The book makes the Vice and great Jilakata uncomfortable

The book makes the Vice and great Jilakata uncomfortable
The book makes the Vice and great Jilakata uncomfortable

International Book Day (April 23) was quite popular and made visible, not only by writers, journalists and publishers. Without a doubt, the book is a precious and loved asset. Contrary to what many proclaim that with social networks and the advancement of technology this is the end of the book as a physical product, but the opposite is happening.

But State authorities, mayors, and politicians also took advantage of the occasion to talk about the book, as if implying that they are constant readers of literature, political science, history, philosophy, and sociology. What we missed was observing Johnny Fernández, mayor of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, with a volume of The Divine Comedy and saying that he read from a very young age, when those around him know that he is reluctant to read.

The cherry on top of this important day were the “inspiring” revelations of the vice president of Bolivia, David Choquehuanca, who calls himself the great jilakata and with a poncho on his body, gave us this profound reflection: “We look at several novels, not read. “We don’t buy books, we buy a few boxes of beer,” said the vice president during an event for International Book Day.

He added, as if someone had counted, that in Bolivia young people do not read at all and that in France young people read four books a month. It is a tremendous statement to generalize the more than 4 million young people as ignorant or reluctant to read any text of their choice.

But it would be good if someone informed him or commented with that great jilakata, some data that year after year, three book fairs are recorded, the most important in the cities of the axis: in 2023 at the Santa Cruz International Book Fair, more attended Of 125,000 attendees, a large part of them left with one or two books under their arms, of course to read, not to use as toilet paper.

In 2023 at the FIL in La Paz more than 100,000 attendees, who, not in their entirety, but a large part, acquired their favorite books. These fairs are an important parameter that in Bolivia reading is an important part of people’s daily agendas.

Every year more than 100 titles are printed or edited in Bolivia, as efforts that publishers have been making in each department, despite the costs of paper, the rise in the dollar, taxes and competition from the internet and books. pirates, which also have a good sale, due to their low price, although they have poor quality. But a book is a book and you can leaf through it and read it.

Between the book fairs that are always anticipated, the printing of books by publishers and the sale of used and pirated books, there is a growing population that is eager to acquire their book and devour it, according to their agenda of activities, but what do they read? Without a doubt, they read through life, whether out of pleasure, obligation, training, culture and necessity.

But not only does Choquehuanca leave us with that reflection, which constituted a blow to the dignity and self-improvement that a large part of the young people have been facing to face the crisis at all levels in the Plurinational State, accusing them of not reading and of passing time with “boxes of beer”. Bad sir great Jilakata appreciation of him.

But this animosity he has towards books and reading is not recent. In his capacity as Chancellor of the Republic, David Choquehuanca, in 2006, left us this other little gem: “We have decided not to read any more books, in universities they teach us laws made by man, which do not take into account the Whole and “They have brought planet Earth into an imbalance.”

Well, you may wonder, dear reader, how does the second most important political authority of the State proclaim these atrocities, when in the world and in developed countries, they have invested in education and culture, strengthening their populations in spirit and mind? Be careful that no human being is programmed to read from the moment he learns the alphabet, it is a process and an impulse that must be cultivated from school and family, but if the Vice President comes out with these nonsense, then it scares away the most unwary and the flock to leave the book and go buy their “boxes of beer.”

Well, without going too far, Cuba, the country that this government admires, every year the Revolution prints millions of copies of books and distributes them in schools and universities and whose cost for foreigners is just $1 or 2, which I say from experience because years ago I was in Havana and I brought a suitcase full of books.

“We do not know if we are better or worse than those who did not learn to read, but we know that we are different,” says Joaquín Rodríguez, in his beautiful book “The Fury of Reading,” a book that I will send to the brother Vice President, who apparently When he looks through a book he gets uncomfortable and orders it to be put away.

And I leave you with this beautiful statement from the Chilean writer, Roberto Bolaño: “Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking with a friend, like exposing your ideas, like listening to the ideas of others, like listening to music. Yes, yes, like contemplating a landscape, like going for a walk through the square.”

Let’s prepare to participate in the Santa Cruz International Book Fair starting May 29!

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