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Latin Americans Comment on Mario Vargas Llosa's Nobel Prize in Literature

“Mario Vargas Llosa” became a worldwide Twitter trending topic on October 7, as Latin Americans woke up to the news that the Peruvian author had received the Nobel Prize in Literature. The announcement was mostly welcomed as a triumph for Latin American literature and the Spanish language. Voice of America titled their article, “Peruvian Writer Says His Nobel is Tribute [to] Latin American Literature.” Latin Americans shared their different views on the announcement through blogs and Twitter.

In Mexico, Alfredo Guzman (@ideasdelmaza) thought it was an insult that Vargas Llosa had won the Nobel, and Humberto García Neri (@hacheoficial) tweeted:

¿Celebrar a Vargas Llosa? Mejor celebren a los Incas y la belleza de su pueblo. Perú es hermoso.

Celebrate Vargas Llosa? It would be better if you celebrate the Incas and the beauty of your people. Peru is beautiful.

On the other hand, Mexican writer Alberto Chimal (@albertochimal) said he was glad that Vargas Llosa had received the prize. Tryno Maldonado (@tryno), a writer from Oaxaca, Mexico, referred to another long-time candidate for the prize, 81-year-old Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes:

Sólo una persona en el mundo ambicionaba más ese premio. Carlos Fuentes debe estar retorciéndose en su tumba. Momento. ¿O sigue vivo?
Only one person in the world coveted that prize more. Carlos Fuentes must be turning in his grave. Wait a minute. Or is he still alive?

Mario Vargas Llosa. Photo by Flickr user Daniele Devoti, dadevoti, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license

As the day progressed, bloggers from all over Latin America began to publish posts dedicated to the Peruvian author.

Argentinean blogger Juan Carlos Lynch [es] says that he found out about the news through Twitter. He explains that he has a “direct relationship” with Mario Vargas Llosa's son Álvaro, and that as a result, he has crossed paths and exchanged greetings with the Nobel Laureate several times. Juan Carlos describes Mario Vargas Llosa as,

un gran señor. Un hombre alto, de pelo blanco, mirada muy profunda y gesto duro, que está siempre impecablemente vestido. Que inspira respeto. Pero esa imagen esconde a un gran ser humano. No sólo una persona de trato afable y un interesante sentido del humor, sino además un hombre de convicciones firmes, “familiero”, apasionado por todo lo que hace y, sobre todo, sumamente generoso.

a great man. A tall man with white hair, with a deep look and a serious countenance, who is always impeccably dressed. That inspires respect. But that image hides a great human being. Not only an affable person and one with an interesting sense of humor, but also a man of conviction, “a family man” passionate about everything he does and, above all, very generous.

Martha Colmenares [es], a Venezuelan writer and analyst, wrote on her blog:

Me da muchísima alegria el Premio Nobel de Literatura 2010 al escritor peruano Mario Vargas Llosa a quien tuve la oportunidad de conocer y entrevistar para mi libro “La otra Piel” junto a la escritora Norka Armand, hace unos años, y aparte de nuestra admiración por su obra, quedamos deslumbradas por su personalidad.

I am very happy about the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature for the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa who I had the opportunity to meet and interview for my book “Another Skin” together with writer Armand Norka, a few years ago, and apart from our admiration for his work, we were dazzled by his personality.

In the blog El Clavo en el Zapato [es], Fadrique Iglesias Mendizábal from Bolivia shared his personal experience with the work of Vargas Llosa:

Fue el primer autor que pude leer con atención en mi adolescencia. [...] Se cierra un ciclo de grandes escritores. Ahora quedan los nuevos, sus sucesores aunque es muy aventurado soltar nombres.

He was the first author I read carefully in my teens. [...] A cycle of great writers now comes to a close. Now the new writers are left, their successors, although it is very risky to drop names.

Fradrique then recommends two young Latin American authors from the Andean region: Daniel Alarcón and Rodrigo Hasbún.

Mario Cordero, from the blog Diario Paranoico [es] from Guatemala, explains that some of Vargas Llosa's critics who do not agree with his political views think he did not deserve the Nobel Prize:

Sí, Vargas Llosa es de derecha, políticamente hablando. Pero el Nobel no es un premio político (o al menos, no debería ser tomado como esto). Es un premio literario. [...] Entonces, habría que resaltar que Vargas Llosa es un excelente escritor, y su premio lo respalda con calidad literaria.

Yes, Vargas Llosa leans to the right, politically speaking. But the Nobel is not a political prize (or at least should not be taken as such). It is a literary prize. [...] So, it should be noted that Vargas Llosa is an excellent writer, and his award is backed up by literary quality.

He concludes,

Aprendamos esa lección: separemos al Vargas Llosa escritor, que merece el Nobel, y el Vargas Llosa político, que podría no simpatizar con todos.

Let's learn this lesson: let's separate Vargas Llosa the writer, who deserves the Nobel, from Vargas Llosa the politician, who might not be liked by everyone.

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