Will the Nobel prize be given for slandering Chavez?

Nil Nikandrov
August 26, 2008
Will the Nobel prize be given for slandering Chavez?
Writers Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) and Carlos Fuentes (Mexico) in their political essays pay constant attention to the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez Frias.

One may say that Llosa long ago already became a factor of political life of Venezuela. Hardly had Hugo Chavez started to fulfil his obligations as the warning voice of Llosa accused him of demagogy, dictatorial manners and claims for messianism. Since then, the writer speaks on every problem issue, always on the side of opposition and certainly against Chavez and his dictatorship. Sometimes Llosa is not that categorical and uses the term «semi-dictatorship» and call Chavez an «apprentice of a dictator», meaning Fidel Castro as master.

Vargas Llosa used to predict rapid downfall of the Venezuelan leader more than once and was constantly mistaken. However, his errors in prediction have not confused him. Addressing the Venezuelans, he didactically stated: «Now you can see what mistake has been made to put Chavez on the throne, as it will be very difficult to get rid of totalitarian regime». With these commonplace maxims Llosa speaks as a chairman of the International fund for freedom (Fundacion Internacional para la Libertad) (with headquarters in Madrid), but his glory of a writer gives them a special propaganda response.

Once Llosa tried to sit in the presidential chair of Republic of Peru himself, but he lost the elections and was so grieved that gave up his Peruvian citizenship and became a Spaniard. One can think that his constant attacks on Chavez are provoked by hidden jealousy: this «ordinary lieutenant colonel» used to pass through the trials of national elections and won them with confidence, whereas he, Mario Vargas Llosa, famous all over the world writer, «the Peruvian No.1» of modern times, went on the rocks in the country, which he glorified by his pen.

Actively making his «image» of fighter for freedom and democracy in Latin America, warning the peoples of the continent from «expansion of the Bolivarian revolution by means of petrodollars of Chavez, Llosa pursues one more goal, personal. He, for a long time and without success has a claim for a Nobel prize in literature, and in his 70 odd years strives to get it as a worthy completion of his literary career. The conservative nature of the Nobel prizes committee is well known, hence and a lengthy «turn to the right» of the writer, who used to be considered if not a «leftist» but, at least, a fellow traveller.

There is no use to analyse the quality of the literary product of Llosa of recent years, although it is worth to remind that he was accused of plagiarism. In his novel «The Feast of the Goat» («La fiesta del chivo») dedicated to the dictator of the Dominican Republic Trujillo, they found certain «appropriated» fragments from somebody other's works. Advocates of Llosa managed to «clear» from the accusations, but, naturally, they had to forget for some time about the Nobel prize. And now, when again he managed to get points by «exposing creativity on the Chavez topic» there appeared a new obstacle on the road to the prize — this time in the person of another writer, - Mexican Carlos Fuentes. He also regularly criticises Chavez and «in the name of protection of democratic ideals» and in order to appear in international press more often.

The reason is still the same: active demonstration of conservatism, accusation of populism, castrism and communism — are strategically vital for struggling for the prize. Prudent Fuentes succeeded in getting additional points having written a rapturous preface to the book about the antipode of Chavez — Venezuelan oligarch Cisneros (P. Bachelet, «Gustavo Cisneros, World Business Man» /Gustavo Cisneros. Un empresario global/). Glorification of oligarchs, heroes of neo-liberal super-business — is a Deed with a Capital Letter. Neo-liberal policy brought Latin America an impoverishment, degradation of social programs, aggravation of contradictions, plunder and absorption of weak national economies by transnational companies.

Admirers of Fuentes got angry and bombarded him with letters: how could you do this? One of them, clearly not a chavist, wrote: «Mister Carlos Fuentes, you'd better deal with your own favourite Mexico, which, unfortunately, is situated too close to the United States. Their government condemned our people to poverty and suffering, and, as a result, to illiteracy, loss of historical memory and obedience. Of course, you live very well. You are not obliged to follow the Christian commandment — love your neighbour (Venezuelan or Mexican people) as yourself. Tomorrow you may desire to convince us that Bush or Blair deserve the Nobel peace prize, senor Gustavo Cisneros — the prize in the field of economics, and you, I don't argue, in the field of literature. But do not forget that among other laureates of the prize there go your predecessors - Jorge Amado, Cesar Vallejo, Julio Cortazar and all those who died but did not sell, pawn their honour and their art in order to become imitators of businessmen».

To the credit of the Nobel prizes Committee, its members until late ignored the prize-winner ambitions of Llosa and Fuentes. Evidently, flinging mud at politicians, that do not fit into the scale of bourgeois values (and this is not only Chavez, but other «populists» as well - husband and wife Kirchner, Evo Morales, Correa) does not always guarantee rapid dividends.

By the way, there was a period in the activity of Chavez on the presidential post, when, after an attempted coup in April 2002, he did all his best to establish the constructive dialogue with opposition, put out the seemingly unsolvable inner conflicts, prevent the country from slipping down into the civil war. At that time there used to sound proposals to nominate Chavez for the Nobel peace prize. I wish they had nominated and given. At least to give a lesson of morality and ethics to writers that wage a new «cold war» on the continent.

(An extract from the book about Hugo Chavez, which is under preparation)