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PEN INTERNATIONAL

Volume 58, No. 2, Autumn/Winter 2008

Context: Latin America and the Caribbean Contexte: Amrique latine et Carabes Contexto: Amrica latina y el Caribe
The magazine of International PEN Le magazine de PEN International El peridico de PEN Internacional

CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN ABOUT PEN INTERNATIONAL

About PEN International


Published biannually, PEN International presents the work of contemporary writers from around the world in English, French and Spanish. Founded in 1950, it was relaunched in 2007 with the express goal of introducing the work of new and established writers to each other and to readers everywhere. Contributors have included Adonis, Margaret Atwood, Nawal El-Saadawi, Nadine Gordimer, Gnter Grass, Han Suyin, Chenjerai Hove, Alberto Manguel, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Moniro Ravanipour, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka and many others. PEN International is the magazine of the worldwide writers association, International PEN. For more information about our work, and for submission guidelines to the magazine, visit www.internationalpen.org.uk.

A propos de PEN International


Le magazine PEN International parat deux fois par an et prsente les uvres indites dcrivains contemporains en anglais, franais et espagnol. Fonde en 1950, le magazine a t relanc en 2007 sous la direction dun rdacteur avec un nouveau design, et les contributions dcrivains invits, avec lobjectif explicite de populariser les uvres dcrivains et de traducteurs, connus ou non, auprs de la communaut littraire et des lecteurs du monde entier. Au nombre des contributeurs, on peut relever Adonis, Margaret Atwood, Nawal El-Saadawi, Nadine Gordimer, Gnter Grass, Han Suyin, Chenjerai Hove, Alberto Manguel, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Moniro Ravanipour, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka et dautres. PEN International est le magazine de lassociation mondiale des crivains PEN International. Pour de plus amples informations de notre travail et des directives pour la rdaction des articles, veuillez visiter www.internationalpen.org.uk

Sobre PEN Internacional


La revista PEN Internacional est dirigida a un pblico global y presenta obras originales de escritores contemporneos de todo el mundo en ingls, francs, y espaol. Fundada en 1950, se realiz en 2007 un nuevo lanzamiento con el objetivo explcito de presentar el trabajo de escritores reconocidos y nuevos a los lectores de todas partes. sta presenta un nuevo diseo, cuenta con un editor especializado y escritores especiales invitados. Entre los contribuyentes de PEN Internacional se incluyen Adonis, Margaret Atwood, Nawal El-Saadawi, Gnter Grass, Han Suyin, Chenjerai Hove, Alberto Manguel, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Moniro Ravanipour, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, y muchos ms. La revista se publica bianualmente. PEN Internacional es la revista de PEN Internacional, la asociacin mundial de escritores. Para ms informacin sobre nuestro trabajo, y para pautas de envo para la revista, visite a www.internationalpen.org.uk

PEN INTERNATIONAL
Volume 58, No. 2, Autumn/Winter 2008 The magazine of International PEN Le magazine de PEN International La revista de PEN Internacional

Context: Latin America and the Caribbean Contexte: Amrique latine et Carabes Contexto: Amrica latina y el Caribe

CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN CONTENTS

Contents

4 5 6 11 12 13 17 20 21 22 26

EDITORS NOTE POEMA Lady Rojas-Trempe Otra primavera POEMA Invitado Especial Ernesto Cardenal Teora del lenguaje POEMA Nicolas Vergara Declaracin pblica POEMA Cecilia Balczar de Bucher Cuba ESSAy Milton Hatoum Arabescos Brasileiros ESSAy Jeff McMahon A Poor Mans Che CuENTA Concepcin Prado de Velsquez La posada POEMA Beatriz Valerio Yegua ExTRAIT Christophe Apprill Tango: Le couple, le bal et la scne BLOOMBERg FOuND IN TRANSLATION / DCOuVERT EN TRADuCTION / DESCuBIERTO EN TRADuCCIN ExCERPT Edith Velsquez Prado Una comedia no muy divina (A Not So Divine Comedy) Translated from the Spanish by the author with Witold Malec CuENTA Jack Waveney Boca abajo en la calle (Head Down in the Street) Traducido del ingls por Claudia Kay POEMA Julia Zurita Somos semejantes (Juk Runalla Kanchik) Traducido del Quechua por la autora CuENTA Marcela Rodrguez Loreto Mr. Smith STORy Niki Aguirre Two Percent

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN CONTENTS

40 43 44 46 50 53 55 58

ExTRAIT Jean-Claude Fignol Une heure pour lternit POEMA Hanneke Eggels Korsou CuENTA Luca Scosceria Rosas sobre el Ro de la Plata ExCERPT Bruno goulard The San Pedro Conundrum ExTRAIT Olivier Cachin Rap Stories : Entretien avec Lee Scratch Perry CuENTA Marisela Quintana El nuevo nombre de soledad CONTRIBuTORS AVISO

CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN EDITORS NOTE

Editors Note

Welcome to Context: Latin America and the Caribbean, the third issue in our series focusing on contemporary writing from various regions of the globe. It is with great bravado that we have attempted such a series at all, trying to capture, in ninety-odd pages per issue, the best and brightest of whole continents. It cant be done, of course, least of all for a region extending from the warm waters of the North Pacific to just above Antarctica in the South Atlantic, taking in a myriad of tiny islands as well as great swathes of jungle and desert but its gratifying just to try. Our special guest writers this issue are Patrick Chamoiseau of Martinique and Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua. The former offers a deeply personal take on the legacy of that exceptional cultural force Aim Csaire now sadly no longer with us and the latter, a poet-philosopher and one of the grand old men of Latin American literature, graces these pages with a new poem. Our Bloomberg-sponsored feature Found in Translation makes its second appearance as well, with new translations into English, Spanish, French and, felicitously, indigenous Bolivian Aymara and Quechua. Poets and short story writers abound in this issue, as do writers engaging with Latin American and Caribbean culture and history as it emanates from the region to all corners of the world, or is absorbed by the region from those same far-flung corners. Niki Aguirres story (Two Percent, page 57), set in the US, has characters wrestling with their Hispanic identity; Robert Harding of the UK (The Happy Arawak, page 30) searches for his roots and finds a decimated people; Milton Hatoum (Arabescos Brasileiros, page 19), on the other hand, secure in his Brazilian-ness, hears vibrant echoes of Lebanon from two generations away Thank you for reading. Well be back in the springtime with Heaven and Earth (see pages 27, 36 and 77), resuming the Context: series with Asia/Pacific next autumn our vastest region yet! Mitchell Albert, Editor mitchell.albert@internationalpen.org.uk

CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE LADY ROJAS-TREMPE

Lady Rojas-Trempe Otra primavera

En Lima resbala otro setiembre en botn. Tus ojos recorren todos los tallos mos los quebrados por la humedad de tanto Ocano los otros pequeos recios todava. Tu olfato se pasea en cada cuenca donde acunan ramas, nenfares, hongos. Ni una raz deja de danzar, de recoger el ritmo acelerado al contacto de tus garfios. La tierra se ondula toca la cofia del cielo. T y yo un solo temblor de hojas. En mi Lima limonera las primas como yo pierden la vera!

CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE ERNESTO CARDENAL

INVITADO ESPECIAL

Ernesto Cardenal Teora del lenguaje


bamos a ir en grupo y el telfono en mi cuarto del hotel: Estamos listos para salir Este milagro de hablar! 4 palabras Expresin perfecta dichas tan rpido y con qu facilidad Quin invent el lenguaje? Cmo se empez a hablar? Los lingistas no saben qu decir. Primero slo palabras sin conexin entre ellas. Algunas se pegan. Dos juntas: un sentido nuevo. Tres significan ms. Mujer fruta roja el orden tambin significando y ya hubo una gramtica sin ninguna elegancia todava. El lenguaje por qu tan complejo. Ms simple sera mejor? Con palabras sueltas y poco vocabulario sin sintaxis como el que habla mal una lengua M querer aguacate o broken English Palabras solas, aisladas sin a y sin y sin despus, sin por eso.

CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE ERNESTO CARDENAL

Pero, no, se escogi la complejidad del lenguaje estructura sintctica reglas y categoras gramaticales para evitar la ambigedad. Las palabras nos expresan Sintaxis es la relacin entre ellas Acelera la comunicacin. Lo malo es la ambigedad. A todo dimos nombre. Palabras sueltas fue primero. Nombres para lo real y lo imaginario. El nombrar nos hizo humanos. Los animales no nombran. Ni saben sus nombres. Circulan en una realidad confusa sin ideas y sin nombres. Sintaxis no haba hasta que hubo muchos nombres. Decir l o ella ahorra muchas palabras. La mente evolucion para captar la complejidad. Morfologa y sintaxis, lo que nos hizo humanos. Y as es que puedo escribir esto. Los genes de hablar mejor se heredan y sta fue la evolucin del lenguaje: Sintaxis ms y ms compleja para hablar mejor. Pasando de generacin en generacin el lenguaje. En medio de animales que no hablan. Estructura del cerebro y estructura del lenguaje los 2 grandes misterios. (ya hay lenguaje en el embrin). Okay. Pero aunque hay computadora en la cabecita de los pjaros nuestro cerebro, ms grande de lo que debiera es la mayor computadora del mundo.

CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE ERNESTO CARDENAL

Esta magia del lenguaje. Y que gusten las canciones aun sin entender la letra. El canto fue primero. La comunicacin genera imitacin y se imit el canto y de ah el lenguaje. El canto fue primero porque cantar es ms fcil. Sera arrullo materno? O canto de amor. De todos modos el amor cre el lenguaje. Ya? Parece que el primer lenguaje fue el canto. Como el canto de los pjaros y las ballenas? Los pjaros no cantan dice Robbins Burlin ni las ballenas. Les falta el golpe metronmico de la msica humana. No es msica si no tiene los golpes parejos sincronizada con la danza que a menudo acompaa. Acompaamos la msica con el pie y no el sonido de los mamferos o la prosa. En la msica palmeamos al unsono anticipando el momento en que los otros palmean. Y as la danza o la marcha militar. Ni aun los caballos de circo aprenden a mantener el paso en la carrera o el trote dice l. Total: los pjaros no cantan. Interesante lo de Jespersen: El amor inspir cantos y ste es el origen del lenguaje. La seleccin natural seleccion al mejor hablante y mejor oyente para ser jefes o conseguir pareja y as a travs de los milenios el lenguaje evolucion. Lenguaje que no est en nuestros genes sino que hay que aprenderlo.

CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE ERNESTO CARDENAL

Los nios pequeos lingistas. Lenguaje creado en millones de aos por seleccin natural. Pequeos cambios introducidos van de generacin en generacin hasta que es otro idioma y tambin argot o jerga. El lenguaje tambin por seleccin. Un primate extrao que platica! No somos chimpanc evolucionado pero algo similar evolucionado. Y as discutimos, bromeamos, rogamos, enamoramos y mentimos. Esto inverosmil que es hablar Palabras en frases y frases dentro de frases sujeto verbo predicado eones de evolucin del lenguaje y ya nacemos con gramtica. Nuestra ltima evolucin, la de la laringe la que nos hizo humanos. Tenemos un rgano del lenguaje parece. Charlar con t y pasteles ya no es de monos. Las sonrisas, los suspiros y los besos: palabras sin sintaxis. Hay especies con sonidos gowls howls un trino tierno entre las hojas el canto de las ranas bajo la luna y su eco comunicacin no simblica de los no humanos pero que no pueden hacer con sintaxis tan fcil para los nios! Humanidad es lenguaje.

