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Vargas Llosa: “Cuba will become a capitalist dictatorship and then a
democracy” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on March 29, 2016

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Madrid, 29 March 2016 — Literature, politics
and love were the three main protagonists on Monday evening for the 80th
birthday of Mario Vargas Llosa. The winner of the Nobel Prize for
Literature attended a dinner in his honor with politicians, journalists,
presidents and activists, in a central Madrid hotel. Before 400 guests,
the Peruvian writer championed words and the art of storytelling as a
way to improve reality and participate in national life.

“Turning 80 has no merit,” said the author of The War of the End of the
World before an audience with another Literature Nobelist, the Turk
Orhan Pamuk, as well as a large group of Cuban and Venezuelan activists.
Seated at a forty tables, named after the prolific storyteller’s books
or stories, the guests experienced the night as a gigantic party among

Several dissidents and independent journalists traveled from Cuba for
the occasion, including Dagoberto Valdes, Manuel Cuesta Morua, Reinaldo
Escobar, Rolando Ferrer, Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Yusmila Reyna and
Boris Gonzalez. Vargas Llosa dedicated a special part of his speech to
the Cuban activists when he said “I can’t tell you how moved I am that
you are here and that you have come.”

With a very critical position towards the political system on the
island, which has earned editorial censorship in his books, the
award-winning novelist said, “Anachronistic communism has two
representatives today, Cuba and North Korea.” However, he expressed some
hope because although Cuba “will immediately become a capitalist
dictatorship, hopefully very soon afterwards, and finally after 57
years, it will become a democracy.”

Just outside the hotel a throng of journalists gathered to capture the
broad parade of personalities from the world of culture and politics
that were among the guests. Arriving for the party were former
presidents from Columbia Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe, Chile’s
Sebastian Pinera, Uruguay’s Luis Alberto Lacalle and Spain’s Felipe
González and José María Aznar. Also in attendance were the leader of
Spain’s Citizens party, Albert Rivera and the parents of Venezuelan
political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez.

Vargas Llosa delivered a precise speech and said that after eight
decades of life “it is an opportune time to make a stop along the way
and look back.” In his case, he said that life has been “a long and
unbroken chain of stories” and emphasized his appreciation for having
always had at hand literature, through which he has experienced a wide
variety of the lives of others.

His eldest son, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author and journalist, delivered ??
an emotional speech in which he said his father was like a “Rolling
Stone of literature” because of the energy the writer maintains despite
his age, only comparable with electric projection of Mick Jagger on
stage. Blowing out the two candles symbolizing his 80 years and offering
a declaration of love to his partner, Isabel Preysler, the honoree ended
the evening.

A seminar, “Vargas Llosa: Culture, Ideas and Freedom,” will begin on
Tuesday in Madrid, presided over by the writer and organized by the
International Foundation for Freedom along with the chair that bears his
name. Thinkers and writers will address topics such as populism, the
challenges facing Ibero-America and the state of democracy in Latin America.

Source: Vargas Llosa: “Cuba will become a capitalist dictatorship and
then a democracy” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez | Translating Cuba –

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