[Ppnews] Mexican Political Prisoner Gloria Arenas Released

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 30 11:25:46 EDT 2009

Mexican Political Prisoner Gloria Arenas Released

Written by John Gibler
Thursday, 29 October 2009

Photos by Comite Verdad, Justicia, y Libertad Jacobo y Gloria

Gloria Arenas Agís was released from prison 
around 7:30PM on October 28, ten years after 
Mexican federal agents abducted, tortured, and 
then­after several days of being held 
incommunicado­arrested her and her husband Jacobo 
Silva Nogales on charges ranging from terrorism and homicide to rebellion.

Arenas and Silva are the co-founders of the ERPI 
(the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army), a 
guerrilla movement based in Mexico’s impoverished 
Guerrero State, with roots going back to the 
Lucio Cabañas guerrilla up-rising of 1967-1974.

Mexico State prison officials released Arenas 
without advanced notice or asking her to sign a single document.

"I did not know that I was going to be released," 
Arenas told a reporter from La Jornada upon 
leaving the Mexico State prison in Chiconautla, 
"all of a sudden they just told me, get your things and leave."

Minutes later she was standing outside the 
prison, alone, with two plastic bags. Elizabeth 
Silva, Jacobo Silva’s sister, arrived first and 
took Arenas to her house where she was met by scores of supporters.

Jacobo Silva remains in federal prison in the 
state of Nayarit, where he was recently 
transferred without notice from the nation’s 
highest security prison, known as Altiplano.

Silva has conducted both his and Arenas’s legal 
defense from within maximum-security prison for 
years, submitting a series of successful appeals 
that should have won their release as early as 2007.

In 1999, Silva and Arenas pleaded guilty to the 
charge of rebellion, though they denied charges 
of terrorism and homicide for an armed attack on 
an army convoy in Guerrero in 1996. At that time 
in Mexican law, the crime of rebellion carried a 
five-year prison sentence. A judge gave Arenas 
and Silva a sentence of over twenty years.

But the law states that anyone guilty of 
rebellion shall not be charged with additional 
crimes against the state that may have been 
committed in the act of rebellion, such as the 
deaths of soldiers or the destruction of army 
vehicles. The judge had justified the long 
sentence for the crime of homicide, not rebellion.

Arenas and Silva both deny having participated in 
the armed attack of which they were accused, 
though they fully acknowledge belonging to the 
ERPI guerrilla movement. When the judge asked 
Silva his profession in 1999, he responded: "Guerrillero."

Silva’s main appeal led the judge to drop the 
charge of homicide, upholding the charges of 
rebellion and property damages. Both Silva and 
Arenas should have been released immediately, but 
were not. Years after their trial, the Mexican 
legislature changed the sentence for rebellion 
from five to seven years. Silva appealed again 
and won. Again they should have been released, 
but a judge from another jurisdiction said that 
Arenas and Silva were subject to an on-going trial in another court.

Silva filed yet another appeal, though its 
resolution had not yet been announced when Arenas 
was suddenly told to gather her things and leave.

Arenas said that she would start working 
immediately with existing social movements to 
help free Jacobo Silva and all the political prisoners in Mexico.

"I was released due to the movement and social 
struggles," Arenas told La Jornada. "And there 
are still hundreds of compañeros who still need to be freed."

For more information about Gloria Arenas and the 
history of the ERPI, please see the 
chapter-length profile of her in 
Unconquered (City Lights, 2009). For more 
information about the ERPI today, please see the 
Z Magazine article 
Hidden Side of Mexico’s Drug War."

A Poem by Gloria Arenas Agís in Spanish and English


Por Gloria Arenas Agís

La cárcel ladrona
roba mi libertad
pero la libertad es inmensa
sólo le puede arrancar trozos...
como mordidas.

Las rejas atajan
niegan la caricia
la presencia añorada
pero no pueden evitar el amor.

Las rejas aíslan
rodean de silencio
y de ausencia
pero no pueden callar la voz.

Las rejas son frías
congelan el alma
humedecen los ojos
pero no pueden apagar el fuego.

No pueden impedir que yo
siga siendo yo
y que tú sigas siendo tú



By Gloria Arenas Agís

Prison thieves
robs my liberty
but liberty is immense
prison can only rip off shreds of it
like bites.

The bars interrupt
deny the touching
the longed-for presence
but they cannot obstruct love.

The bars isolate
surround with silence
and with absence
but they cannot still voice

The bars are cold
harden the soul
wet the eyes
but they cannot extinguish fire.

They cannot impede that I
continue to be myself
and that you are still you

Freedom Archives
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