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE ERNESTO CARDENAL

Diferencia a nuestra especie estar todo el tiempo platicando. Milagro del nombre hecho cosa. Un verdadero misterio: un sonido y una cosa. Nombres de las cosas por los conceptos de las cosas. La evolucin lingstica: La seleccin natural favorece a los que hablan ms claro o entienden mejor. Estos se reproducen ms. Genes del lenguaje (complejos genes) hablar y entender. El lenguaje hizo la mente o al revs? Para hablar hay que pensar y viceversa en otras palabras hablar es pensar pensar es hablar si no hablramos no pensramos. Slo nuestros ancestros lo lograron. Otros son aerodinmicos para volar o nadar. El hablar es tambin la mentira, la calumnia y la guerra (hablar y escribir) Imposible comunicarnos con otras especies pero podramos por radio-telescopio a travs del espacio con planetas de otros astros? Estamos listos para salir maravilloso invento si no no habra comunicacin entre nosotros ni con Dios.

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES NICOLAS VERGARA

Nicolas Vergara Declaracin pblica

Souvent, pour samuser, les hommes dquipage Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers Charles Baudelaire Durante aos el lenguaje ha buscado la extincin de la flora y fauna del planeta tierra de las metforas por ende. De esta forma, la palabra peces es solo una estrategia del lenguaje para enmascarar sus felonas pues sabemos que en el lenguaje es imposible la vida de un pez. Un verdadero pez es siempre un pescado en el lenguaje. Desde muy cabros a las cras humanas se les ha enfatizado acerca de esta diferencia -el pez vive en el agua, el pescado es un pez fuera del agua, muerto. Fuera del agua, los peces en el lenguaje son sin duda una artimaa de este ltimo las moscas, los elefantes y los canelos tambin han sido arrancados de su nicho ecolgico en el Zoolgico del lenguaje morirn de depresin de asfixia, de claustrofobia, de sustantivos. Los peces gordos jams entrarn en la red, no aparecern en google: su cardumen resplandece por las calles ms peludas contest el poeta anestsico.

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE CECILIA BALCZAR DE BUCHER

Hacer poesa para destruir el planeta hacer poesa para no destruir el planeta actualizar el problema, that is the question y con un poema hacer ciencias naturales. Encadenado a un puma hambriento el poeta es un ecologista extremo.

Cecilia Balczar de Bucher Cuba


Isla de visionarios y de nufragos Florecen los poemas en labios sin aliento Ingenieros sin mquinas capitanes sin brjula leyendo las estrellas en viejos astrolabios Un trgico almirante navega sin destino hacia el oscuro ponto Zozobra en alta mar Pan y amor clandestinos Un juglar en el atrio dice mitos antiguos sincrtica amalgama de Cristo y de Obatala A un nio triste principito famlico le dibujo un cordero medroso y tierno envuelto en la serpiente dorada del crepsculo

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MILTON HATOUM

Milton Hatoum Arabescos Brasileiros

At the beginning of the twentieth century, around the time of the rubber boom, my paternal grandfather Fadel travelled from Beirut to the state of Acre in the western Amazon, where he worked as a pedlar between the cities of Rio Branco and Xapuri. He was one of the first Lebanese immigrants to the country from my family. Eight years later, he returned to Beirut with words and images from the Amazon, which he transmitted to his children and relatives. They say he told Rocambolesque stories of shipwrecks, duels, floods, epidemics, hunting in the forest and fishing in secluded lakes; they also say that, on his deathbed, surrounded by a gang of children and a small crowd of relatives, he muttered the names of innumerable fish and animals from the Amazon. One episode narrated by my grandfather and recounted by my father contains tragicomic elements: before disembarking in Porto Acre, Fadel was surprised by gunfire. He jumped ship and swam to the bank, where he crept off in the direction of the forest. As he crouched down, protected by the vegetation, someone gave him a Winchester rifle and screamed: Long live the Acrean revolution! So he opened fire against the opposite side. Without knowing it, he was taking part in the last battle against the Bolivians, who were soon defeated, losing considerable territory. (Soon afterwards, in 1904, that part of the Bolivian territory was incorporated definitively into the Brazilian Federation.) If I had swum to the other bank, Fadel told my father, I could have been killed or captured, and my Brazilian adventure would have finished right there. My father grew up listening to these fabulous stories, and decided to immigrate to Acre. He came with a cousin before World War II, and when they passed through Manaus he married my mother, an Amazonian and daughter of Lebanese Christians. They met in the restaurant of the guesthouse owned by my greatgrandfather on my mothers side, Hana (Joo), whom I never knew. My mother used to say that he was an excellent cook, a Pantagruelian gourmand who mixed Arab and Amazonian dishes and went from table to table trying the customers food to check the seasoning. (Like a good businessman, this must have been his way of captivating his clientele.) Hana/Joo was originally from Batron, Lebanon, and settled in Manaus at the beginning of the twentieth century. His daughter, my grandmother Emily, married a Muslim, and this union of different religions (less common in Lebanon) was repeated with my parents. As such, the Bible and the Quran were the holy books of my childhood home. It was like this for half a century; thank God and my parents, no religion was imposed on me. The founding members of my family settled in Manaus, but I have various

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MILTON HATOUM

relatives scattered about Brazil. The wandering life, living in many places and belonging to more than one country, is the lot of immigrants. The first Arabs came to Brazil around 1880, when the Great Emigration Mahjar began, and evolved into the jaliya (a community of immigrants who were already settled), from which more than 10 million Brazilians today are descended. The reasons for Arab (Lebanese and Syrian) immigration were varied. Christians (Roman Catholics, Oriental Catholics and Orthodox) fled the Ottoman Empire, but I believe that the great majority emigrated in search of a better life. Few left their homes forever; few wanted to communicate in another language, knowing that their native tongue was restricted to a limited circle of relatives and friends in the community to which they belonged. In Latin America, Arab immigrants were (and still are) called Turks, because their passports were issued by the Ottoman Empire. I remember my grandmother, a practising Christian, saying to us: Me, a Turk? But my family fled from the Turks The older members of the family would tell stories of this escape, of long journeys and business activities along the rivers of the Amazon. Theirs were tales of adventure and risk, in which the desire to settle and prosper in the new country was almost imperative. My father and my maternal grandparents spoke Arabic, but my mother, being Brazilian, never spoke a single word of her parents language. Because of this, Arabic was, for me, a type of melody with familiar sounds, but distant. After a while, it became a jumble of sounds evoked in memory when the older relatives were dying. French was easier to learn, not only because it is a less difficult language but also because my grandmother Emily spoke it instead of Arabic, having studied at a French lyce in Beirut. My grandfather would chastise her: Why do you speak French with our grandson? Its the language of the colonizer. She would reply, with a perfect but affected Arabic accent: Daccord, mon vieux. This intersection of cultures and origins was crucial to my youth. In general, immigrants struggle to achieve a place in their chosen country. They work and save with the idea of returning, even if only temporarily, to their homeland. They live on the border between two languages, two cultures. A long sentence is spoken in Arabic, followed by another in precarious Portuguese, shorter, hesitant, imprecise. Nevertheless, the great majority end up putting down roots in this other country, and their children no longer maintain strong links with the country of their parents. Immigration thus implies a partial loss of origins, and assimilation to the new culture. This is reminiscent of what Octavio Paz has said about the Latin American condition: we are and are not Europeans; we speak a European language with a basic difference it is a transplanted language. Therefore, what are we? asks Paz. It is difficult to define what we are, but our works speak for us, even if it is a literature written in a transplanted tongue. Around 1994, when I was giving a talk in the US about my first novel, I saw a poster that referred to me as a Lebanese-Brazilian writer. I told our interlocutor at the panel discussion: That makes absolutely no sense in Brazil. Why not? he asked. Because, I replied, we do not consider ourselves to be Afro-Brazilians, ItaloBrazilians or Japanese-Brazilians. We dont make such distinctions, nor do we emphasize the origin or ethnicity of a social group in order to differentiate it. The dilution of origins is the basis for how Brazilian society is formed. Dilution

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MILTON HATOUM

means racial mixing, the assimilation of diverse cultures that are not ordered as a hierarchy, and that also means the rejection of a rigid and unchangeable identity. I attended the state schools of Manaus along with the children of native Amazonian Indians, blacks, Portuguese, Spanish, Germans, Moroccan Jews and others who populated the region where I was born. In Brazil, this type of coexistence seems to have been the rule, not the exception. I dont want to idealize or mystify race relations in Brazilian society. In fact, blacks and Indians remained on the social margins as well as millions of other Brazilians of various origins, and this indignity is part of our inheritance from our colonial past, and from the brutal inequality of the countrys long republican history. But it is worth emphasizing the coexistence of different ethnicities and origins in Brazil, even at the risk of appearing utopian. In any case, diverse ancestry and racial mixing are not attributes exclusive to Brazil or Latin America, but also form part of the European past. In Don Quixote, one of the monumental works of Western literature, Miguel de Cervantes attributes the original story to a wise Arab historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli. In the novel there are innumerable references to authors from Classical Antiquity and the Renaissance, but Cervantes understood the importance of Arab and Jewish cultures in Andaluca, without which Spain would have been much poorer. Truth be told, when speaking of Arab immigration to Latin America we should remember the presence in Spanish and Portuguese of vocabulary and linguistic expressions of Arabic origin, dating from the Age of Discovery. Spanish and Portuguese chroniclers were already using this vocabulary, which was incorporated into the transplanted languages Octavio Paz talks about. In contemporary European and Latin American literature, there are various significant examples of this heritage, the work of the Colombian Luis Fayad being just one. It is also enough to remember Gabriel Garca Mrquezs novella Crnica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), and some novels by the Colombian poet and writer lvaro Mutis, in which various characters are the children of this immigration. In Brazil, such characters also appear in several novels by Jorge Amado, and particularly in the last book he published during his lifetime, A descoberta da Amrica pelos Turcos (The Discovery of America by the Turks). Also in Brazilian literature, an extraordinary novella by Raduan Nassar, Lavoura arcaica (Ancient Plantation) or Amrik by Ana Miranda, amongst so many other books, evoke the presence of Arab immigrants. Alberto Mussa published O enigma de Qaf (The Riddle of Qaf), a novel with a historical perspective situated in the early epoch of Islam, which effortlessly weaves a Borgesian web of narrative. In contemporary Spain, some of Juan Goytisolos prose evokes North African culture, and in the magnificent novel Larva y otras noches de Babel (Larva: Midsummer Nights Babel), by the Galician Julin Rios, a whole chapter titled Algaravias (Alhambresque) is written with words of Arabic origin. Unfortunately, some intellectuals prefer to construct lazy and unfounded theories about the clash of civilizations, about the evil roots of Islamic or Asiatic societies and, more recently, about social and cultural dysfunction caused by Mexican and Hispanic immigrants to the white, puritan society of New England. This is a cynical assertion, if not to say racist, to come from someone who belongs to a country that, in its very essence, is formed by expatriates and immigrants.

