Manfredo Kempff writes in El Diario:
Fear of books
This is a Government that has shown fear of books from the first day. H.E. [His Excellency] said, as a sly confidence, with all self-confidence, that he has never read a book, that his school were the streets and roads. And Foreign Minister Choquehuanca began taking celebrity (famous for the produced astonishment) when he said that there was no need to read books because in the Aymara culture, they read the wrinkles of the elderly’s faces. He said it so and repeats it every time. If this is an indigenous Government as stated by H.E., it would mean that we are governed by illiterate, which would not be so novel because some illiterates have already gone way exalted by our history but without staying so long in command. If that would had been like that, would Bolivia still exist?
It is said the man is afraid of the unknown and seems to be true. It worries him and cause him discomfort what escapes his knowledge because he feels humiliated and unsure. The man was afraid of him to the ocean, the winds, into space. Only once you know something, you stop being afraid; there is an ideal, a person, a flavor, music, art, reading. Otherwise, the unknown, is irritating, angers, frightens. For a large majority of the actors of the multinational Government books are then as dynamite, as bombs, like war grenades. Who is the bearer of books is a terrorist and who produces them, much more so.
Now we understand why the Vice President, supposedly with a library of 25,000 volumes, can continue to be one of the notables of the “change” and perpetual shadow of H.E., how does a man who reads dare speak to the people in times of the Pachacutec? Because he has hidden his array of books, so dangerous for the “pachamamista” [worshippers of mother earth] cause. The Vice only talks about rites and Andean mythological wiles, even if he doesn’t believe in that. Unfortunately, because of the democratic and cultural revolution has said some things that it is possible that will hunt him someday. Of Vargas Llosa, laureate writer who will visit us soon, he said [Vargas Llosa] was a “dinosaur” and that he would be living in a prehistoric stage. That could be neglected without hesitation to H.E. the Chancellor and the high nomenclature of the MAS, but not the Vice President. So, does he really think or is it out of fear of internal purges of the party?
It is for the above reasons the announced arrival in Bolivia of the Nobel Prize for literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, has shocked the ruling. Has traumatized him. The globally recognized and award-winning manufacturer of printed explosives, according to the MAS, will come to Santa Cruz, invited by a liberal conspiracy of the right. If Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, a Nobel Prize should learn much from that, much more than our brave miners say is surely at the heart of “social movements”. Hugo Chávez “brother” and “sister” Cristina Kirchner gone bad times by criticism of the Nobel Prize in their countries and because minefields left there by where illiterate (not only are in Bolivia) had to walk with feeling and fear. The minefields were books, ideas and experiences.
Those who have launched criticism of Vargas Llosa’s visit to Bolivia, have not read anything from him. One book, or a political or literary essay. We have heard them voice their opinion about the writer and we are left flabbergasted. Naturally there are intelligent masistas [people inside the MAS] that do know them but their opinion does not count. And better that those citizens remain silent because they can pass to the side of the “free-thinkers” [librepensantes], of the dissidents, and that will be their end. Then we heard a range of nonsense, so many that they are difficult to keep in mind. If H.E. or the Prime Minister or any other hierarch said that Vargas Llosa is sent by Sánchez Berzaín, the herd repeats it endlessly looking to shine in front of the head. If H.E. says that besides Sanchez de Lozada has gotten hand out there, acolytes [llunkus is brown-nosing] choir repeats it from A to Z. But if you were to conduct a poll on the official base of the Legislative Assembly about who is Vargas Llosa and what has he written, the results would be to not publish them from pure embarrassment.
The presence of whom has been at the forefront of one of the most important literary movements in America will never do harm to society. Never the democratic ideas of an intellectual world renowned person, may be rejected awkwardly in a nation where reigns the law and sanity. If as already stated we are in full space and next career to enter the nuclear age would be very regrettable that we were reluctant to culture and that we behaved like a savage. The “Social movements”, encouraged by the Government, will protest against the Nobel, but that will be the result of an unreasonable fear of books and opinions, which does well in a so-called system of freedoms. Lets not give an idea of intolerance and savagery to the world out there.