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, 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.