Dominican news outlet Acento recently published news on a lawsuit against writers Chiqui Vicioso [shown above] and Miguel D. Mena filed by writer and former director of Culture of the Ministry of Education Rafael García Romero for libel and defamation, historians, social activists, and writers described it as an attempt to “censor and persecute.” The full statement reads:
No to state coercion of freedom of expression
The signatories herein denounce the censorship and persecution with which the intellectuals, writers and cultural workers Chiqui Vicioso and Miguel D. Mena have been targeted with the lawsuit against them by writer, and until a few days ago, Director General of Culture of the Ministry of Education (now appointed as advisor) Rafael García Romero, in which he falsely alleges libel and defamation.
We consider that it is nothing more than a strategy to silence their criticism when they reiterated the attempt of self-inclusion of the work Ruinas by Rafael García Romero while serving as the official responsible for the selection of the literary works of a publishing project with an investment of over 266 million pesos from the Ministry of Education.
We declare that with this legal action against these two writers and intellectuals the plaintiff creates a precedent of intimidation and coercion to freedom of expression through judicial institutions to those who seek to question and demand transparency in the management of public resources.
We understand that, according to the complaint made in the program El Informe de Alicia Ortega in January 2019, and statements issued by his own superior, the then Minister of Education, Andrés Navarro, the alleged self-inclusion of the work Ruinas caused the cancellation of the contract with the editor.
We demand that the Ministry of Education make public the administrative investigation that reinstated Rafael García Romero, where explanation is needed as to why judicial subjection was not necessary, after he was suspended for one month without salary. According to the television program El Informe, this official signed a contract with an editor who would publish his work Ruinas and for which he would receive a ten percent of the net sale price in payment for copyright of the books sold to the Ministry of Education.
In this sense, it is hard to understand the degree of impunity for those who, now abusing their political power, attack these writers and intellectuals without having publicly clarified the accusations made on national television, in which they are directly implicated. [. . .]
For full article and list of cosigners, see https://acento.com.do/2019/cultura/8693539-califican-de-censura-y-persecucion-demanda-contra-chiqui-vicioso-y-miguel-d-mena/?