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Booby prize

18 November 2013

Via Buzon Xalapa (my translation):

As many will recall , during his campaign for the presidency, Enrique Peña Nieto was roundly criticized by actors, musicians , people in general and intellectuals, prominent among them the late writer, Carlos Fuentes.

aura_de_nuestraThe celebrated author’s most stinging criticisms came after Peña Nieto, speaking at the 2011 Feria Internaciónal de Libros (one of the most prestigious book fairs on the planet), failed to name three books that had influenced him; and worse, confusing Fuentes with Enrique Krauze*.

The reaction by the author of the Aura (a novel every Mexican with a High School education has read at least once), was swift and stinging:

This man ( Peña ) has the right not to read me. What makes him ineligible to serve has President of Mexico is his ignorance… I’m serious.

Since then the wave of ridicule against the politico has been unstoppable. Even after a year in office, no matter what he does, the President is mocked for his lack of culture, and labeled as stupid and inept.

What has been Peña Nieto’s revenge?

According to, it was the cancellation of International Carlos Fuentes Prize for Creative Writing, established by the previous administration, and first awarded to the admirable Mario Vargas Llosa admired . Peña Nieto and [Council for the Arts and Culture President Rafael] Tovar y de Teresa may argue that the $250,000 (U.S.) prize is too expensive for the country. OK… lower the award to fifty thousand dollars. Or, if economic is the issue, make the prize purely symbolic. No one would criticize that. For a any writer, an award that bearing the name “Carlos Fuentes”, even if no money comes with it, is an honor.

The Premio Internacional Carlos Fuentes a la Creación Literaria was to have been awarded on the 11th of November 11, but wasn’t… and won’t be. According to the website, this just proves that the politician, is indeed only uncultured… as well as spiteful and vindictive.

* In U.S. terms, the error was someone on the order of confusing Gore Vidal with John Jakes.

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