Imagine the two foremost figures of Latin American letters having a conversation on the politics of the region, and you being able to listen. Well, that was the scene last night at 50 McCosh on the Princeton University campus.
Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa conversed with historian Enrique Krauze Kleinbort in front of a standing-room-only audience. The two gentlemen spoke about Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Cuba, among other countries. The Daily Princetonian reports,
“Latin America is improving. We have more democracy; we have large consensus on what kind of economic policies we need to develop and become modern and successfully fight poverty,” Vargas Llosa said, adding that the transformation of most Latin American nations in recent years has been formidable. “Poverty has diminished; in statistical terms, the poverty level is still large, but the way which the middle classes have been grown in the country is fantastic.”
Vargas Llosa cited Uruguay’s economic success as a model for the rest of Latin America. He said that the country has seen very liberal social reforms, including gay marriage and gay rights. “Not liberal in the American sense,” he added to the audience’s laughter.
More importantly, Vargas Llosa enumerated, Uruguay has respected its constitution, has independent strong institutions, observes the rule of law and welcomes foreign investment.
Krauze is not as optimistic on Mexico, pointing out the country’s recent lack of economic growth and the absence of a moderate left.
I had the pleasure of asking what the Pacific Alliance may mean for the hemisphere . Vargas Llosa said it will be the only alliance that will endure; Krauze pointed out “best yet, like the name says, it’s pacific”.
It was a splendid evening, bringing many insights from two of the greatest minds in the contemporary world.