Ron Wever – A man with a biting sense of humor, left us

My original caricature for the Bati Bleki column in the Diario was sketched by caricaturist Ron Wever. The column appeared in the Diario, so naturally I asked Ron to do the header. He delivered, and I did not like it. It was not complimentary. He drew me with sparkling eyes, and a large nose, as if I just landed a colossal scoop. I didn’t like the drawing. I wanted to be cute, and he delivered a character study, thus his header was never used.

Ron came back to Aruba, having graduated some fancy art school in the Netherlands. Freshly married he went to work as a graphic-designer at the NEWS, the English newspaper and later at Corant Corant, a politically-tainted daily, where the owners hired him as a layout man. Noticing his ability to draw Stanley Arends asked Ron to come up with a caricature. The big news that day was the introduction of the K9 unit, and the drug sniffing dogs. Ron’s caricature featured a Customs officer restraining a K9 ‘officer’ barking furiously at the Minister of Justice, implying the then-minister had perhaps a few shady deals to hide.

That morning, Aruba was introduced to the caustic, sarcastic and stinging wit of the layout man turned cartoonist, and he never disappointed. He would read the newspapers daily and come up with a fresh, irreverent, razor-sharp observation. As he moved to Diario, Aruba’s largest daily, he got a green light to express himself freely. And when he was ‘brain-dead,’ the editors helped point him in the right direction, moving from the issues on page 1 to page 2 or 3, in search of a juicy shortcoming, a zinging observation. His most frequent subject was politician Nel Oduber whom he usually depicted with an extra special long tongue.

I reminisced with a fellow newspaper man yesterday. We thought Ron’s funniest cartoon to date was that of the PPA leader climbing over the cemetery fence, in search of PPA voters, alas, he was late, they were all 6 feel under, and his party beat the dust at elections. Ron always made us laugh.

While somehow blood related to the MEP political party, he lynched its politicians mercilessly; he was almost equally unkind to AVP, ridiculing members of the green party incessantly; he was an equal opportunity executioner, across party lines.

Ron passed away after a bout with cancer on the last day of the year, and asked for a short no-frill memorial. He is survived by two lovely daughters, and an extended family, on both ends of the political spectrum. Alas, page 2 of the Diario will never look the same without him.

On a conformist island his blunt and irreverent commentary on issues and personalities will be greatly missed. He was a gate-keeper, determined to keep the political constellations honest!

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January 04, 2017
Rona Coster