Oaxaca joined ICORN in February 2015. With its addition, Oaxaca is now one of 50 cities across the world dedicated to protecting persecuted writers, and only the second Latin American city collaborating with ICORN in order to safeguard the freedom of expression.
Established through the Fondo Ventura A.C. initiative, Mexico’s second City of Refuge embodies the unshakeable tradition of political refuge and defense of human rights that exist in our country; values evermore essential in the times of crisis that our society is experiencing.
This project was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Oaxaca International Book Fair, the Ventura Fund (Fondo Ventura), the San Agustín Center for the Arts (CaSa), the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, The National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), and the Secretary of Culture (SECULTA). These institutions are teaming up to offer a decent workplace and home for those who have been threatened for their ideas and work, as well as to develop a plan for social and cultural integration in Oaxaca, a city that is especially abundant with literary and artistic resources.
Guest writers at the Casa Refugio Oaxaca will be received in the San Agustín Center for the Arts (CaSa), in the Villa de Etla, so they can continue their literary and creative activity in a safe place. Located in a former textile factory 30 kilometers from Oaxaca’s historic center, CaSa is a cultural initiative that provides a space for artistic creation, expression, and experimentation. Founded by Francisco Toledo, it is Latin America’s first ecologically sustainable center for the arts. It is equipped with spaces specifically dedicated to the production of graphic art, textiles, and paper, and possesses a library with over three thousand volumes. Since its inception, the San Agustin Center for the Arts has worked under the premise that the interaction amongst people from various origins stimulates creativity, promotes tolerance and strengthens the community; as such, it is an ideal site to offer residence to the writer-refugees who arrive seeking peace.
During his visit to Oaxaca, Heldge Lunde (ICORN Executive Director) emphasized that Oaxaca is a resounding example of creativity and solidarity. He is deeply honored to welcome this city to the International Cities of Refuge Network.
We anxiously await the opportunity to host our first guest writers at the Casa Refugio Oaxaca.