Rio cartoonist inspires Arab rebellions from afar

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – His cartoons are edgy,  bold, and a thorn in the side of the Arab world’s tottering  authoritarians — a gift to protesters from the unlikely  setting of an apartment in beach-side Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Latuff

Carlos Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link  to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has  become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire  satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings.

All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region’s  struggles and a Twitter account that he uses to send out his  cartoons.

Starting with the Tunisia uprisings last December, Latuff’s  work has been downloaded by protest leaders and splashed on  T-shirts and banners at protests from Egypt to Libya and  Bahrain, becoming a satirical emblem of outrage.

In one, a jackboot representing Syria’s government stamps  on a hand writing the word “freedom.”

In another, a man  representing justice under Egypt’s military rulers holds a  scale full of imprisoned protesters.

Latuff said he first knew his cartoons were having an  impact when, watching TV, he saw them printed on banners as  protests swept Egypt on Jan. 25, only two days after he had  made them available.

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