(NEW YORK) – PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) strongly condemns Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor, Consuelo Porras, for the profoundly troubling developments in Guatemala, described asreminiscent of a coup d’état”. ARC calls for the liberation of all artists, writers, activists, and others arrested for publicly opposing attempts to invalidate August’s presidential election results.

“The Public Prosecutor’s targeting of artists, activists, and members of Bernardo Arevalo’s Movimiento Semilla political party is completely illegitimate and unacceptable,” said Julie Trébault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC). “ARC is extremely concerned for the safety of Guatemalan artists involved in these protests and targeted for their work. We denounce the Guatemalan state’s efforts to stifle the creatives who, through their work, spur unity and understanding, contributing to open dialogue and free thought.”

On the morning of November 16, agents from the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out 31 raids in an attempt to enforce 28 arrest warrants against artists, writers, academics, students, and activists from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) and the University Rafael Landívar (URL). This is only the latest development in a series of escalating government offenses, which began in August after Bernardo Arevalo defeated former First Lady Sandra Torres in the second round of the 2023 presidential election.

“Being an artist, even a politically engaged one, should never be cause for incarceration, not in Guatemala, not in Cuba, not in Russia, not in Egypt, not anywhere in the world.”