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MILTON HATOUM

Purity and superiority are dangerous arguments in racist discourse; they are the ideological weapons of empires. As Edward Said pointed out in his essay The Clash of Definitions (from the book Reflections on Exile): So strong and insistent is [Samuel] Huntingtons notion that other civilizations necessarily clash with the West, and so relentlessly aggressive and chauvinistic is his prescription for what the West must do to continue winning, that we are forced to conclude that he is really most interested in continuing and expanding the Cold War by means other than advancing ideas about the current world scene or trying to reconcile different cultures. Goethe, the inventor of Weltliteratur (world literature), was also a reader of the Quran in his youth, and a reader of Arabic poetry as well as the poetry of the Persian Hafiz, the same poet mentioned by the Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira in Gazal em louvor a Hafiz (Ghazal in Praise of Hafiz). In one sense, writers, poets and readers are immigrants of the imaginary, because they also feed on the foreign imagination, from foreign lands, of foreign dreams, and of foreign linguistic and cultural landscapes. Like the immigrant, we can choose a new cultural heritage without, in the meantime, removing ourselves from our origins, which are always plural and diffuse. Do you know the country where the lemons flower? (Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blhn?), asks the lyrical I of Goethe in the poem Mignon (1872). I would like to evoke a fragment of a personal story. At the beginning of the 1990s, my first novel (Tale of a Certain Orient) was translated into various languages and published in seven countries, including France. It was the French translation that led to the publication of articles about my novel in the Lebanese press. Those newspapers crossed the ocean and arrived in the hands of my father, in Manaus, more than half a century after he left Lebanon for Brazil. One of the most moving memories that I have of my father is seeing him seated on the verandah of his house in Manaus, reading one of those articles published in the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar. I remember he invited the whole family to hear it, as though it were a solemn ceremony. It was the first time I saw him cry, without any ostentation: the silent tears of an inaudible pain. At that moment, seeing an elderly man who would one day be buried in a place far from his homeland, I thought of the pain of the immigrants, exiles and expatriates who returned with difficulty to their native lands to see relatives and friends again, or simply to contemplate the landscapes of their childhood, when all the others had already died. I thought that society, whichever it might be, owed something to these lost beings: men and women who, motivated by the will to live a less trying life, or by the insane desire to survive, or because they are tormented souls, choose another cultural homeland. Full of emotion, my father read the article in Arabic, his mother tongue, and translated it slowly into Portuguese, his adopted language. When he had finished the translation, he said: Its funny, I never thought I would return to Lebanon by means of a book written by my son. This essay first appeared in Alef Magazine, Issue 7, Summer 2008. Translated from the Portuguese by Rhian Atkin

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN JEFF McMAHON

Jeff McMahon A Poor Mans Che

Less than three years after the U.S. Cavalry massacred the Sioux at Wounded Knee, Chicagoans could safely observe Sioux encampments at the Worlds Columbian Exposition, and the science of ethnography was born. So goes the story, and so it will go with socialists. As soon as the last socialist dies which might happen soon in Cuba we will study them as curiosities, celebrate them as nostalgic objects, observe them through some modern version of a Columbian Exposition exhibit. It has already begun with Che Guevara: four years ago Gael Garca Bernal portrayed Ches formative years in The Motorycle Diaries, and soon we will be able to safely observe the revolutionary Che, played by Benicio Del Toro, in a 268-minute biopic by Steven Soderbergh. We can watch while wearing our Original Che Berets, on sale right now at the Che Store for only $24.99 $5.00 off the regular price. I will celebrate Che as much as the next subject of capital, but when I think of socialism I will not think of Che. I will think of Lozandro Polanco. To introduce Lozandro Polanco, to explain why he should be remembered, I must take you back to a hot, dusty, desperate dry season in Nicaragua in 1987, when the whole country ran out of beer. I should say more precisely that it ran out of bottles, which waiters watched the way cats watch goldfish. The ragged Sandinista economy had just enough bottles to deliver the peoples beer to the peoples bellies as long as it shipped the bottles straight back to the brewery to fill them up again. The waiters watchdogged this fragile economy, but they could not watch the bottlers, and when the bottlers took two days off to honor the Virgin during Purisima, the whole country ran out of beer. The drought stung all the more for the sublime quality of Nicaraguas two native brands, Toa lager and Victoria pilsner. A cold sip at the end of every hot, dry day broke sharply from the relentless tragedy that day had inevitably chronicled: the widows and orphans, the crippled veterans, the felled forests and shelled towns. With the dry season upon us, with the beer gone, you could feel the temperature rise. The few men who idled away hot afternoons in thatched outdoor bars sat in gloomy silence and stared blankly at the skinny dogs roaming Managuas dirt streets. The guards keeping watch at the Palacio Nacional then the vacant centerpiece of a ruined downtown barked at the boys playing stickball in the weedy plaza. There had always been soldiers in ill-fitting Cuban fatigues rushing to the front on the backs of flatbed trucks, but now they gripped their AK-47s with a new anxiety. They had left Managua without that final beer. Even the American reporters who crowded into the bar at the Hotel

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN JEFF McMAHON

Intercontinental (then Nicaraguas only multi-story building) seemed unusually tense during the beer drought, despite the hotels endless stocks of rum and cola. Their impatience leaked into the reports they filed on the deadly, dimwitted standoff between Ronald Reagan and the band of Ivy League-educated revolutionaries now running Nicaragua. It was in this parched atmosphere that I was dispatched one afternoon to a press conference called by Interior Minister Toms Borge at a new womens prison in Managua. The Sandinistas poured their pride into public institutions schools, clinics, prisons and it showed here. The inmates wore beige shirts and trousers with red collars and cuffs, like factory workers, and they bustled like workers, too, buzzing from workrooms to rec rooms across manicured lawns. There was no barbed wire atop the freshly painted walls. But it was within these walls that the cracks showed in Sandinista ideology. Already in 1987, Toms Borge was the last living founder of the Sandinista movement. Daniel Ortega and the nuevos Sandinistas who ran the country called him El General de la Revolucin. A stout, puggish man, Borge emerged into the courtyard smiling, the Sandinistas red and black scarf knotted around his neck, a woman under each arm. He sucked all the power out of the prison yard and into his swelling chest. There was no question who, in this crowd, was the general. Borge had been captured by the Somoza dictatorship in 1956, tortured and imprisoned for three years, nine months of which he spent with a black hood over his head. Somozas men raped and murdered his wife. When the Sandinistas seized power in 1979, he confronted his torturers in court. When he was allowed to choose their punishment, Borge famously said to them: My punishment is to forgive you. It was a good Catholic socialist revolution. Borge said a few words about this ideal new prison in the ideal new state, but the real story, subtler than the headlines, appeared when he finished his speech: workers wheeled two metal coolers into the yard, each the size of a small Soviet car, and opened the lids. Inside, nestled in an arctic sea of icewater, were hundreds of bottles of Victoria pilsner. Everyone drank slowly. It was like that in Nicaragua. In this poorest of nations, this most idealistic of revolutions everywhere showed signs of compromise. Sandinista leaders like Borge and Ortega lived in posh homes by Nicaraguan standards, captured from the fascists and capitalists they had deposed. Inside these homes one could find objects one found nowhere else in Nicaragua, like color televisions, teenage sons, beer. It was the socialist paradox: becoming one people and still taking a little plunder for yourself. The meager plunder of such revolutions will make a curious exhibit at the next Columbian Exposition. But there will be no artifacts belonging to Lozandro Polanco on display, for Lozandro Polanco owned nothing. I first wrote about Polanco soon after I met him and soon after I met Borge, when I traveled to a resettlement camp near the northern front. The camp had a new school and a new clinic, but had probably never known a single bottle of beer. I wrote about him again a decade later, and now, two decades later. His story is still with me. This is how I usually tell it: Lozandro Polanco paced the camps dirt streets cradling a Kalashnikov rifle in his right arm and cradling a granddaughter, barefoot and wet-nosed in a pink

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN JEFF McMAHON

dress, in his left. All the other men had left the camp in uniform and gone into the jungle, or into the earth. Even those too young to shave were old enough to march; but thin, toothless Polanco had too many years. So he remained among the women and babies, patrolling the streets in a drab olive uniform and cap. He kept the rifles banana clip wedged in the waistband of his trousers. He wore black rubber boots, the kind worn by people who clean fish. Polanco had lived in the border village of Comwapa until 1983, when Reagans Contras attacked. They killed his brother and five-month-old niece. They kidnapped his daughter and some of her children. Polanco trailed them into Honduras before returning to Nicaragua alone and settling in the camp. I would like to stay here and take care of what we have, he told me. Polanco led me on a tour of the camp, and then I followed him into his home, a shack assembled from sticks and palm fronds. The shadows inside were as dark and cool as the sun outside was bright and hot. Bare feet had polished the dirt floor smooth. Polanco owned nothing, nothing at all save for a clay stove, its belly full of gray ash, and a cloth pouch that hung from the ceiling. The pouch was wet, and a single drop of water fell from it when Polanco untied the strings that cinched it closed. His fingers slipped inside and pulled out two eggs. He handed them to us. They felt as cold as if they had been in a refrigerator. Take them for your journey, he said. Lozandro Polancos socialism was marked by two sentiments: I would like to stay here and take care of what we have, and here, take everything we have for your journey. The U.S. Cavalry massacred the Sioux at Wounded Knee to clear the Black Hills for farmers and miners, for American businessmen. Now the Cavalry has cleared all but the last of the socialists. Easily and often we remember the worst of them: Stalin and his purges, Pol Pot and his Killing Fields. But as we plunge into the blind night of unballasted capitalism, we should take for our journey some memento of socialisms immaterial best: Not just Che Guevaras original beret, not just Toms Borges forgiveness and beer, but Lozandro Polancos selflessness, his courageous generosity in radical poverty, his stone cold huevos. This essay first appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Contrary.

Coming in Spring 2009: Volume 59, No. 1: Heaven and Earth


PEN International will lead off in 2009 with an issue timed to coincide with Free the Word!, International PENs annual springtime festival of world literature in London. It will also share International PENs literary theme for 2009 and for the festival: Heaven and Earth. Many elements govern the relationship between Heaven and Earth, from the fantastical paradises created in our imaginations to the most material of concerns. Key concepts include, but are not limited to: faith and reason, hope and disillusionment, ideology and reality, the environment and politics, freedom and imprisonment. Pen International welcomes submissions exploring the idea of Heaven and Earth in poetry, short stories, essays, articles and excerpts from longer works.

DEADLINE: 16 FEBRuARy 2009. For full writing guidelines and details of how to submit visit www.internationalpen.org.uk

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE CONCEPCIN PRADO DE VELSQUEZ

Concepcin Prado de Velsquez La posada

Hace mucho tiempo una seora que viva en un pueblito se fue a la ciudad grande para empezar un pequeo negocio y abri una posada, tuvo la suerte de que toda la gente del pueblo que llegaba a la ciudad, se hospedaba en su pensin. En una oportunidad lleg un doctor que tena que hacer unas diligencias en esa importante ciudad. Despus de dormir la primera noche, se levant casi de madrugada y llam a su compaero de viaje que estaba durmiendo en el cuarto vecino y le pidi que se levantara para salir bien temprano. Despus que se baaron y desayunaron, salieron de la pensin y haban caminado unos kilmetros cuando un hombre que se desplazaba detrs de ellos se les acerc para preguntarles: Qu hora tienen los seores? El doctor se mir la mueca izquierda y replic: Caramba, dej el reloj en el bao de la pensin. Se disculp con el extrao y le dijo que no tena reloj. El hombre sigui su camino muy despacio, luego los sigui de lejos, pero cuando el doctor y su acompaante se le perdieron de vista, regres sobre sus pasos, fue a una bodega y compr un pavo, lleg a la pensin y le dijo a la seora duea: El doctor le mand este pavo para que le haga un sancocho y quiere que le mande su reloj que dej en el bao. La seora corri al bao, encontr el reloj, se lo entreg al desconocido hombre y se qued confundida con el pavo. El hombre se fue con el reloj. A las doce del da lleg el doctor con su amigo, la seora de la pensin sali a recibirlos, despus de preguntarles como les haba ido, le dijo al mdico: Doctor recib el pavo que me mand pero no le hice el sancocho porque a esa hora que lleg el hombre ya yo tena el almuerzo preparado, si usted quiere se lo preparo maana. El doctor levant la vista bruscamente para preguntarle que de qu pavo hablaba: El pavo que usted me mand cuando quiso que le enviara el reloj. El doctor se llev las manos a la cabeza: Seora, me robaron el reloj. Despus que pas el mal rato, el doctor se levant de su asiento y dijo que ira a la polica para denunciar el caso, le pregunt a la seora la direccin de la polica. Nerviosamente le relataba a su compaero lo que haba pasado. Un hombre que iba detrs de ellos, silencioso les pona atencin, este individuo luego corri a la pensin y le dijo a la seora: El doctor le manda a decir que ya encontraron el hombre que le rob su reloj y

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE BEATRIZ VALERIO

le manda a decir que por favor le enve el pavo. Gracias a Dios! exclam la buena seora, aunque estaba confundida del por qu el doctor quera que le enviara el pavo si l saba que ella pensaba prepararle un sancocho ese otro da. A las ocho de la noche regres el doctor y la seora lo felicit creyendo que ya haba encontrado el reloj. Dnde est seora? pregunt el doctor. Aqu lleg un hombre que vino a decirme que usted haba encontrado al ladrn y que le haban devuelto el reloj, y que el ladrn estaba detenido, y me dijo que Ud. Quera que le enviaran el pavo. As es que tambin se robaron el pavo? pregunt el doctor. Al da siguiente ya no quiso caminar ms por las calles de la gran ciudad, tom el avin bien temprano y se regres a su modesto pueblo, donde, pensaba l, no haba gente tan perversa.

