Jose Varela, freelance editorial cartoonist for El Nuevo Herald in Miami gained himself a bit of notoriety last fall for walking into his paper’s editorial offices with a knife and a toy machine gun, creating a 3 1/2 hour standoff with police. Editorial differences were at the heart of the action, Varela told Mega TV
“They see everything black and white, Bush or Fidel. They don’t see any shades of grey, which is unfortunate because life does not work that way. They would toss away my work; my cartoons were censured. Management’s actions sent the newspaper back to the Stone Age. Throwing away my work was like tearing me to pieces.”
Yesterday, Varela pleaded no contest to assault and burglary charges and received two years probation.
Circuit Judge David Young sentenced Varela to two years of probation with the special conditions that he attend anger control classes, continue psychiatric counseling and make a donation to a victim’s assistance fund.
Young withheld adjudication, meaning Varela’s record will not reflect a conviction if he complies with the conditions of his probation.
Varela could have faced life in prison if he had been convicted on all three counts of aggravated assault that prosecutors initially charged him with.