PORTUGUESE TROUBLESIn the north of Portugal there is a town named Porto. This town is very well known all over the world because of the famous Port wine, but also because of the very important international contest named PortoCartoon. Every cartoonist knows that this very important contest announces a very very important awards amount : for instance, the first prize is 7 000 euros, but paid « half part of it in money and the other half in wine ». So, if you are the lucky cartoonist who wins the first prize, you get, of course, 3 500 euros in cash and a few bottles of Port wine, but also other sorts of wine supposed to be a very high quality wines and, therefore, very very expensive ones. The problem is that last year, the Cuban-Mexican cartoonist Boligan, who won the second prize, received, of course, 1 500 euros in cash and, of course, several bottles of wine for the amount of… 191,71 euros, as it was checked by some Portuguese friends of him, including me. Which means that 1 308,29 euros of wine are still missing in Boligan’s throat or in his pocket if he had tried to sell his « missing bottles » in some Mexico City (black) market. But before doing that, he would have had to pay for the transport fees from Portugal to Mexico and the customs duty, of course. Big problem and big trouble that other awarded cartoonists could have had with their bottles of PortoCartoon wine.
As a matter of fact, why not just announce a good nice first prize of 3 500 euros and some wine bottles as a courtesy, instead of 7 000 unrealistic euros ?
We stay in Portugal and travel now to the south where there is an other town, Sintra, not far from Lisbon and also very well known all over the world because of its beautiful site and the former kings and queens who chose this piece of the Portuguese Republic to live in, but also its very important international contest named World Press Cartoon. This event was initiated ten years ago and used to be very successful because of the quality of its organization, its excellent catalog and its very very very high prizes… not paid « half in wine » but all in cash. I say « used to » because this year, as it happens, the new mayor has decided to stop supporting this contest for budgetary reasons after having said to the organizers that the contest could go on. So, it seems that everything was organized as usual but had to be stopped in the middle of the river crossing because of the mayor’s decision. Many cartoonists had already sent their cartoons to the World Press Cartoon but the members of the jury couldn’t go to Portugal because there was no money to pay for their flight tickets, hotel bills, meals and drinking… Sintra wine. Surely, it’s really a pity that this kind of artistic and cultural event, with a very rich history and so famous among the cartoonists community, depends on a political change and the decision of just one person.
We all know that things of life are very fragile, but it seems that the cartoons life is more and more fragile indeed. And, as a Portuguese-French cartoonist, that troubles me a lot. So does it to you, I’m sure.
Carlos Brito, vice president general of FECO
with the agreement of the international board