Beatriz Valerio Yegua


a Emma de Cartosio Soy esa que mastica el tiempo en las pampas, soy esa en forma de mujer que se viene musa, y entre las doncellas, las indias guaranes, luna. No te engao, mi querida Emma, soy esa yegua, entrerriana que cabalga en las praderas, domada, con risa de costado, con labios heridos, muerta. Levanto mi galope al sol, a la tierra y vuelo, al viento en carrera infinita, eterna, audaz, y me vuelvo medusa, sin razn ni corazn. Soy la de la tristeza a cuestas, amor del ngel, no olvido mis races de potra salvaje, de charra, de nia entrerriana, de hija de tierra de Urquiza. Y s, soy esa yegua poeta, musa y medusa, de tierras de pampas, india de tierras de campo, de olores a tierra mojada, de caballos, de vientos.

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES CHRISTOPHE APPRILL

Christophe Apprill
Extrait du collection

Tango: Le couple, le bal et la scne


Tango gay Au rouleau compresseur de limaginaire htrosexuel rpond lextrme vigueur de limaginaire homosexuel. Parmi les petites mythologies qui imprgnent aussi bien les pratiquants que les nophytes, le tango qui se dansait entre hommes sur les trottoirs est systmatiquement cit ds quil sagit de prsenter une histoire du tango. Depuis le dbut des annes 2000, le dveloppement dune pratique homosexuelle est notable en Europe et en Amrique du Nord o se droulent plusieurs festivals de tango pour les femmes (San Francisco) et de tango queer (Toronto, Stockholm, Berlin, Hambourg). En Allemagne, cette pratique atteint des dimensions militantes et saccompagne dune rflexion sur la place du tango dans la culture queer. Plusieurs acteurs berlinois construisent un rseau de pratiques, cours, stages et bals en troite relation avec leurs homologues argentins, notamment Mariana Falcn et Roxana Gargano de La Marschall, qui ont organis en novembre 2007 le premier festival de tango queer de Buenos Aires. Le tango queer constitue un sujet apprci des journalistes : tous les ingrdients y sont runis pour composer un phnomne de socit . Lenvoye spciale du journal Le Monde 1 accorde ainsi une large place aux milongas homosexuelles de Buenos Aires, tandis que plusieurs reportages et missions clbrent les nuits gays de Buenos Aires, et notamment La Marschall, la premire milonga entirement gay. Cette mdiatisation fait des mules ; lassociation de tango gay friendly sest cre Paris en 2007 suite un reportage sur les nuits gays de Buenos Aires. La valorisation mdiatique du tango gay semble galement une faon indirecte de critiquer le fait que cette danse sorganise autour dune clbration rituelle et quasiment incontournable de lassignation sexue de rles strotyps. Macho et femme fatale, bas rsilles et cheveux gomins, enlacement et sensualit, limaginaire de cette danse agace autant quil fait rver, tout en dessinant une rpartition des rles qui, au-del de son caractre fig, prsente lattrait dtre une faon simple de sy retrouver. Tango gay ou queer ? Le terme queer renvoie des formes de militantisme et une rflexion plus gnrale sur la construction des genres et sur la critique de lhtrosexualit normative. Il est employ en Allemagne o les mouvements fministes, gays, lesbiens et transsexuels sont mieux structurs et influencs par les tudes sur la construction du genre (gender studies 2 ). Historiquement, le tango ne sest pas dans entre hommes pour des raisons explicitement lies lhomosexualit. Une srie de photographies publies en 1903 par la revue Caras y Caretas et largement reprises par la suite dans la plupart des ouvrages sur le tango accrditent cette ide. On peut voir, en effet,

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES CHRISTOPHE APPRILL

deux compadritos, coiffs de chapeaux mous et chausss de bottes, effectuer ensemble plusieurs cortes et quebradas sur le bord dun trottoir. Or ces photos sont lvidence mises en scne. Sur un autre clich, pris exactement au mme endroit et bien plus rarement publi, on observe que lun de ces deux hommes danse ensuite avec une femme. Le faible nombre de femmes parmi les immigrants est galement souvent voqu pour expliquer cette manire de danser entre hommes. Cependant, elle sest maintenue alors mme que les femmes taient devenues aussi nombreuses que les hommes. Ce phnomne a peu de chose voir avec lhomosexualit mais davantage avec les modalits de transmission.3 Avant le dveloppement de lenseignement acadmique dans les annes 1980, le tango tait lobjet dune transmission lintrieur du groupe. Lincorporation se faisait par imprgnation et mimtisme. Les hommes apprenaient entre eux, dans une autodidaxie masculine, tandis que les femmes se rfraient la tenue et la gestuelle de leurs pairs aperues au bal. Cest en situation seulement quelles ralisaient leurs premiers pas. Exposs tous les regards, les hommes se devaient dtre entrans avant de se lancer sur la piste. Il fallait assurer pour lassemble, mais il fallait galement entraner dans la danse une femme qui navait jamais dans. La danse tait lourde denjeux : elle servait la rencontre entre les sexes dont la finalit tait les fianailles puis le mariage. On mesure quel point dans ces contextes lallusion lhomosexualit se trouve dplace, moins de lenvisager comme un aspect refoul de la pratique. De nos jours, dans les situations de mixit normative des moments denseignement acadmiques, adopter le rle de la femme est un excellent moyen de prendre la mesure des perceptions reues par celle-ci et daffiner la qualit du guidage. Il est piquant de constater que beaucoup dhommes y sont mal laise. Le corps corps des hommes entre eux fait en revanche partie de lhistoire mythique des gauchos, mais il a pour terrain non pas la danse mais le combat au couteau, comme dans lpope de Martn Fierro. Gaucho enrl de force dans larme, envoy dans un fortin, il sert dabord dans la troupe qui a pour mission de contenir les incursions des Indiens. Aprs trois ans, il dserte et devient vagabond : Il se dcide alors tre un gaucho errant et hors-la-loi. [] La boisson le rend bagarreur. Dans une taverne, il insulte une femme, obligeant son compagnon, un Noir, se battre et, brutalement, il lassassine dans un duel au couteau. [] Enfin, je le rencontrai Je le soulevai avec mon couteau Et comme un sac dos Je le jetai contre une clture Il lana quelques coups de pied Et puis passa larme gauche. Je suis incapable doublier Lagonie de ce ngre. Sur ce, la ngresse vint, Les yeux comme des piments, Et la malheureuse se mit hurler comme une louve. Je voulus lui flanquer une rosse

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES CHRISTOPHE APPRILL

Pour voir si je la faisais taire, Mais je pus rflchir Que ctait mal en un tel moment, et par respect pour le dfunt Je minterdis de la chtier. Je nettoyai mon couteau dans lherbe, Je dtachai mon canasson, Je montai lentement et partis Au pas en descendant la combe.4 La solitude, la prsence du paysage sans description directe et les combats virils composent lambiance de cette posie gauchesca. Elle est assez proche de lunivers du tango, dans le sens o lerrance urbaine et nocturne dans les milongas peut rappeler celle des gauchos dans la pampa. De mme que la rfrence laffrontement imprgne la capoeira et le hip-hop, lcho de cette vie rude et bagarreuse compose la signature mythique du tango : Le tango, pourvoyeur de souvenir, nous forge Un pass presque vrai. Dans ce faubourg perdu Cest moi quon a trouv sur le sol tendu, Un couteau dans la main, un couteau dans la gorge.5 Du ct des femmes, les signes dhomosexualit proviennent du dficit chronique de partenaires masculins dans les bals, en raison soit dune diffrence numrique, soit dune disparit coutumire pour le got de la danse. Le manque de partenaires conduit les femmes danser entre elles, scne qui est devenue aprs la Seconde Guerre mondiale, au fur et mesure du dclin des danses de couple, lune des figures strotypes du bal. Nanmoins le tango constitue aussi un laboratoire dexploration du rle et de la place de lautre sexe. Les passages dun rle lautre se caractrisent par une dissymtrie entre les sexes : les femmes sont plus nombreuses que les hommes franchir le pas. Elles apprennent les pas de lhomme, elles font lhomme pour voir ce qui sy passe, ressentir le rle de lautre, tre de lautre ct . Les arguments selon lesquels elles deviennent actives, rompent avec lattente et sont curieuses dapprendre les pas de lhomme sont gnralement avancs en premier. Mais certaines avouent franchement leur dsir dexprimenter une relation homosexuelle qui se matrialise dans la danse, travers le jeu de rle et la confrontation corporelle. Mis part la problmatique dune diffusion du tango homosexuel qui correspond autant la banalisation de lhomosexualit quaux conqutes quil reste obtenir sur un plan juridique, les figurations de lhomosexualit dans le bal sont ingalement reues. Si nous laissons de ct les critiques purement ngatives, observons que deux hommes htrosexuels qui dansent ensemble ne le font pas comme deux femmes. En danse, les couples dhommes versent assez rapidement dans la drision, le manque de concentration et lexpressivit dune fabuleuse transgression. Ils semblent se rfugier dans la parodie. Tandis que les couples de femmes sont concentrs, appliqus, mobilisant autant dattention et de gravit que si elles se trouvaient face un homme.

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES CHRISTOPHE APPRILL

Au-del des proprits de la danse qui procurent des plaisirs propres lacte de danser, on distingue bien quil sagit de raliser autre chose que de danser, raison pour laquelle la terminologie de danse sociale ou danse de socit reste en vigueur. La relation lautre, en ce quelle est la fois typifie par une rpartition des rles sexus et par la concrtisation dun couple, apparat au centre du processus de ngociation et de rengociation des rles et des relations au sein du tango. Le changement dchelle induit par le terme danse de couple rend compte dune mutation contemporaine des conditions de pratique amateur qualifie aussi bien par laddiction que par la gnralisation de ce got qui traverse les gnrations. Car cette danse, comme dautres danses du mme genre, ralise dabord une mise en scne banalise dune relation dintimit, o chacun dfend sa place travers des attributions sexues. Que ces attributions soient interchangeables ne modifie en rien la nature de la scne : linteraction ritualise demeure au fondement de la ritualisation fonde sur une prise corporelle intangible, lenlacement. Le glissement terminologique exprime une volution interne des conditions de mise en scne. Hier, il sagissait par cette prise corporelle de se rencontrer. Aujourdhui, il est davantage question dexplorer plus avant les ressources dune intimit partage avec un nombre de partenaires non limit. (Autrement, 2008) 1. Legrand, Christine, La capitale de lArgentine veut aussi tre celle du tango , Le Monde, 20 juillet 2005. 2. Cf. Butler, Judith, Trouble dans le genre : Pour un fminisme de la subversion, Paris : La Dcouverte, 2005. 3. Cf. Apprill, Christophe, Dorier-Apprill, Elisabeth et Moreno, Federico Rodriguez, Des conventillos aux studios de danse , in Dorier-Apprill, Elisabeth (dir.) Danses latines : Le dsir des continents, Paris : Autrement, 2001, p. 20417. 4. Borges, Jorge Luis, Le Martn Fierro, Challes-les-Eaux : Curandera, 1985, p. 3536. 5. Borges, Jorge Luis, Oeuvre potique 19251965, Paris : Gallimard, 1970, p. 119.

