More free­dom is nec­es­sary for Latin Amer­ica press: Var­gas Llosa


While there’s more free­dom of the press for Latin Amer­i­can media un­der democ­ra­cies than the dic­ta­tor­ships once com­mon in the re­gion, drug car­tels pose a threat to such free­doms, No­bel lau­re­ate Mario Var­gas Llosa said Satur­day.

The Peru­vian jour­nal­ist, au­thor and scholar who won the No­bel Prize for literature in 2010, spoke on a va­ri­ety of is­sues dur­ing an ap­pear­ance at the In­ter Amer­i­can Press As­so­ci­a­tion which is meet­ing here through Mon­day.

Var­gas Llosa com­ments in Span­ish, in­ter­preted by a trans­la­tor, on some of those is­sues:

Free­dom of the Press

“Free­dom of the press to­day has en­e­mies that are not only gov­ern­ments,” he said. “There are, for ex­am­ple, drug traf­fick­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions that re­ally fear a free press that in­ves­ti­gates. It’s a new threat to our free­dom of the press that did not ex­ist be­fore and now it’s be­come a

very, very se­ri­ous threat.”

Don­ald Trump and the US Elec­tions

“I don’t think there’s the slight­est pos­si­bil­ity that Trump is go­ing to be the Repub­li­can can­di­date,” Var­gas Llosa said. “I be­lieve the United States is a coun­try that is deeply demo­cratic. I can­not imag­ine him ever be­com­ing pres­i­dent. But it is sad that an in­di­vid­ual who is en­gag­ing in dem­a­goguery that is racist in its essence has been able to rouse the en­thu­si­asm of a sec­tor of the pop­u­la­tion.”

The Pope Meet­ing with Fidel Cas­tro but Not Dis­si­dents dur­ing

His Re­cent Cuba Trip

“I do rue the fact that he did not in­vite any dis­si­dents bit I be­lieve he was work­ing on a po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tion that has a long range vi­sion that goes be­yond Cuba and the U.S.,” Var­gas Llosa said. “He ac­tu­ally com­mit­ted him­self not to speak to the op­po­si­tion and he made that con­ces­sion think- ing that per­haps some­where along the way he’s go­ing to be re­warded.”

He said the goal might be “some­thing that will have to do with the func­tion­ing of the Catholic Church in Ha­vana or Cuba. I think that was a po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tion that has a long range goal and he was run­ning the risk of be­ing crit­i­cized as he has been.”

The In­ter­net

“There is a great au­dio­vi­sual revo­lu­tion in our time and there are chan­nels of ex­pres­sion that are much harder to con­trol. I think that has been tremen­dous progress for free­dom of ex­pres­sion,” he said.

“But there are prob­lems that come up with the tech­no­log­i­cal revo­lu­tion and that is the abun­dance tends to gen­er­ate con­fu­sion. We were talk­ing a while ago about how to­day so­cial media can de­prive a per­son of their iden­tity,” he added, not­ing that there is a Twit­ter ac­count with his name but it has noth­ing to do with him. “I will never have one. I’m not in­ter­ested.”


Peru­vian writer and 2010 No­bel Literature prize win­ner, Mario Var­gas Llosa per­forms dur­ing the gen­eral re­hearsal of “Tales of the plague” (Los cuen­tos de la peste) at the Teatro Es­panol in Madrid on Jan. 22.

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