The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 71/No. 41      November 5, 2007

3rd Venezuela international book fair opens
CARACAS, Venezuela, October 22 The third Venezuela International Book Fair opened simultaneously October 3 in the states of Aragua, Carabobo, Falcón, and Zulia. It is now traveling throughout the country and will culminate here in Caracas November 9-18.

The theme of this year’s fair is “United States: A possible revolution.” Writers, journalists, and other literary figures from the United States who oppose Washington’s policies at home and abroad have been invited to participate in the cultural festival.

The participation by U.S. writers “occurs precisely at a time when millions of people in the United States are protesting to demand respect for human dignity, social justice, and an end to the violence at home and abroad,” according to the book fair’s official call. Fair organizers report that 24 presenters from the United States are scheduled to attend the event.

This year’s country of honor is Argentina. More than 120 writers from that South American nation are expected to participate in forums, poetry readings, and other events. Cuba is projected to have the third largest delegation of international participants, after the United States.

“Today more than ever in our country, the possibility has been opened for everyone to have access to books, and through this, people of modest means have the possibility of taking good literature with them,” said Francisco Contreras, mayor of Upata in the state of Guayana, to the daily Nueva Prensa of that state. Contreras was speaking at an October 14 book exposition in that town.

Fair organizers said one million books will be exhibited during the fair. A large number of them will be offered at subsidized prices as part of the Venezuelan government’s efforts to increase access to books and culture.

Since a literacy campaign was launched here in 2003, with the help of Cuban volunteer teachers, thousands of Venezuelan workers and peasants have learned to read and write. Today, free educational programs through university level are available. Some of those who graduated from the literacy campaign are now among the facilitators of the educational programs.

“This is a book fair of substance, a place for debate, it’s a stage for communities to meet with books,” said Ramón Medero, president of the National Book Center, which is organizing the fair.

U.S.-based Pathfinder Press will be participating in the Caracas leg of the fair in November. Mary-Alice Waters, president of the publishing house, is one of the invited guests and will be speaking as part of a four-day rolling panel titled, “United States: A possible revolution.”

Pathfinder will be presenting a number of titles at the fair, including The First and Second Declarations of Havana, Cuba and the Coming American Revolution, and Malcolm X Talks to Young People. The latter two will be presented jointly with the Venezuelan publisher Monte Avila, which is releasing Venezuelan editions of the two books.  
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