A paratre au printemps 2009: Volume 59, No. 1: Le paradis et la terre


PEN International dbutera 2009 par une dition qui concidera avec Free the Word!, le festival annuel de littrature mondiale que PEN International organise chaque printemps Londres. La revue partagera galement le thme littraire de PEN International pour 2009 et du festival: Le paradis et la terre . De multiples lments gouvernent les relations entre le paradis et la terre, quil sagisse des paradis fantastiques qui surgissent de nos imaginations ou de proccupations beaucoup plus terre--terre. Les concepts cl incluent, sans sy limiter: la foi et la raison, lespoir et la dception, lidologie et la ralit, lenvironnement et la politique, la libert et lemprisonnement. Cest avec plaisir que PEN International recevra des soumissions explorant la notion de paradis et de terre dans des uvres potiques, des nouvelles, des essais, des articles et des extraits duvres littraires.

DATE LIMITE: 16 FVRIER 2009. Pour des directives pour la rdaction des articles, veuillez visiter www.internationalpen.org.uk

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FOUND IN TRANSLATION

FOuND IN TRANSLATION DESCuBIERTO EN TRADuCCIN DCOuVERT EN TRADuCTION


SPONSORED BY
Made possible with support from Bloomberg, Found in Translation will comprise at least one story, excerpt, poem or essay per issue, newly rendered from any source language into English, French or Spanish. The works will have either never before been published in these languages, or will have been previously published for a limited readership only.

Edith Velsquez Prado


Excerpt from the novel

Una comedia no muy divina (A Not So Divine Comedy)


Translated from the Spanish by the author with Witold Malec MacDonald took the opportunity to invite Don Juvenal to accompany him to la capital to experience for himself the meaning of the word progress, claiming it had arrived in the country and would soon reach Toporo. Don Juvenal good-naturedly accepted, and readied himself for the trip. Tall, tan, slim and attired in his best clothing, with healthy white teeth shining between generously proportioned, perpetually smiling lips, Don Juvenal projected a masculine quality of such allure as to rival any of the great movie heroes. His features were the well-balanced product of various races that had fused in him with inspired wisdom, in search of harmony of body and soul. He said goodbye to his wife, Doa Asuncin, and with cheerful anticipation joined MacDonald, now anxiously awaiting him at the wheel of his new, latest-model Chevrolet. During the drive, in an effort to justify the presence of his people in the village, MacDonald spoke of the numerous projects they had planned, of the technical advances and social reforms that would result from the discovery of the regions subterranean natural resources. With an air of great satisfaction, he confided to Don Juvenal that this was the beginning of a development that would evolve into prodigious change for the whole country in a very short

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FOUND IN TRANSLATION

period of time. He said that a great economic boom was at hand, and that any honest, hard-working citizen who would take advantage of this opportunity could greatly improve his personal situation, and further advised Don Juvenal to persuade the villagers to partake of this monumental opportunity. MacDonald explained that the countrys innumerable riches could provide the industrialized nations with the raw materials they required, much of which they already possessed under their own ground but held in reserve due to catastrophic shortages incurred by their involvement in the frequent wars of the modern era. He said they were hoping for the current war to end soon but the problem with wars was that one never knew when they would end; therefore, they needed the support of other nations. The resulting wealth, MacDonald assured Don Juvenal, if used wisely by the countrys leaders, would bring economic independence, and with industrial development and proper management, the country could reorganize and rise above the rank of what the civilized nations called the Third World. Don Juvenal, of laconic disposition regarding political matters, found the discussion somewhat entertaining but, more attracted by the natural beauty of the landscape, did not reciprocate MacDonalds enthusiasm. As they drove through parts of the country previously unknown to him, Don Juvenal would comment that in some places he noticed much dryness and that the trees, even with their deep roots, appeared afflicted with drought; that in the streets there were dogs without owners; that the children appeared malnourished and dirty, and that they didnt smile nor return his salutations. MacDonald smiled patiently, realising that Don Juvenal had not been much impressed by his dissertation. He inhaled deeply, looking at the surroundings with indifference, and surrendered to the pleasing caresses of warm air flowing in through the open windows. They arrived in la capital on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Although Don Juvenals gift of intuition allowed him instant familiarity with many things, MacDonald perceived a subtle uneasiness in his friend and noted his surprise at the sight of the mercury lights, the zooming of automobiles on the busy streets, the large neon signs and the people everywhere walking with determined, rapid gaits, never stopping to acknowledge or greet anyone. Entering the heart of the city, MacDonald decided to park so as to give Don Juvenal a chance to compose himself. He opened the car door and affectionately invited Don Juvenal to disembark so that he could satisfy his effervescent curiosity. Don Juvenals face briefly radiated delight. It was the first time he had ever been in the countrys largest, most complex, most populous city. He quietly let MacDonald lead the way. After completing their business at the bank, the two men took a walk down Main Street. MacDonald commented on the workmanship of the handicrafts displayed in the windows of the shops lining the large avenue. They admired the great variety of goods, each store exhibiting different merchandise from its neighbour: African jewellery, Persian rugs, crystal and mirrors from Austria, brocade from Madeira, Swiss watches and

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FOUND IN TRANSLATION

automobiles from the United States and England. Don Juvenal, still wearing his sympathetic smile but slightly overwhelmed by the noise and dynamism, walked at a slow and steady pace, contemplating his surroundings. A few blocks down, a window attracted his attention. He stopped, fascinated by a miniature train propelled by an electric motor, circling interminably over metal tracks, emitting a shrill whistle. MacDonald, pleased that his friend had found something that attracted his interest, took him gently by the arm and led him into the store, assuring him that he would find many more toys therein. Don Juvenal, in a festive mood, intently studied each toy on display. Eager to please his friend, MacDonald took the owner aside and asked him to wait patiently on Don Juvenal, to wrap up any toy that appealed to him. He assured the man he would be paid. He then stepped outside, glad to have an opportunity to stretch his legs and to loosen his neck and arms, which had cramped up from the long drive. After about an hour, he returned to the store and was amused to see Don Juvenal still engrossed. He enquired as to which toy he had selected, and was shocked to learn from the shopkeeper that Don Juvenal had bought every toy on display. The next day, they had to rent a small truck and driver to cart the huge pile of toys back to Toporo. Don Juvenal envisioned what each person would do with the toys he had bought: the old people would choose the small cars, which they would drag around with a string of alpaca; others would choose musical instruments. MacDonald observed Don Juvenals delight and joined his friend in visualising the scenes he described. Upon their arrival back at the village, a jubilant Don Juvenal jumped out of the car, ran to the truck and began to unload the toys excitedly, carrying them into his house by the armful. MacDonald paid the driver and dispatched him. People started to gather, eager to see the novelties Don Juvenal had brought back from la capital. He showed them the treasures one by one, giving each person the toy he thought best fitted his or her character. To his wife he gave the only doll, made of metal and outfitted with a red cotton dress; it had little wheels under its shoes, and a winding a key in its back caused it to roll forward, moving its arms back and forth. Rosalia chose a plush toy that she fondly held and caressed, fascinated by its resemblance to a real animal and by its well-combed hair. Senio took a miniature car and soon discovered the secret of winding its wheels by rubbing it against the floor and then releasing it to shoot across the room and crash against the first obstacle it encountered. The villagers celebrated each crash of the little car with an outburst of hearty laughter. News of the toys spread quickly, and Don Juvenals house was soon overrun by curious people and friends. Doa Asuncin asked the very old people to form a line so that the gifts could be distributed. As Don Juvenal had predicted, most of them picked out a miniature automobile and walked about the house pulling the cars behind them with an alpaca string. Others chose musical instruments and walked back to their houses, blowing their

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trumpets or light-heartedly tapping their drums; some went home with comic books. The middle-aged people enjoyed the delight of the old- timers, but did not get involved. Mara, Don Juvenals third daughter, did not show much interest in the toys. Her father filled her hammock with plush animals and comic books, but, smiling at his paternal good intentions, she removed them soon after he left the room and continued to study her precious books. She remained firm in her resolution not to be enticed by these banalities from the city. The commotion emanating from the next room troubled and agitated her. She donned her alpaca poncho and leather boots and, with a book under her arm, headed for the outskirts of town. It was difficult for anyone to know Maras mind; she wore an expression of placid indifference, kept to herself and seldom spoke. Her mother, however, was pleased with Maras passion for books. At times she would find her memorising dates and names, repeating them out loud, and suspected that her daughter had great aptitudes that would gain recognition in the outside world. Mara spoke very little about what was contained in the books, always trying to politely follow peoples conversations instead, but she suffered silently: no one could understand her sadness; no one could help her with the difficult passages in the books that she felt a need to understand; there was no one to discuss them with, no one curious about her books or about the history and systems of countries in the outside world. She had many unanswered questions in her head, and deeply lamented the fate of the books owner, who she sometimes saw in her dreams, wrapped in a cloudy aura, pointing with a finger to the inhabitants of the Earth. The villagers loved Mara because of her innate goodness. They admired her strange, beguiling looks, and treated her with special care, believing her disadvantaged in comparison to the rest of the community she had never shared its interests, and they perceived that her mind was preoccupied with questions that belonged to another plane of existence. They adored her as she was, without desiring to change her, and helped her whenever she needed their help. They were always pleased to see her return safely from her long pilgrimages in the jungle without even a scratch on her body. This time, however, no one noticed her departure, being feverishly drunk with the elixir of the toys. Silently, she left them behind and proceeded in the direction of her usual footpath into the nearby jungle. MacDonald had watched the spectacle with amusement, taking a chair with a leather seat by Don Juvenals side and looking particularly foreign. Doa Asuncin, tall, slim and energetic, approached MacDonald attentively and handed him a cup of coffee. He sipped it slowly, inhaling the pleasant aroma of the recently ground beans. Sitting there, observing visitors coming and going, he was suddenly consumed with curiosity about the gold jewellery he noticed some nearby women wearing. He immediately calculated its value, appraising its robust condition and high

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karat measurements, and deduced from the rough, rudimentary designs that it was made by hand. As soon as Don Juvenal had finished distributing the toys, MacDonald propelled himself towards him; in a near-whisper, he inquired as to who had made the jewellery. Don Juvenal, savouring his coffee, replied with a slight smile that he and some of his friends had crafted them. Repressing his excitement, MacDonald asked where he had gotten the gold; after an outburst of laughter, Don Juvenal replied that to the east of the village there was a river loaded with thousands of little yellow metal stones. MacDonald, still cloaking his exhilaration, asked if Don Juvenal could take him there, and with a wide smile Don Juvenal patted him on the back and promised him he would take him the very next day.

Jack Waveney Boca abajo en la calle (Head Down in the Street)


Traducido del ingls por Claudia Kay Sobre las piedras en que te derrites, corriendo, invierno abajo, tiempo abajo, mientras tu corazn desciende en gotas, vienes volando.

