Nelson Aguilera, a Paraguayan writer, was condemned for 30 months of prison for a crime he did not commit: plagiarism.
In April 2010 he wrote a children’s story about the Paraguayan independence (1811) with the purpose of teaching Paraguayan kids in a very simple way how they became independent from the Spanish crown. His main character is Karumbita (A tortoise) which belongs to a series created in 2005 by the author and published by Alfaguara (from Sapin). Karumbita, la patriota (the patriot) is the second book of the series, who travelled in time and met all the patriots who took part in the Paraguayan revolution which made them free.
On the other hand, Maria Eugenia Garay, sister of a member of the Paraguayan Supreme Court, also had written a book called “The Time Tunnel” in 2005. The characters are two boys and a their grandfather. They also travelled in time going to different parts of the universal history. They also went to 1811 and they were witnesses of the Paraguayan independence.
Historical characters, events, and dates cannot be changed in writing stories which main purpose is to teach History to kids. Moreover, travelling in time is a common ground. However, Mrs. Garay sued Mr. Aguilera saying that there were 43 coincidences between the two books. The prosecutor, Mrs. Cattoni, asked for teachers and experts to analyze the two books. Dr. Peiró (from Spain) and Dr. Méndez Faith (from St. Anselm – Boston), as Mrs. Fleitas Guriland, Mrs. Pirirs Da Motta (experts in Discourse Analysis), Dr. Rodríguez Alcalá (well known Paraguayan writer, historian and journalist) as Mr. Trinidad (expert from the Court) concluded that there was not plagiarism of any kind due to the styles of the two writers were very much different. But, the prosecutor did not accept these studies and preferred one written by an accountan and a Literature teacher who said that similarities in Literature are to be considered plagiarism.
The oral trial took place the end of October and finished on the 4th of November with the sentence of 30 months of prison for Mr. Aguilera. All the evidences were not allowed and 40 witnesses (Doctors in Lit., writers, journalists, teachers) were not permitted to testify for Mr. Aguilera. When the sentence was published there was a big outcry in the Paraguayan society defending Mr. Aguilera who is a well known professor and writer and highly respected by the educational community.
Voices from different parts of the world came supporting Mr. Aguilera (from Argentina, Italy, the USA, Uruguay, Spain) saying that this kind of injustice should not be tolerated. Justice has to be for everyone, not only for the powerful and influential people. The office of Human Rights in Paraguay had also raised its voice saying that they respect the analysis made by scholars who really understand what Literature is and that Mr. Aguilera’s rights should be respected and not violated as it has been done.
This Monday, November 25th, Mr. Derlis Cespedes (Aguilera’s lawyer) will appeal to the Chamber of Appeals in Paraguay. However, Mr. Aguilera wants the international community to learn and to raise its voice not only against his case but also against all the unjust situations in which million of Paraguayan live. Corruption is the daily bread of the Paraguayan society in which the powerful people abuse of their power. Last week, for instance, senator Victor Bogado was covered by 23 senators not to declare of all the corruptions he was accused. The whole society made big demonstrations against this kind of acts. The 23 MP’s were even expulsed from restaurants, shopping centers etc. These measures are the way the society is finding to protest against so much corruption and injustice.
THAT IS WHY…
Please write to these members of the Paraguayan Parliament asking for justice for Nelson Aguilera who was condemned for 30 months of prison unjustly, for a crime that he did not commit: plagiarism.
President of Senate: firstname.lastname@example.org
President of Deputies: email@example.com
Complains for the Court: firstname.lastname@example.org