Writer and activist in
Mexico. Born Poland, 1932 -
Elena Poniatowska was born in Poland to an intellectual/writer family
who moved to Paris and then Mexico City when she was still quite young.
Below, in a photograph by Ricardo Salazar, 1958.
As a young woman she was involved in the student movements of the
1960’s. Below, right, with Susan Sontag.
Though not wealthy, she grew up among well-known figures and recognized
authors. Below, with Octavio Paz.
She was especially moved by the terrible student massacre in Tlatelolco,
Mexico City, at the time of the Olympic Games in 1968. This massacre
was always denied by the Mexican government, with the full backing of
the United States who were covering up their own atrocities at Kent
State and elsewhere.
It was forbidden to write of the massacre at Tlatelolco, but
Poniatowska began collecting oral histories of persons and families who
were there. Later she published a break-through book, The Silence Is
Dangerous, in which she allowed the voices of students to speak for
She has remained active in many causes and has been a strong voice
against the repressive regimes of the ruling party of Mexico.
Below, with Carlos Monsiváis.
Below with Andrés López Obrador,
Alejandra Encinas, and Rosario Ibarra.
In 2005, she visited our AIDS
organization in Oaxaca and called Seńor Condón “a model for all of
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Below, with her good friend and co-activist,
Below, Jesusa Rodríguez at the presentation of Elena's
most recent book.
Below, Jesusa traveled with Elena to
Cuba where she received a journalism award, with Felipe Roque, foriegn minister of Cuba, and
Abel Prieto, Cuban minister of Culture, 2007.
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In August of this year, Elena was invited to
Venezuela to appear with Hugo Chávez on his Sunday television program,
Aló Presidente, where he read passages from Elena's book, The Train Goes
First, and presented her with the International Award for Novels Rómulo
In October, 2007, Elena was asked to give the opening
remarks at the inauguration of the Tlatelolco Cultural Center on the
location of the student massacre of 1968, below. (NOTE: you can
read excerpts from her address in the Encyclopedia entry on TLATELOLCO.)
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January 31, 2008. Now, the society pages are about the last place
one expects to come across Elena Poniatowska, but this year she decided
to visit our Puerto Escondido's big pre-Carnaval celebrations (!), and got a
nice bit of coverage in the "Coctel Costeńa" pages of the local
NOTICIAS, below. Lookin' good, Elena!
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