Pablo Neruda Alberto Rojas Jimnez viene volando

Pasendome por el distrito de Chapinero, un rea de costosas tiendas y pequeos restaurantes al centro de Bogot, me encuentro con un hombre de aproximadamente sesenta aos tendido en el andn y temblando; parece algn tipo de ataque. De pie, unas cuantas personas lo miran con preocupacin, dos mujeres y un hombre, pero cuando regreso por esa misma calle una hora despus, el tembloroso hombre an permanece all y la gente se ha ido. Camino lentamente por su lado, pensando qu podra hacer. Si lo llevo al hospital (pero ningn taxista lo aceptara como pasajero), el hospital lo rechazara. Tiene seguro de vida? Me temo que no. Bueno, en ese caso Barba gris, rostro gris, indiferente a la brillante maana soleada, indiferente a todo de hecho, temblando sobre el andn, boca abajo. Si recogieras a toda la gente que ves tendida en las canales de Bogot, no haras nada ms con tu vida. (Quizs no deberas hacer nada ms con tu vida). Aqu, la gente se deja caer como animales, muere frente a ti, sufre ataques,

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se arrastra. Anoche, camino a la casa donde me hospedo, pas por un bus parqueado en el sardinel. Sus pasajeros se encontraban reunidos alrededor de un hombre tendido en la va, obviamente muerto. As que sta cuenta como la segunda muerte o persona moribunda que he visto en las calles bogotanas durante las ltimas doce horas. Sin seal de la polica en ninguna de las dos ocasiones. Aqu, no existe un normal funcionamiento de la polica; slo se usa para una cosa: vigilancia urbana. Contino caminando lentamente, resignado a no hacer nada. Cuando trabajaba en la Simon Community en los aos sesenta, una vez llev a un hombre, cuya cabeza sangraba profusamente, a uno de los hospitales de Londres y se negaron a atenderlo. Ni siquiera nos dejaron entrar a la sala de espera, porque la sangre estaba volviendo la alfombra un desastre. Era un bebedor de alcohol azul. Hasta ese momento, haba pensado que para eso eran los hospitales, para limpiar la sangre, pero, aparentemente, no. Y yo era joven y desaliado, y l era viejo y desaliado, as que no tenamos oportunidad. Pasar esto ahora en Londres? Todava se rechazar a la gente en los hospitales por ser desaliada, o por tener mal olor, o por estar sangrando? Probablemente, muri en el andn de algn lugar, mi hombre de Londres, justo como el hombre de Bogot lo debe estar haciendo ahora. Aqu, no ves a mucha gente caminar con audfonos pegados a sus odos. Debes estar alerta a lo que sucede a tu alrededor, no puedes desconectarte ni por un solo instante; porque si lo haces, vern que ests desconectado, que casi no ests viviendo tu vida en ese momento. Tienes que mantener los ojos abiertos al mundo todo el tiempo, al mundo frente a ti, al de los lados y al de tus espaldas tambin. As, el solo caminar por la calle se vuelve una afirmacin: este soy yo. Te acostumbras a ello y significa que algo extrao sucede. El mundo que normalmente solo tiene lugar en tu cabeza se convierte en el mundo en el que caminas. Tu cabeza se convierte en el mundo. Por una vez, te das cuenta de que ests totalmente consciente. Porque si no lo ests, bien podras unirte al hombre tendido boca abajo en el andn, al hombre tembloroso. Como un animal al que se le va la vista, o al que se le va el sentido del olfato o la velocidad, que ya no es parte de la manada y, de repente, la muerte est all, esperndolo. Aqu, no se ven muchos ancianos en la calle. Es un lugar cruel, Colombia. Tiene una gran vida y espritu y nunca se apaga, ni por un minuto. Como una rueda loca que se sale de un camin, rodando loma abajo, atrapando la luz. Tiene que mantenerse rodando, tiene que rodar hasta las ltimas. Porque cuando deje de rodar, ese ser el fin. La muerte espera. As que sala. Usa todo. sala completamente. sala hasta el da en que caigas, como el hombre atropellado por el bus, como el hombre tembloroso. sala y sala hasta que, en palabras de Neruda, vengas volando. S el ojo de todo, como si hubieras hallado el ojo que vigila el mundo entero, s el odo que escucha todo. Trabaja y trabaja y sala hasta que desfallezcas. No despilfarres nada, dale uso a todo, en especial a la gente y al transporte. Los carros marchan a lo largo de su vida natural y ms all incluso. Los camiones pasan como un rayo a cien kilmetros por hora, sus parachoques atados a

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la oxidada carrocera con pedazos de cuerda. Aqu, no hay ni beneficio a la seguridad social, ni beneficio por invalidez o por enfermedad, nada. La gente con asombrosas deformidades cojea y se arrastra hacia ti. Otro mendigo!, dices en tus adentros, pero no. Es ms probable que la mano que se levanta del andn est tratando de venderte algo - un bolgrafo que est casi usado, una cajita de fsforos con tan slo unos pocos en su interior, cualquier cosa. Cualquier cosa para mantener la rueda girando, aunque despacio. Porque cuando deja de girar, ests muerto.

Julia Zurita Somos semejantes (Juk Runalla Kanchik)


Traducido del Quechua por la autora

Dios puso en este mundo un hombre y una mujer y a sus pies el puso Todo lo que se ve. Pasaron los das los aos tambin, los hombres se multiplicaron Y por todas partes caminaron. Para esconderse del frio entre os cerros vivieron para esconderse del calor entraron a los bosques. En todas partes hay hombres nos multiplicamos bastante, hablamos muchas lenguas, todos vivimos, Todos amamos, todos sentimos. Si ese Dios hoy viera cuanto sufren nuestros hermanos remojando con su llanto otra vez en barro nos convirtiera Para enterrar la maldad.

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Marcela Rodrguez Loreto Mr. Smith

Con un arpn explosivo reventado en el estmago fue hallado Septimus Smith, oriundo de New Jersey, dentro de la caravana estacionada en Braya Seashore HideA-Way Trailer Park de esta pennsula. Escrito con plumn se lee en la alacena: No hay crimen. No hay muerte. Los pjaros cantan en griego. El mundo clama, suicdate, suicdate. Smith, treinta y ocho aos, se haba contratado en una flota ballenera. Poco ms agrega la informacin, perdida entre otras breves de Newfoundland. Hacia finales del invierno anterior lleg a Labrador para unirse a nuestra cuadrilla. Trajo a su chica y un perro al que llamaban perro scate de aqu o perro ven, quin te quiere, eh, al tiempo que se deshacan en mimos con el animal. La primera vez que me invit, apenas llegar, sac un envoltorio de entre la mochila y lo arroj al perro a la entrada de la casa rodante. Una hermosa mujer abrazada al costalillo de croquetas dijo algo as como caducar el alimento si lo acostumbras a esa grasa y a esos pellejos. Pareca menor que l y la clase de mujer que no esperara encontrar viviendo en una caravana. Tena porte distinguido, ademanes casi afectados, usaba un tono de voz y unas palabras que nosotros, quiero decir, los que vamos tras atn, salmn, bacalao y eso, no solemos usar ni escuchar. Smith y yo habamos bajado del campamento despus de das acantonados a -0 C debido a la temporada de cras de foca. Necesitbamos beber aguardiente a gusto y buscar calor de hogar dijo l. Ella se recost en uno de los asientos laterales dejndonos el otro; entre los asientos mediaba una mesa donde Smith fue colocando tres vasos, cubiertos de plstico, comida fra y quiz vieja en cajas de unisel. Ella lo miraba como hacen las mujeres enamoradas, con ese brillo en los ojos y el asomo de una sonrisa. Cuando repar en mi propio embeleso mir hacia afuera desempaando la ventanilla, me sent obligado a quitarle los ojos de encima y repar en una de las fotografas pegadas a la alacena. Envuelto por la luz de sol cobriza estaba l con ropa de combate frente a casuchas medio derruidas color arena, al pie de una montaa desrtica; es veterano de guerra, la escuch decir con orgullo, y no pude sino mirar con cierto asombro a mi compaero. La primavera entr en forma y ciertas cras podan ser cazadas con arma. l prefera subir al barco, disparar desde all. Deberas venir, es menos agotador que aporrear y ms entretenido que tiro al blanco porque el motor est en marcha. Lo acompa en una ocasin por divertimento; si la piel lleva ms de un agujero nos descuentan un par de dlares. Pero Smith me haca rer, deca cosas, he perdido de vista al enemigo; entr en contacto con el enemigo; puse distancia entre el enemigo; lo deca riendo y apuntando. Sin importar las veces que bebimos en su caravana y los momentos que cruzamos en el campamento puedo decir que no lo conoc.

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Un da sucedi que en adelante no lo dejaron subir al barco. Estuvo callado. No busqu conversacin. Todava no conozco al tipo que hable de sus tropiezos sin que se avergence o le piquen las pelotas, o las dos cosas. Hey, Smith! A tu nariz le sent mal colocarse, je? Se burl uno de los compaeros. No intentes joderme lo mir Smith alzando el dedillo. Un hilo rojo escurri a su mentn y cay confundindose con la sangre del cachorro de foca. Recogi nieve limpia y la puso en la nariz. Sigui con lo suyo. No esper que el cachorro quedara inconsciente para arrancarle la piel; los ojos de la cra an respondan llorosos. Tras la jornada me invit a beber en su caravana; continuaba hurao pero la sola idea de ver a su mujer me hizo decir vamos pues. Repiti lo del envoltorio de grasa y pellejos que robaba de las cras para darlo al perro. La mujer no se asom. Tuvo que ir a St. Johns, dijo adivinndome el pensamiento. Comenzamos a beber sin ganas. Fue bajando la guardia hasta ponerse boca floja (Un amor perverso Pero hay un dios! Nadie mata por odio!) y el sueo lo tirara. Antes de salir ech un ltimo vistazo al rededor. Era una caravana equipada de lujo con el mobiliario revestido de madera. La fotografa del soldado Smith haba sido retirada. Regres a casa borracho. Mi esposa me esperaba dando gritos. Pocas veces decido golpearla: Cllate! Toma esto, mujer! Pero la consol montndola rico, imaginando a la mujer de Smith todo el tiempo. Cuando despert tena en mente la palabra capricho. En el cuerpo una laxitud de nervios dolidos. Consider mi deber alertar al supervisor del estatus del marine Smith. El supervisor no es un tipo duro. Muchacho, lo llam dndole una palmadita en la espalda, no preguntes, creo no te gustara saberlo. La cosa es, tu trabajo con nosotros acaba hoy, haz tu jornada normal y psate a caja despus. Eso es todo, y le dio la mano. Desertor de mierda!, mascull cuando lo tuvo lejos. Despus Smith desacat la regla las madres no sern tocadas. Aporre a diestra y siniestra enloquecido. Anda hasta arriba, arrnquenle primero la porra, Cuidado con pisar las cras! Los gritos parecan quebrar el hielo como hace la porra con pico que solemos usar. Conseguimos someterlo entre la cuadrilla. Me pidi lo acompaara por su mochila; como yo mismo prepar el envoltorio para el perro, me pareci ver que me dirigi una tierna mirada. Fuimos a caja, y ah la seorita dijo que tena prohibido entregarle la paga. Camino a la puerta del campamento pregunt cabizbajo si saba de otro empleo. Quizs en Isla Prncipe Eduardo, respond creyendo hacerle un bien, podras embarcarte en un ballenero pirata, no esperan que se levante la veda, navegan con banderas de conveniencia. Uno tropieza y le cae encima la naturaleza humana, interrumpi, el supervisor le cae encima a uno. Slo debes dar en el blanco, conclu. Se torn: Vive la libert, gru cerrando el puo sin entusiasmo. No lo volvera a ver jams. Esper largo rato mirando su silueta con el overol anaranjado contra la nieve de un azul muy bajo.

