PEN MÉXICO ACCUSES PEN INTERNATIONAL OF CENSORSHIP AND TRANSGRESSION TO ITS AUTONOMY
Mexico City, October 7, 2019.
We have been informed that Pen’s International Board of Directors proposed the suspension of Mexico’s Pen Centre during the 85 Pen’s International Conference in Manila, the Philippines, due to irregularities of its steering committee in 2019 election process.
Mexico’s Pen Centre notifies that voting methods adhered strictly to Pen’s policies and statutes as stated in its corresponding act and reported in timely fashion to Pen International by all its members.
Pen Mexico reports that the election of poet María Rivera as President, was never refuted by the members of its assembly, the centre’s highest administrative body, nor by any of the organization’s affiliates, including Mr. Pedro Serrano the candidate that lost. Mr. Serrano did not grieve anomalies in the voting process and never contacted Mexico’s PEN in the three months following the election.
As mentioned in our act of September 4, our voting procedures were democratic and did not create post-electoral conflicts, neither among the members of the assembly or PEN Mexico affiliates.
In the light of the above mentioned, we sincerely regret the suspension of our centre founded in 1923 by Mexican prestigious writers Alfonso Reyes and Genera Estrada. We publicly report that the suspension sentence by PEN International to our centre, constitutes an authoritarian reprisal by the latter organism to harm PEN Mexico headed by Mexican-American Mrs. Jennifer Clement, former President of Mexico’s PEN and PEN’s current International President of the Board.
Mrs. Clement failed to take possession of our centre by imposing undemocratically Mr. Serrano the candidate of her liking for President. The latter was orchestrated by Mrs. Alicia Quiñones, Mrs. Clement’s right hand, a PEN International employee and a member of our assembly as Mrs. Clement. Mrs. Quiñones made-up the complaint before PEN International.
We regret that PEN International original founding is being used to endorse factious interests using lies as tools in a clear abuse of power against Mexican writers. We believe it is a huge mistake to call a halt to a prestigious and influential opinion maker Mexican NGO that has advocated and defended Mexican journalists, in light of Mexico’s violence today.
We publicly report the interventionist policy to other PEN’s centres undertaken by PEN’s International Steering Committee headed by Mrs. Jennifer Clement and her team including Katlin Kaldmaa, International Secretary and Carles Torner, Executive Director. The former officials have interfered in the internal life and endeavours violating the organisms’ autonomy, modifying the institution and using it as a tool to favour politicians and governments and censor the liberty of authors in their respective countries.
An example of the former occurred last August. PEN International rejected PEN’s Mexico declaration that was subscribed as well by San Miguel and Guadalajara centres. The statement condemned the attacks on journalists, the media and human rights defendants, undertaken by Mexico’s current government. PEN Mexico was informed that after analysing the resolution, PEN International arrived to the conclusion that the status had not changed from last year to the present. PEN International censored Mexico’s announcement. The event occurred two months after PEN International in cooperation with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Government of Mexico organised in Chiapas a meeting titled “Writing the Future in Indigenous Languages” that included authors of the international community and aboriginal writers.
PEN International used PEN Mexico to release international statements without previous consultation aimed to intervene in countries’ local political conflicts. An example of the latter was an unauthorized communiqué drafted by PEN International in January using our centre to demand the liberation of catalan politicians Jordi Sánchez y Jordi Cuixart. The latter originated the resignation of Nobel Prize Mario Vargas LLosa as President Emeritus of PEN International and an active member of PEN Mexico. Magali Tercero, former President of Mexico’s centre and Homero Aridjis President Emeritus of PEN International and an active member of PEN Mexico reported the fact.
In December 2018 a statement was announced to ask the liberation of Selahattin Demirtas, a Turkish politician of Kurdish descent. PEN International mentioned that Mexico’s centre was adopting him as “honorary member”. The declaration was a blatant lie. PEN Mexico was never consulted.
Similar to Cataluña’s case already condemned by Mario Vargas Llosa, PEN Mexico has suffered harassment, attacks, intervention and defamation by PEN International in our electoral process. Katlin Kaldmaa, cut in private communications destined to Mexico’s associates and without authorization she made them public. This is unacceptable.
In the light of the despicable acts that transgress our autonomy we declare:
- PEN Mexico is an autonomous and independent institution of Mexican writers with own legal personality ruled by statutes and as such independent of PEN International. Our centre will continue with its activities to promote literature and freedom of speech.
- PEN Mexico will continue to condemn the generalized violence existing in the country, where journalists are murdered, human rights NGO’s and media are disqualified.
- PEN Mexico will keep up with the work raising its voice to protect writers and journalists and defend freedom of speech, diversity and honesty.
- PEN Mexico will continue to promote and further values and principles that have granted the centre a strong voice in Mexico’s public opinion.
After 96 years of existence, our institution holds firm and strong defending its independence, autonomy and dignity.