Mérida, November 17th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela is celebrating its 6th International Book Fair (Filven) this week, hosting special guest countries Argentina, Colombia and Mexico who presented a series of books, films, cultural exhibits and dance performances.
Themed, “The Great Homeland Writes its History,” Filven 2010 has made available hundreds of books to readers at subsidized prices, including texts by Latin American revolutionaries Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro for the “socialist price” of one dollar.
Five days into Filven 2010, more than 25,000 books published by the Venezuelan government have been picked up by readers.
“We are very happy to be here,” said Patricia Miranda, advisor to Colombia’s Ministry of Culture. “This is the first Colombian event in Venezuela since our two countries re-established relations. We celebrate the cultural union between us,” affirmed Miranda.
On opening day, Venezuelan performers presented music from the state of Miranda while Mexican mariachi bands played their traditional sounds and Argentine tango dancers performed their national dance. Venezuela’s Andrés Eloy Blanco Poetry Society also read poetic works to fairgoers as they passed one of the 132 book stands present at Filven 2010.
“This is a profoundly revolutionary event,” affirmed Venezuelan Minister of Culture Francisco Sesto. “Ours is a cultural revolution, and in particular, an editorial revolution,” he said.
According to daily newspaper El Nacional, Venezuela now ranks fourth among Latin American nations in terms of books published. Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, honored guests at the book fair, are the three countries in the region which publish more.
Venezuelan writer and journalist Modesto Emilio Guerrero, who presented his book, 12 Dilemmas of the Bolivarian Revolution, referred to what he called the “democratization of thought, of access to culture.”
“[There is a] giant variety in themes, titles, authors, opinions that contradict one another – always within the pursuit of the best objectives for our peoples – but opposing opinions that make writing and publishing worthwhile, avoiding the crazy monologue, the speaking to oneself,” affirmed Guerrero.
According to the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN), over 100 titles are available on environmental issues alone, including a dictionary of ecological terms, a field guide of Venezuelan flora, books on climate change and sustainable agriculture.
The Cuban Book Association and Cuban Institute for Books brought over 3,000 titles to fairgoers.
With almost 15 books under his arms, Venezuelan social worker Sergio Lares spoke to the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). “At these prices it’s worth buying these books and giving them as gifts,” said Lares. “I’m taking with me The Paris Commune, this book by Che, one by [Venezuelan independence hero] Sucre and another one by Mao,” Lares said.
According to Minister Sesto, Venezuela has printed close to 100 million books during the 10 years of the Bolivarian Revolution. The government’s goal is to print 30 million books per year.
Politics of Liberation
As part of Filven 2010, on Monday Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez presented the annual “Liberator Critical Thinking Award” to Latin American philosopher and writer Enrique Dussel Ambrosini for his work entitled, Politics of Liberation, Volume II.
Dussel is one of the founders of the Latin American Philosophy of Liberation Movement and was exiled to Mexico by the military dictatorship of his native Argentina.
According to AVN, of the 60 works submitted from 15 different countries, Dussel’s book was selected for having “described the historical moment and the current political culture of our time, focusing on a perspective of the problems faced by the Global South, in particular, Latin America.” The book, in short, is a critical history of the historical development of political ideas with special attention paid to Latin American thought.
Last year’s award went to Hungarian Marxist Istvan Meszaros for his book, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time: Socialism in the 21st Century.