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Niki Aguirre Two Percent

You know were two percent, right? says my niece Tatiana, when she comes to visit me for the summer. What? I say. Two percent, she repeats slowly, as if talking about low-fat milk. Were two percent black, Auntie Gina. She snaps her gum at me. Tatiana is my sisters daughter. Just turned fifteen and already a stunner: tall and slim with long legs and an exquisite cinnamon complexion a beauty when not sneering and rolling her eyes. She has been sent to me by her distraught mother in an attempt to distance her from the unwanted attention of lazy hoodlum boys who have started hanging out near the McDonalds where Tatiana works twice a week. The boys ride sardinelike six or seven to a car, my sister tells me. They circle the parking lot waiting for Tatiana to emerge, scoffing French fries and milkshakes, hungry wolves stalking their prey. When she finally exits, they trail her slowly, bestowing compliments like soft kisses. They offer rides, beg for her number, ask if she needs a boyfriend. When all of that fails, they hurl insults: Oye chica, you aint nuthin but a skank tease. Ghetto rats, my sister calls them, even though the term is somewhat inaccurate, living as they do in the suburbs. At least Tati tells you whats going on, I say to Carmen. I dont care about that. Shes too young to be chased by boys, snaps her mother. You dont have children of your own, Gina. Theres a lot of peer pressure. It isnt like when we were kids. She doesnt mean it the way it comes out, but the words still sting. My sister and I used to be close. But being a mother has made her serious and judgemental. She has no time for anyone who hasnt been in her shoes. Im taking Tati shopping and then a movie, I say. Not one with too much sex and nudity, I hope? Carmen, I may not have kids, but that doesnt make me an irresponsible adult. After the movie we sit in my kitchen slicing tomatoes for our midnight snack. So, you interested in anyone at school? I ask Tatiana. I dunno, she shrugs, hopping onto the counter. Theres this one guy. Hes all right, I guess. But were just friends. I had a lot of friends at your age. Yeah, my mom told me. Be hes an actual friend, Auntie Gina. She bites into her sandwich. I dont think he knows I like him. Plus, hes got a girl already. I run a thousand things through my head, wondering what advice, what

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suggestions I can offer. Not bullshit affirmation-in-the mirror kinds of things, but true learned nuggets, cultivated from years of embarrassing first-hand experiences. Instead, I tell her a story. Shortly after you were born, I found your mother crying in front of your bassinet. Oh my God, whats wrong? I asked, scared something had happened to you. Tell me the truth, Gina. Does the baby have all her fingers? The nurses put these little gloves on her. I think theyre hiding something. I wanted to laugh or tease her, tell her you had an extra toe or something, but she looked so worried. I took off the gloves and together we counted your fingers and toes. Tati laughs. I guess Mom was fussing about me even then. Yeah, I said, but shes done a great job raising you. She gives me a lopsided smile and for a moment she looks exactly like Carmen did at her age. Despite living in the shadow of her mothers paranoia, Tatiana is refreshingly laid-back. She attends a city school, a subject of much friction between mother and daughter. She likes the people there, she tells me. Theyre for real, not fakes. She doesnt want to transfer to the school her mom is pushing. I bet they dont have any Latinos there. Tatiana, whose father is of German descent and whose surname is Mueller, has never visited a Spanish-speaking country, doesnt speak a word of the language and has never expressed interest in her Latin American heritage. Shes about as Latino as that ad for tortilla chips featuring a pretty seorita in a flamenco dress, shaking her hips to salsa music while her partner in a mariachi hat and Cuban accordion sleeves attempts to disembowel her with his knee. As the advert pans out, the happy couple dances off into the sunset doing a complicated made-fortelevision version of the lambada. Hot, hot, hot, screams the jingle, spicy corn tortilla chips apparently synonymous with writhing fiery passions. Not to mention Im two percent, adds Tatiana. Whats with all this percentage business anyway? Youre not a recipe for margaritas. A person is more than a sum of all her parts, I say in my wise, grownup voice. See, at school theyre always going on about DNA and molecules and stuff. You may not think it, but we all break down into something, Auntie Gina. Into tiny parts no one ever sees. She opens up her wallet and shows me pictures of her friends. There are so many, Im surprised the slender wallet can contain them all. My best friend Alicia, shes a quarter Thai and thirty-nine percent Brazilian, Tatiana says. Ana is Irish, Puerto Rican and Cherokee. My boy Armando, his father is from Afghanistan, his mother was born in Honduras. Before he moved here, he used to live in Chile. What does that make him? I ask boiling water for our tea. What do you mean, she says defensively, hes American. She rolls her eyes at me as if Im crazy. When I was a kid, having a different ethnic background was considered weird. By the time I went to university it was exotic. Now having a multicultural pedigree seemed de rigueur. I wondered if Tati and her friends understood the role that marketing played in this changing trend heritage as apparently easy to fabricate in the lab as synthetic chillies and spices. Now everyone can be thirty-five parts

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clever cool corn chip ad if they wanted. What difference does it make if you are forty-eight percent or two percent anything? Genetic statistics arent something you flash around like the gold card your mother gave you. There is more to you than numbers. Like culture and language and experience. Tatiana shoves all the photos back in her purse without looking at me. She knows Im upset but doesnt ask why. I find out later that Aunt Moira is behind the percentages. Every family has at least one loudmouthed person who nominates themselves as the custodian of rumours and gossip. In ours, it was my mothers sister. A package holiday in Bahrain turned into an excursion at an emirs harem. Another time she worked as an Italian translator for the 1984 Olympics, besotting the swim team with her knowledge of Italian verse. But you dont even speak Italian, Auntie, I said. Never mind. I recited the great poems of Dante and Decamerone. Dont you mean Boccaccio? Ay, Gina, poetry transcends all language. I phone my mother. I recall Moira saying she was working on a family tree. But you know my sister; she probably gave it up after a few days. I dont know why shes wasting her time. Why bother digging up kooky old ancestors? It isnt as if they can tell us something we dont know. I mean really, what good would it do, Gina? My mother baffles me. Unlike most people, she has no interest in her familys past. We are all islands unto ourselves, she says cheerfully. Thats why we moved around a lot when you were kids. Plants have roots, we had wanderlust. Yes, but you inherited it from someone, right? An exploring grandfather or an adventurous grandmother? Darling, it does no good to attribute rogue behaviour to genetics. When I lived in Panama, I had countless cousins and nothing in common with any of them. It wasnt until I moved here that I felt understood. We must take responsibility for ourselves and not pass the blame to random ancestors. The next day when Tatiana wakes up, she finds me making a family tree. I think this is a perfect project for both of us. What do you think? She loves it. She runs to get her markers and pencils and busies herself drawing the tree. Youre pretty good, I say, admiring her realistic leaves and branches. Thanks. Mom thinks I should major in Business or something. She adds a few more fancy curlicues. I wonder if anyone in our family was artistic. Im not. I cant draw a stickman without making him lopsided. I tell her my theory about how people are like computers, with random bits of programming encoded into us. Some things we recognise: your dads eyes, or your grandmothers nose; but most of your composition is a mystery. For example, why are you so laid-back? You didnt get that from your mom. I got that from you, Auntie Gina, she says, teasing. Later, we log on to Ancestry.com. It spits out a long line of possible relations, tenuous connections residing in far off places: Korea, Poland, Bolivia and Monaco.

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I imagine sending out emails like distressed SOSs, my dark-eyed relatives guarding their lineage with stony faces. Im afraid this is going to take months. I wish I could speak Spanish, Tati says. Then I could help. But my mom says I dont need to learn it. She thinks it would make me stand out. She doesnt get it. Shes always trying to get me to be someone Im not. Standing in my hallway with her bags, my niece seems smaller, more vulnerable. It was different when Carmen and I were kids, I explain. Or when your grandmother moved here, a little older than you are now. Back then, people did whatever they had to fit in. They changed their names, accents, hair and that was just for starters. And look here you are a few generations later, dreaming of being an exotic outsider. Your mom just wants you to grow up confident and happy. Thats what all parents want for their kids. Yeah, she says, shrugging. But Im not my mom. Im my own self. She hugs me and I watch her get into her mothers SUV. I wave, and Carmen touches her hand to her sunglasses like an aviator. I keep waving long after theyve turned the corner. Alone, I continue the quest. It is important for Tati to have a sense of her past, so she can put it aside for a rainy day, proof that she didnt arrive in the world naked and on her own. Proof she descended from a long line of people connected one to the other, something larger than just percentages. But the tree proves difficult. Our lineage has started to resemble a Gabriel Garca Mrquez story, where all the male relatives are named the same thing over and over. I realise that digging into ones past is more fairytale romance and conjecture than actual history. I telephone my mother again. Why are all the men on your side of the family called Diego, Victor and Antonio? What do you mean, Gina? We are quite the patriarchal family, I say, as if it is all her fault. Darling, could you please try to be less cryptic? Im not a mind reader you know. Mother, how can I track down our ancestors, when the womens names arent even in the records? Sure, the paternal ones are all listed, each with a dutiful little wife designation beside it. But in some cases theres just a question mark, or unknown written in the box. Maybe the names werent available. Then why are the sons from the marriages listed? Four names in some cases! Obviously someone took the time to write down their details. Why not the other names while they were at it? Not everything is an anti-feminist conspiracy, Gina. Why are you so obsessed with family all of a sudden? You never showed any interest before. It isnt for me. Its for Tatiana. I see. Well, it doesnt matter. Thats the lesson she should be learning. Shes alive, and it doesnt matter how she arrived, just that shes here. What do you mean, it doesnt matter? Your granddaughter thinks her heritage

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is a tortilla chip ad. Oh, I like that one. The dancer with the tight trousers is hot, hot, hot. Mother. Gina, honey, sometimes you dont see whats in front of you. It isnt about getting the dates and names. Those details arent going to help you solve the mystery of who you are. The important thing is the story. You of all people should know that. Listen, I have to go, but call Great-Uncle Victor, he might be able to help. Great Uncle is eighty-two, lives in Paris and is partially deaf in one ear. He used to teach letters and, according to my mother, is quite the historian. He speaks a strange mixture of Spanish, English and French with a few Latin words thrown in for effect. Over the crackling line and his monotone multilingual patois, he tells me about my great-great-grandfather Hector. He was a real character. In his youth, he sowed his oats wildly, as the term goes. Fathered twelve children. Later in life he took up with a young married woman from Tripoli, Esmeralda: beautiful, feisty, a real hellraiser. Uncle Victor smacks his lips as if hes describing a delicious dish. By all reports they had a tempestuous relationship, always at each others throats, but they still managed to produce six children. Eventually Esmeralda went back to her husband, leaving Hector with the kids. He took up with wife number four, who took them all in. He died not long after that, and Amelia raised them as if they were her own. You know, Esmeralda showed up on the doorstep some years later wanting the children back, but Amelia wouldnt give them up, he says in a hushed voice. Uncle, I havent managed to get anywhere for months and here you are a fountain of information. But how did find out about Esmeralda? Oh, thats easy. Your Auntie Moira told me. Later, as I sit at my desk with Tatis tree, I neatly pencil in Esmeraldas name next to a question mark and wonder how one arrives at percentages. (flipped eye, 2007)

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES JEAN-CLAUDE FIGNOL

Jean-Claude Fignol
Extrait du roman

Une heure pour lternit


Je ne pleure pas sur moi, gnral Leclerc. Ni sur le sort que votre tratrise ma rserv mais sur le destin de mes frres. Par drision, vous mappelez le vieux Toussaint. Savez-vous comment ils me nommaient ? Papa Toussaint. Me confrant le privilge de les aimer, le droit de les chtier. Ramassis desclaves, dnus dambitions, incapables de rver un destin autre, ne connaissant de droit que celui li au risque de marronner et qui consacrait une libert factuelle plutt que relle, je leur ai propos dtre un peuple. Malheureusement si je savais pourquoi faire deux un peuple je nai pas su leur apprendre comment devenir un peuple. Sans doute parce que vous ne leur laissiez pas le temps dtre attentifs vos leons. Vous les avez bousculs, terroriss, les attachant linstant, les privant ainsi de toute possibilit de voir, de rflchir au-del de lvnement. Jtais bouscul par le temps. Le temps me manquait. Cest le drame de tous ceux qui prtendent forcer la politique se convertir Histoire. Vous avez voulu parier sur lavenir en ne jouant que la bille du prsent. Vous avez tronqu la mise et vous avez perdu. Vous avez rclam la libert et le pouvoir. Malheureusement le pouvoir plus que la libert dont pourtant vous parliez comme dune exigence absolue pour votre peuple. Quand la Rpublique la lui a donne, vous lavez aussitt chasse des ateliers et des habitations comme si elle vous ennuyait. Et nimportait plus. Vous avez jou une partie dangereuse. Vous ne pouviez que perdre face lavenir. Vous avez sans doute raison. Il y a beaucoup de regrets, beaucoup de nostalgie dans la voix du Vieux Toussaint. Son drame, cest aussi le mien. Press par les exigences de Bonaparte, je nai pens quau prsent. La guerre gagner tout prix. Une sale guerre qui dans sa salet mme ma coup des moyens de rserver lavenir. Il ne sagit point, mon vieux, davoir des regrets. Dbarrasss de lurgence, ntant plus presss par le temps, nous pouvons, toi et moi, interroger le choix des moyens pour arriver nos fins. Jai dit que vous avez terroris ceux pour qui vous prtendiez construire. Moi, je terrorise ceux qui devraient maider construire. Jai beaucoup rflchi ce que nous nous sommes dit tout lheure. Si javais cout tout finalement est une affaire dcoute et dattention si javais cout la raison de Christophe, jaurais mis sur lavenir. Nous nous serions rencontrs. Nous aurions ngoci un compromis dans les termes mme que vous avez souligns. Nous aurions vit la guerre et les morts. Surtout jaurais prserv mon arme de la catastrophe de la fivre jaune. Vous y avez enfin pens ! Oui. Malheureusement trop tard. Jai ordonn une enqute. Le rapport du

