Mr Peters has said he intended no offence.

The cartoon strip which appeared on 2 January is part of the Mother Goose and Grimm series that Mr Peters draws.

In it, Mother Goose is sighing over a cup of fresh Colombian coffee.

Another character comments: “Y’know, there’s a big crime syndicate in Colombia. So when they say there’s a little bit of Juan Valdez in every can, maybe they’re not kidding.”

This plays on a former slogan used to advertise Colombian coffee.

The comic strip finishes with Mother Goose drinking tea.”

More on it here, including the cartoonists apology.

My Take

I read about this last week in El Tiempo but I thought it was a bit silly. Agreed, its stupid to connect honest, hard-working coffee growers with a theme of violence, but the author apologized, said he loves Colombia and Colombian coffee. In addition, he said it was part of a series for the week which started with the rumor that the Pringles founder wanted his ashes in a Pringles can.

The solution? Put the cartoonist’s apology and endorsement of Colombian coffee in El Tiempo. One off-hand remark won’t stop people from buying a reknowned worldwide brand like Juan Valdez.

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