On Thursday (12.9.2021), a group of French intellectuals expressed their refusal to accept the Peruvian Spaniard Mario Vargas Llosa in the French Language Academy, because of his political positions close to the far-right. In an exhibition published in the newspaper launchThe signatories expressed their “astonishment” at the inclusion of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature among a select group of “immortals”, who should include the French language. “This decision presents serious moral problems,” note the five intellectuals, who recall Vargas Llosa’s recent support for Chile’s far-right presidential candidate, José Antonio Caste, whom they described as “a nostalgic defender of Pinochet’s military dictatorship.” .
They also point to their support for the current president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, who “terminated the peace agreements signed in 2016” with FARC guerrillas and who solves the demonstrations with a “clean bullet.” The signatories also mention their support for presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori last April, who does not accept the election results and denies the legitimacy of the winner Pedro Castillo.
‘distorts the image of France in Latin America’
Fujimori’ is campaigning for the new president’s impeachment. Far-right groups are physically attacking center-left and center-right political figures. Some are calling for a coup. Vargas Llosa has played an active role in bringing this chaos to Peru by campaigning unreservedly on behalf of Keiko Fujimori, who presents it as the last obstacle to communism,” they wrote. Finally, they note that Vargas Llosa requested in 1995 to “bury the past” in Argentina, referring to the crimes committed by the dictatorship in that country.
Intellectuals point to his involvement in the so-called “Pandora’s Papers”, in which it was found that he had companies in tax havens to evade taxes. The signatories consider that his inclusion in the academy “tarnishes France’s image in Latin America, where his extremist positions are known and provoke strong rejection.”
Its entry among defenders of the language “threatens to legitimize positions that trample on the values of democracy that France wants to associate with, such as freedom of expression, acceptance of vote results, and the right to defend causes without risking the loss of voting life,” they add. The signatories are Professor Cesar Itter, Research Director of the Institute for Research in Development (IRD) Evelyn Meskler, University of Paris Professor Valérie Robin Azevedo, researcher Sylvie Tausig, and anthropologist Pablo del Valle.
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