II Critical Congress of Dominican Literature Canceled

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Diario Libre recently announced that writer and literary critic Diógenes Céspedes, the coordinator of the 2nd Critical Congress of Dominican Literature [II Congreso Crítico de Literatura Dominicana]—which was to be dedicated to Dominican writer and historian Marcio Veloz Maggiolo—confirmed the suspension of the congress. He also said that he had presented his resignation to Minister of Culture Eduardo Selman.

The Ministry of Culture canceled the congress, which was scheduled for August 7, 8 and 9, 2018, at the Pedro Henríquez Ureña National Library, due to “budgetary deficiency.”

“The congress was suspended twice,” said Céspedes, explaining that after receiving the information of the cancellation (“until further notice”) of the activity on Monday by Minister Eduardo Selman, they scheduled a meeting the following day, on Tuesday, July 10, together with the other members of the coordinating team.

At that meeting, Céspedes said, they presented to Selman the reasons why the event should not be suspended, taking into consideration that it would be a situation that would give a “bad image and negative criticism” to the Dominican Republic in cultural spaces in Latin America, especially, since the 10 international guests as well as the 49 national participants had been working on their presentations for about six months and the schedule was ready.

“He (Selman) withdrew the measure and said that the organization of the congress should continue,” Céspedes said. However, two days later, last Thursday, he was informed that the activity was once again canceled. “Faced with that situation I submitted my resignation, because there was nothing left for me to do there,” he said. He said the minister accepted his resignation while expressing sadness about the decision.

Among the writers who were going to participate in the conference were, besides Veloz Maggiolo, Dominicans Carlos Estevan Deive, Manuel Mora Serrano, Pedro Antonio Valez, Andrés L. Mateo, José Ancántara Almánzar, and Emilia Pereyra.

Among the international writers that would have participate were Sergio Ramírez (Nicaragua), Daysi Cocco de Philippis (United States), Dionni Durán (Cuba), Jorge Urrutía (Spain), and Eugenio Cuevas (Puerto Rico).

Approved budget

According to Céspedes, who organized the First Critical Congress of Dominican Literature in 1993, the budget for this event had been approved by the last administration, directed by Pedro Vergés, so he does not understand the claim of lack of funds. “I think it was an answer to get out of the situation, since that budget has been approved last year by the administration of Pedro Vergés,” he said.

Article translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see https://www.diariolibre.com/revista/cultura/cultura-suspende-ii-congreso-critico-de-literatura-dominicana-dedicado-a-veloz-maggiolo-HL10397725

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