“To participate in the 15th Havana Book Fair is a debt and a privilege” stated Juan Ignacio Ramos, President of the Fundación Federico Engels, to Prensa Latina.
By Marta Cabrales
Santiago de Cuba, 3rd January 2005 (PL).- Juan Ignacio Ramos, President of the Foundation of Socialist Studies Frederick Engels, described as a privilege and a debt to the Cuban people the presence of the foundation at the 15th International Havana Book Fair, from 3rd to 13th February.
In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, Ramos reiterated that this decision is in opposition to the “reactionary and hypocritical” attitude of the Spanish Publishing Houses Association who refused to send an official representation to the event. Behind this decision there are “political and economic vested interests”.
He thanked the Cuban Book Chamber for the fraternal help offered to them in order to be present at the Fair and he voiced his conviction that it will be an enriching experience as it will allow them to enter in contact with the reality of the Island and with the colossal efforts of the revolution in cultural matters.
The Spanish intellectual described the long-term commitment of this independent organisation, since it was set up in 1987, to the ideas of socialism and internationalism, particularly in the current historical period when the attacks on revolutionary Marxism by the dominant capitalist ideology have become particularly venomous world-wide.
He pointed out that the Foundation has been working for 20 years to make newly available the Marxist classical texts and publish them in a situation where a large number of European left leaders had abandoned their ideas.
In Spain, he commented, the Foundation has become a point of reference for thousands of militant workers and youth who turn to Marxist literature and participate actively in politics. At present they have the largest amount of Marxist works in the country, with works by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and others, as well as the works by contemporary authors such as Ted Grant and Alan Woods.
Ramos stated that in his country the publishing houses are controlled by the big transnational companies who exert a huge ideological monopoly over cultural life. These big companies have systematically sabotaged the work of the Foundation and have denied it any publicity. In spite of this it has grown and managed to reach all corners of the country.
Its president emphasized that the Frederick Engels Foundation has always defended the Cuban revolution and its achievements, placing itself at the forefront against the imperialist blockade and aggression.
He reported that they will bring to the Fair the majority of the works on their book list: classic works of Marxism, contemporary authors and numerous editions of theoretical and historical texts on the labour movement and current revolutionary processes.
As part of the special attention paid to the development of the class struggle in Latin America, and particularly to the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, they will present works related to this particular field, Ramos specified.
Although this will be the official debut of the Foundation at the Havana Book Fair, they hope that their presence will have a good reception and that their participation will continue in future book fairs, with more literature and new works.
“With our presence we also want to transmit to Cuba and its revolution the militant support of tens of thousands of youth and workers in Spain, an internationalist solidarity which is the first obligation for any revolutionary,” reasserted Juan Ignacio Ramos.