On PEN’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer, writer and activist Giaconda Belli writes to student leader and journalism graduate Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa.
Dear Cesario Alejandro Felix Padilla,
I’m writing to express my anger that you face criminal conviction and a possible prison sentence. I’m writing to express my rage that you experience harassment and surveillance. I’m writing to express my sadness that you are forced to live in fear for your safety. I’m writing to express my outrage that you should be targeted for exercising your human right to freedom of expression and assembly.
But – today – on this Day of the Imprisoned Writer, I also want to express my solidarity with you, a fellow wordsmith. I want to express my respect for your bravery and perseverance in the defence of human rights and in the face of such injustice. I want to express my wish for your freedom and safety to be uncompromised and non-negotiable, for you to be able to write and express not as an act of rebellion and bravery but as a journalist who simply speaks because that is what he supposed to do. On this day, I am writing to let you know that your fight for free expression is not a lonely one. PEN’s community of writers are with you and will struggle alongside you.
My thoughts are with you Cesario, and it is my hope that the world calls for an end to the injustice you face and that soon you will live in a Honduras that celebrates free expression and where human rights flourish.