El presidente cubano Miguel Díaz-Canel (2-i) participa junto a la ministra de Cultura de México, Alejandra Frausto (d), el escritor mexicano Paco Ignacio Taibo II (2-d), y el ministro cubano de Cultura, Alpidio Alonso (i), en la jornada inaugural de la trigésima Feria Internacional del Libro de La Habana (Cuba). Foto: Jorge Luis Baños/Efe/POOL.

Cuba opens International Book Fair with Mexico as guest of honor

The thirtieth edition of the Havana International Book Fair It was inaugurated this Wednesday after a two-year break due to the pandemic. The event occurred at its usual headquarters in the old San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress with the presence of representatives from 35 countries and Mexico as the guest of honor.

The largest book and literature festival in Cuba brings together more than 300 foreign guests, including writers, publishers, distributors, booksellers, artists and other specialists in the sector.

The opening ceremony -attended by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and other high-ranking government officials- began with songs by the mariachi of the Amalia Hernández Folkloric Ballet, part of the large Mexican artistic representation in the literary event.

At the head of this delegation, the Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, transmitted a message of solidarity from the president of her country, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and recalled that in a few days he is scheduled to make an official visit to the island.

Frausto Guerrero affirmed that the culture in Mexico and Cuba is at the center of both nations, which are joined by “yearnings, ideals, hopes, dignity, resistance and cultural diversity” and the “will to brotherhood” with a “frank, open and respectful of culture”.

He pointed out that the invitation to Mexico at the Havana Book Fair is a “unique opportunity” in which, as a result of joint work, a program of activities has been prepared in which artists such as the singer Eugenia León, the national company of theater and a group of child poets.


Mexico brings again the writer and historian Paco Ignacio Taibo II, director of the Mexican state publishing Fund for Economic Culture (FCE), who will open the Tuxpan bookstore in the El Vedado area.

He is accompanied by the playwright Jaime Chabaud, the editor Mario Alberto Nájera, the narrator Lina Zerón; the poet Kary Cerda; the writer Manuel Cuautle; the narrators Natalia Toledo, Gustavo Adolfo Ramírez, Francisco Hinojosa and Mario Bellatin, among other authors.

The novelist Hernán Rivera Letelier, and the writers Alejandro Terraza and Patricio Marcelo Rojas, come to this Fair from Chile, while the academician and writer Jaime Restrepo Cuartas comes from Colombia.

Two regular visitors to the island come to this edition that postponed the covid-19 pandemic: the Spanish-French journalist Ignacio Ramonet, and the Brazilian writer Frei Betto.


The president of the organizing committee of the Book Fair (FIL) and head of the Cuban Book Institute, Juan Rodríguez, declared the cultural event officially inaugurated, which he assured maintains its “massive, popular and inclusive character, and the cultural transcendence of always.”

Some 900 publishing novelties, more than 4,000 titles, four million copies of various subjects and 1,000 e-books (digital) is the planned offer for the commercialization of the appointment with books.

This time, before embarking on its tour of other provinces of the island with closure in Santiago de Cuba at the end of May, the Fair in its Havana version will visit neighborhoods and communities, Havana, to deliver donations of texts, carry out exchanges with authors and book sales, according to the announced program.

Mexico, ready to be the country guest of honor at the Havana Book Fair

The tributes of this edition will be dedicated to the Cuban intellectuals Alberto Prieto and Luis Álvarez, with national prizes for History, Criticism, Social Sciences and Humanities.

But also, the 120th anniversary of the birth of the national poet Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989), the centenaries of the also deceased poets Carilda Oliver Labra and Jesús Orta Ruiz, and the 140th anniversary of the first Cuban costumbrista novel, the “Cecilia Valdes”, by Cirilo Villaverde.

Raquel Martori/EFE

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