RAN 16/12

MEXICO: Poet and Translator Guillermo Fernández García Murdered in Toluca

STATEMENT: The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the killing on March 31, 2012, of the Mexican poet and translator Guillermo Fernández García. The 79 year-old writer was found dead at his home in Toluca, Mexico State. His murderers had bound his feet and hands before killing him with a blow to the head. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to fully investigate Fernandez’ murder and bring those responsible to justice.

Guillermo Fernández García was a noted poet and had published twelve volumes of poetry, including Visitaciones (1964), La palabra a solas (1965), La hora y el sitio (1973), El reino de los ojos (1983), and Imágenes para una piedad (1991). He was also regarded as one of Mexico’s finest translators of Italian literature and had translated works by Italo Calvino, Antonio Tabucchi, Cesare Pavese, and Guiseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa.

On March 31, 2012, neighbours entered Fernández’ home and found the poet dead. He had been killed by a blow to the head from a heavy object. Nothing had been stolen. The motive for the murder is unknown.

BACKGROUND: Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a writer. In the last five years, 38 print journalists, writers, and bloggers have been murdered in connection with their work, and eight have disappeared; most of the dead were involved in reporting on corruption and organized crime. The vast majority of these killings have never been properly investigated and most of the perpetrators remain unpunished.

These crimes go unpunished largely because the Mexican authorities, especially at state level, are notoriously susceptible to corruption. In March, the Mexican senate approved an amendment to the law that would make all crimes against journalists, writers, and bloggers federal crimes, thereby protecting investigations from local corrupting influences. The amendment has to be passed by the individual states before it becomes law.

In January 2012, PEN International sent a delegation to Mexico to draw international attention to the climate of impunity maintained for those who kill writers.

PETITION: By giving your digital signature below, your name will appear in a petition appealing to the President and Attorney General of Mexico. PEN Center USA will appeal on the signatories' behalf:

  • Protesting the murder of Guillermo Fernández García on March 31, 2012;
  • Calling for a full and impartial investigation into the murder;
  • Calling for an end to Mexico’s climate of impunity in which crimes such as these take place.
Sign the petition!
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