Cartoonist Who Took Over ‘Herald’ Building Escapes Jail Time

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By: E&P Staff

There’ll be no jail time for cartoonist Jose Varela, who was arrested last November after holing up at the offices of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald to air several grievances.

The Miami New Times reported that Varela, who had worked for El Nuevo Herald, pleaded no contest today to three felony counts of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to two years’ probation, and has to perform 200 hours of community service, donate $500 to United Way, not contact eight Herald employees, and stay clear of Herald headquarters.

When the Cuba native took over the building, he was reportedly carrying a toy gun that resembled a real semiautomatic weapon. During a three-and-half-hour standoff with Miami police Varela was said to have demanded the resignations of El Nuevo Herald editor Humberto Castello and Miami Herald executive editor Tom Fiedler.

Judge David Young said during the sentencing: “If every time someone was upset with what the Miami Herald or El Nuevo Herald wrote … did what you did, we would be living in a community of chaos.”

Earlier this month, Varela signed and sold cartoons at a store in Miami’s Little Havana to raise money for his defense fund.

Varela now wants to publish a book, according to the New Times.

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