sabato 27 marzo 2010

Mexico's Fuentes criticizes ban of his novel in PR

Mexico's Fuentes criticizes ban of his novel in PR


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — One of Latin America's most prominent contemporary writers accepted an honorary doctorate Friday on this island where the government recently banned his novel from public high schools.

Carlos Fuentes called dropping "Aura" from the curriculum an arbitrary decision that amounted to an "antidemocratic, anticultural" act.

He spoke to reporters briefly before addressing dozens of professors and students at the University of Puerto Rico.

The author of "The Death of Artemio Cruz" and "The Old Gringo" said that even at age 81, he is still working on several books — including one about Colombian guerrillas that he struggles with because current events constantly render it outdated.

Fuentes also urged journalists not to wait until they encounter a totalitarian government to defend freedom of the press.

"We take it for granted," he said.

His visit comes six months after Puerto Rico's education secretary announced a ban on five books — including "Aura" — because of "coarse" language.

Fuentes said that while he has a certain responsibility as a writer to speak out against injustices, it is not his main job.

"A writer's responsibility lies with language, to maintain the vitality of language," he said.

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