1400 millilitersrain of flowersthe jewel in the lotus
Recommended Links




Freedom of expression belongs to those who work it

In the last issue of The Dagger we covered the case of Mexican journalist Javier Elorriaga, who was then completing his first year in prison in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, without ever having been sentenced. On May 2, Elorriaga was formally charged with terrorism, sedition, conspiracy and rebellion, and sentenced to 13 years in prison; indigenous leader Sebastian Entzin was sentenced to 6 years on similar charges. The only "evidence" used to obtain the verdict was the same fabricated or coerced testimony that had been thrown out in the cases of other alleged Zapatistas, since freed. The verdict meant a catastrophe for the peace process in Chiapas, with the EZLN rightly refusing to deal with a government whose judicial branch was equating support for their organization with terrorism. The government, in turn, threatened the Zapatista leadership with criminal prosecution if they did not remain at the negotiating table and participating in what by then could only ludicrously be called "dialogue."

On June 6, in response to international pressure and the threat of social instability, Entzin and Elorriaga were released. Both expressed enthusiasm for returning to their respective trades of farming and journalism, and both vowed to continue to struggle for peace at the side of the EZLN, and especially for the liberty of the 16 alleged Zapatistas who remain in prison. Since then, Elorriaga has headed the civil Zapatista Front for National Liberation and traveled to Europe and the U.S. on behalf of the Zapatistas.

Upon his release, Elorriaga paraphrased Emiliano Zapata to declare "freedom of expression belongs to those who work it." The Dagger celebrates Elorriaga's work on this terrain. His release is a victory for free expression and the power of communication to effect change.

-Elissa Rashkin

This piece is copyright by the author. It may be forwarded electronically, provided this notice is kept with it, but may not be otherwise reproduced without permission. Thanks.

The Dagger | Dagger #9 | Dagger #8 | Dagger #7 | Dagger #6 | Dagger #5