As scientists from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea announced the launch of the Unha-3 rocket last week, Tico graphic artist and cartoonist Arcadio Esquivel Mayorga retreated to his studio in Curridabat and penned a simple cartoon: a stylized red rocket that looked more like a firecracker than a ballistic missile, surrounded by accusatory index fingers pointing at it.
The online edition of the Paris-based weekly Courrier International, a newspaper that is published in the French, Japanese and Portuguese languages, published Arcadio’s cartoon on its front page with the line: Is this the rocket of all dangers?
Arcadio’s cartoon would prove prescient, as days later the failed North Korean rocket launch made international headlines and even more fingers were pointed at Pyongyang. Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the DPRK’s actions and the United States terminated a proposed food assistance program.
Don Arcadio Esquivel is a graphic artist and cartoonist whose work has appeared in many national and international publications, as well as on Cartoon Movement, a web site dedicated to thoughtful political, ideological and socially conscious cartoons.
In a recent interview with Master Peace, a Netherlands-based organization that seeks the advancement of peace through music and art, Arcadio was described as an artist who “makes cartoons because of his need of having a critical view on issues, a powerful instrument for education. He doesn’t see it as a hobby but rather as a commitment.”
Arcadio’s cartoon style is colorful and thoughtful, with a focus on issues that interest many Ticos: peace, democracy, sustainability, and social justice. One of his recurring characters is Wenceslao, a 10-year old boy from San Jose who is extremely sharp and precocious. Idiosyncratically, Wenceslao is very much a Tico, but his activist streak favors an unarmed society free from sensationalist media.
Don Arcadio is very attuned to social media, and to that extent he is active on Facebook. You can find out more about his work at the following Facebook pages: