Lalo Alcarez’ “La Cucaracha” is one of the most insightful, engaging, and downright hilarious comics in the publishing world. He has a somewhat askew take on society, politics and relationships. He is also one of the few successful Latino comic artists in the country who actually incorporates his ethnicity into his daily work.
The Houston Chronicle has just announced that they will be discontinuing La Cucaracha. In the heart of the American southwest, a singular, regionally relevant, voice is being silenced, and a community that is sorely under-represented in the media is again being neglected and disrespected.
Alcarez is a talented artist with a strong following. Earlier this year, when the Los Angeles Times announced that they were ditching La Cucaracha, there was a reader revolt that resulted in the Times reversing their decision the next day and retaining the comic strip. Alcarez is hoping for a similar outcome in Houston.
“In a replay of March 2007’s brief firing of La Cucaracha from the pages of the Los Angeles Times…the Houston Chronicle, home of maybe the largest comics pages in the nation, has dumped La Cucaracha and replaced it with a New Zealand based strip about penguins. Now, experts agree that the huge Latino population of Houston, Tejas must have its penguin-themed entertainment, but somehow there is no room for a strip that explores pro-immigrant and Latino-themed issues like La Cucaracha.”
It is simply unconscionable that the Chronicle would drop this strip at this time. We are entering a highly charged election season that already has too few voices that challenge the establishment – especially from the perspective of one of the most significant, and significantly ignored, block of Latino voters. To some degree the Democrats recognized the importance of this community by participating in a Spanish language debate sponsored by Univision. And, of course, they have a viable Latino candidate in Gov. Bill Richardson. Republicans however, refused to appear at a similar debate. Alvarez addressed this issue, and in doing so, demonstrated why it’s so important for his voice to be heard. Who else at the Chronicle is producing editorial cartoons with messages like this one:
You can help to support Alcarez by contacting the Chronicle and asking them to keep La Cucaracha. Public pressure was proven effective at the L.A. Times and it can work at the Chronicle as well. So write or call and express your support for this unique artist and for diversity in the the arts and the media.