More Than 40 Intellectuals Sign a Manifesto Against Dictators’ ‘Siege’ on Freedom of Expression

The Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli, in an archive photo. (EFE/Víctor Lerena)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Madrid, 7 June 2023 – More than 40 intellectuals from Spain and Latin America have signed a manifesto against the”siege” on freedom of expression imposed by “dictatorial” regimes – an initiative led by the Nicaraguan writer Giaconda Belli, stripped of her nationality by Daniel Ortega’s government.

Literature, always on the side of freedom and democracy, is the document’s title, signed by intellectuals from Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. It will be read out next Friday at the Madrid Book Fair.

Belli will share the reading with Spanish writer Rosa Montero, Cuban opposition leader Yunior García and Venezualan author Juan Carlos Chirinos.

Between February and March the Nicaraguan authorities withdrew the nationality of more than 300 people critical of Daniel Ortega, including Belli, “for betrayal of the country”.

Among those signing are: Héctor Abad Faciolince, Alberto Anaut, Nuria Azancot, Valeria Correa-Fiz, Antonio Lucas, Inés Martín Rodrigo, Joan Manuel Serrat, Juan Cruz, Alfonso Mateo-Sagasta, Soledad Puértolas, Carme Riera, Germán Solís, Dani Torregrosa, Manuel Vilas, Juan Villoro, Alexis Díaz Pimienta y Fernando Iwasaki.

They demand democracy and respect for human rights in countries “where totalitarian regimes have left the mark of death, prison, plunder, confiscation and banishment on those who have opposed the “dictatorships”.

“Countries which brand critics as traitors and condemn them in farces that they call ’courts’ without proof nor the right to defend themselves” – they say. “Countries where citizens are subjected to a regime of terror and espionage, where they remove a citizen’s nationality, steal their possessions, force them abroad and refuse their return”.

These are the countries where they shut down language academies and poetry festivals, silence civil society and the independent media are gagged”, they declare.

And they emphasise the need to never forget or be indifferent to these situations, and to support those writers, artists and media who denounce them from exile.

The signatories encourage the writers to work actively and coordinatedly in this fight against the abuse and violation of human rights.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


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