Anticipation greets opening day of 30th Havana book fair

By Jonathan Silberman
May 2, 2022
Volunteers setting up Pathfinder Press booth on eve of Havana International Book Fair.
Militant/Jonathan SilbermanVolunteers setting up Pathfinder Press booth on eve of Havana International Book Fair.

HAVANA — After a two-year hiatus, the 30th Havana International Book Fair opened here April 20. Organizers have overcome big challenges to ensure it can take place: the impact of COVID, the world capitalist crisis and Washington’s intensified economic sanctions. Despite a resulting paper shortage, dozens of new books have been published, and exhibitors from Cuba and around the world have stands. Mexico is the country of honor.

Book fair banners proudly announce, “To read is to grow.”

Presentations include a new title on Cuba’s internationalist volunteers during the COVID pandemic by Enrique Ubieta. His 2015 book Zona Roja, on Cuba’s aid to eliminating Ebola in Africa, was published by Cuba’s Casa Editora Abril in Spanish and French (Zone rouge,) and in 2019 by Pathfinder Press in Spanish and English (Red Zone.)

The book fair will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Cuban magazine Mujeres (Women), and award a literary prize to Norberto Codina, a poet and long-time editor of the cultural magazine La Gaceta de Cuba. Verde Olivo, publishing house of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, will mark the 61st anniversary of the Cuban people’s victory over the Washington-instigated invasion at Playa Girón.

Pathfinder Press — the only U.S.-based publisher present — has been at every Havana book fair since 1982. Staffing its stand are volunteers from Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom, as well as the Socialist Workers Party in the U.S. Pathfinder is presenting two new titles: Labor, Nature, and the Evolution of Humanity: The Long View of History by Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, George Novack and Mary-Alice Waters; and The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon, with a new introduction by SWP leader Dave Prince.

The book fair closes April 30, followed by three days of activities by working people organized by unions and other organizations in Cuba to mark May Day, international workers day. The Militant will feature regular reports from Havana.