Puerto Rico: Of Literary Festivals and University Strikes

A recent article “Paco Ignacio Taibo II marchará con los estudiantes” [Paco Ignacio Taibo II to Demonstrate with Students] in El Nuevo Día, reported that many of the Latin American writers that were on the island as guest lecturers for the major literary event the Festival of the Word [Festival de la Palabra] expressed solidarity with the student struggle at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Some, like Spanish-Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II, have inserted themselves into the forefront of public debate. On Saturday, Taibo II participated in the student march that began at 4:00pm at the UPR-Río Piedras campus’ gates to the university president’s offices located at the UPR Botanical Gardens.

Taibo II’s support represents a remarkable sponsorship because he is not only well-known as a leading intellectual, but also for his active endeavors beyond his literary production. Taibo II has worked as a professor of history and anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, journalist, editor of academic journals, politician, trade union activist, and director of the festival “Semana Negra de Gijón.”

Spanish writer José Ovejero, who also applauded the protests, said that the “students are demonstrating against privatization, which is similar to what we are experiencing in the rest of the world.” Colombian writer Mario Mendoza spoke about the importance of education, saying “In Colombia a mathematician or a philosopher are on the verge of winning the elections and this has been achieved with the space given to the right to read and write in a democracy.” He underlined the significance of the university as a place from which people may contribute from an well-informed standpoint: “We come here to learn but also to bring our ideas in order to achieve true resistance, one that is achieved from the space of education and culture.”

For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/pacoignaciotaiboiimarcharaconlosestudiantes-700262.html

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