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES JEAN-CLAUDE FIGNOL

mdecin chef de larme, le docteur Peyre, est convaincant. Le pourcentage des noirs atteints de la fivre jaune est insignifiant travers lle. Encore faut-il noter qu lheure de leur maladie les victimes ngres servaient dans nos rangs. De votre ct, pas dpidmie. Ou tout au moins pas ma connaissance. Pour cause, nos bk vous devez savoir que jen suis un nos bk connaissent les traitements appropris. la fois prventifs et curatifs. Ils auraient initi une mdication dimmunisation ds larrive de vos troupes et vous nen seriez pas rduit aux extrmits o vous tes. Au 15 Vendmiaire dernier, il ne me restait que mille six cents hommes pour dfendre le nord dont seulement neuf cents valides. Le 26 Fructidor, je men souviens bien, jadressais un rapport partiel au ministre de la Marine. Je citais que la septime de ligne est arrive ici mille trois cent quatre vingt quinze hommes. Il y en avait date quatre vingt trois malingres, cent sept encore aux hpitaux. Le reste avait pri. Dans ma lettre du 4 Vendmiaire, je signalais au ministre que pendant la premire quinzaine javais perdu dans les hpitaux du Cap quatre cents hommes et dans tout le pays plus de trois mille, victimes de lpidmie en un mois. Au rythme de mes pertes, suite aux accrochages ou aux batailles ranges, aux dcs pour cause de maladie, les troupes dexpdition ont fondu vue doeil. Jai ragi en consquence. Par la terreur ? Vous savez, aux grands maux les grands remdes. Vous avez donc improvis. Pas tout fait. Cest un plan qui tient compte de plusieurs facteurs. La haine dans laquelle les principaux gnraux noirs se trouvent les uns par rapport aux autres. Ils se rjouissent que jlimine leurs adversaires immdiats. Ensuite, les ngres ntant pas braves, mieux vaut les effrayer. En troisime lieu mieux vaut quils me dtestent pourvu quils me craignent. Je les dsarme. Je les massacre. Jaurai ma paix. Vous tes pire que je ne pensais. De sang froid vous avez concoct ce plan et vous en laissez les variantes dexcution vos collaborateurs. Je men rfre vous, gnral. Jai suivi votre exemple. Je me suis inspir dun rapport du gnral Pamphile de Lacroix sur vos dmls avec votre neveu Moyse. Lorsque vous avez march sur les insurgs qui se rclamaient de lui, vous avez identifi trois cents meneurs. Quavez-vous fait ? Je leur ai ordonn daller se faire fusiller. Ils lont fait ? Bien sr. Pourquoi, votre avis ? Parce quils vous craignaient. Vous leur inspiriez une sainte terreur Jai retenu la leon. Oh ! Vous tes odieux. Pas plus que vous. Trois cents soldats ! Dune seule vole ! Sans jugement. Pour lexemple. Jai jamais autoris la torture. Leur crainte native suffisait. Quest-ce cette crainte si ce nest une torture morale ? Elle a taraud leur conscience, violentant lintimit de leurs convictions

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES JEAN-CLAUDE FIGNOL

personnelles pour ne sarrter quau poids de votre dcision. Vous leur avez vol leur intelligence et leur me, gnral. Cest pire que la pire des tortures. Ils lont fait non par peur mais par respect, par amour pour moi. Pamphile de Lacroix a-t-il rapport quils sont alls se faire fusiller le sourire aux lvres ? Un cas typique de viol de conscience, mon vieux Toussaint. Ils ne savaient pas ce quils faisaient. Notez bien que je ne vous adresse pas de reproches. Chacun a ses mthodes. Pour deux rpublicains comme nous, deux fils de la Rvolution, elles proviennent dune source unique. Nous sommes les enfants de Danton. Je vous vois sourire. Vous pressentez dj mon argumentation. Elle dbute par une vidence. Nous sommes en guerre. Cest--dire que nous sommes en danger. Les chefs doivent tre la hauteur du danger. Il lavait dit clairement, Danton. Le danger est instant. Il est toujours une question dheures sinon de minutes. Rappelez-vous. Les troupes prussiennes menaaient Paris aprs avoir pris Longwy et marchaient sur Verdun. La Champagne souvrait, immense tendue plate, leur avance. Alors que lassemble rclamait de quitter Paris, il y a fait venir sa mre et son fils pour les exposer au danger. Il a cri au danger. Sexaltant contre une menace que la flamme de ses discours rendait encore plus relle. Exaltant les Parisiens en particulier ceux de la Commune, jusquau paroxysme. Jtais peine sorti de ladolescence, vingt ans, jeune officier anim dun patriotisme farouche. Jentendis. Je rptai. Il est temps de dire au peuple que le peuple en masse doit se prcipiter contre ses ennemis . Pour cela, Danton propageait lide dune convulsion de masse. Une violence de masse car seule la violence de masse fait lhistoire. Dautres avant moi lont dit, rpt. Vous ntes pas la masse Saint-Domingue. Nous sommes la force. Parce que nous sommes la force, jai pouss comme Danton lavait autoris en 1792 Paris dabord, dans toute la France ensuite, ltat de guerre jusqu ses extrmes limites : emprisonnements en masse, excutions en masse. La valeur et lautorit de lexemple pour dcourager les tentations de rbellion. Proclamer le rgne de la terreur. Justifier celle-ci par ltat durgence. Multiplier ici et l les hcatombes. Que les maisons et les rues deviennent des cimetires ! Je ne suis pas un enfant de choeur, gnral Leclerc, mais permettez-moi davoir des frissons. De discuter avec Toussaint me ramne quelques mois en arrire. notre premire rencontre au Cap-Franais. Lunique dailleurs. Christophe et Dessalines, harcels par Hardy et Boudet venaient de se soumettre. Maurepas aussi, press par Debelle et Humbert qui avait pris sa revanche contre lui. Traqu, aux abois, impuissant compter sur les bandes des marrons qui interdisaient aux dbris de ses troupes de trouver un refuge dans les mornes, Toussaint stait rsign dposer les armes. Il tait arriv la Capitainerie, endimanch, empanach, tir quatre pingles dans un uniforme rutilant de broderies, les paules couvertes dun manteau de velours bleu, plastronnant telle une extravagance sur son coursier vif-argent. Superbe bte que nombre dofficiers de mon tat-major lui enviaient. Une escorte de quatre cents hommes laccompagnait. Javais t surpris de le trouver de si petite taille et si laid. Nous nous reconnmes pour ce que nous tions, vitant de nous saluer militairement. Ctait mesquin de notre part. Ni lun ni lautre navions voulu par un simple geste rglementaire confirmer le grade et lautorit de lun par rapport lautre.

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE HANNEKE EGGELS

Citoyen Toussaint, jai commenc, ds que nous fmes assis face face la table de ngociations, assist chacun de notre tat-major. Bigarr, chamarr, audel de limaginable du ct de Toussaint qui avait un sens prononc de lapparat. Citoyen Toussaint, je Il avait jusque l gard la tte baisse, sans doute honteux de lacte quil allait poser. Il la releva, juste ce quil fallait pour me fixer droit dans les yeux. Gnral en chef Louverture, rectifia-t-il dune voix forte, avec tout le srieux que sa face noiraude pouvait afficher. Jtais sidr. Cet homme, venu signer sa reddition, osait se targuer dune morgue qui niait sa condition de vaincu. Jeus envie de le rappeler la ralit des convenances. Pourtant, trop heureux de lavoir ma disposition et ma discrtion, trop heureux de terminer un conflit apparemment fratricide qui membarrassait et me pesait, je lui concdai : gnral en chef Louverture. Son visage jusque l crisp se dtendit, rayonna. Je lavais mis en confiance en le nommant par son grade. (Sabine Wespieser, 2008)

Hanneke Eggels Korsou1


Guillermo el Taciturno,2 rey forneo, vigila las grullas, los barriles y a las isleas morenas debajo de las palmeras. El escritor anciano3 habita en su pellejo, su perro y su sombrero gastados en el monzn de la vida. Los tiempos de desorden son claros como el mar, como los peces voladores de Waaigat. 1. Nombre de Curazao en papiamento, la lengua verncula. 2. Estatua situada frente al Museo Nacional, en el barrio de Otrabanda, Willemstad. 3. El 10 de abril de 2003, la poetisa visit en Willemstad al escritor Boelie van Leeuwen. Traducido del holands por Diego Puls

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE LUCA SCOSCERIA

Luca Scosceria Rosas sobre el Ro de la Plata

Baj del avin y sent como si hubiera pasado por un gran peligro y lo hubiera vencido. Estaba cansado y con ganas de volver a casa. Despus de pasar por los trmites aduaneros, me dirig hacia la salida pasando por la sala de espera. Me llam la atencin una mujer acurrucada sobre s misma que rea en forma histrica en una de las muchas butacas azules que haba en el lugar. Hipidos extraos salan de su boca, le sacudan con violencia los hombros y hacan bailar en forma absurda los rizos grises que se escapaban de una paoleta negra con motas blancas. Drogada a esta hora. Qu vergenza dijo alguien al pasar, mordiendo las palabras. La cara de la mujer de paoleta se reduca a dos grandes ojos hundidos y brillantes que se encontraron con los mos y me produjeron una gran sacudida, como esas que se sienten cuando se toca un instrumento elctrico con las manos mojadas. Yo saba que no la conoca. De golpe comprend que no estaba drogada, ni siquiera ebria. Esa mujer sufra. No llore, ya pasar- la consol, preguntndome en mi interior por qu lo haca. Me mir sin curiosidad, como si dijera idioteces y replic: Jams pasar. Jams. Agregu algunas palabras de consuelo que ahora no recuerdo, a las que ella pareci no dar importancia, todava aturdido por mi manera de hablar a una desconocida, alguien que no me importaba. Tiene hijos?- pregunt con voz sorpresivamente tranquila. S, claro que s. Todos vivos? S. Entonces jams lo comprender. Tena slo uno, sin l, jams ser la misma. Los militares se lo llevaron, hace dos meses ya. Nunca ms lo volv a ver. S que est muerto. Por lo menos si supiera dnde llevarle una rosa. Me tom de las manos con fuerza y dijo en un susurro: Las rosas blancas eran sus flores preferidas. Una voz que despus descubr que era la ma dijo: Lleve las rosas al ro de la Plata. Me mir como si hubiera visto a un monstruo y su boca se desfigur con un grito. Los guardias de seguridad llegaron casi enseguida. La llevaban a rastras, mientras ella preguntaba: Quin es usted? Quin es usted? La mir con lstima, hasta que desapareci.

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE LUCA SCOSCERIA

Fui a buscar mi maleta que en la cinta giratoria daba ya su segunda o tercera vuelta, sin concentrarme en otra cosa que no fuera en la mujer de paoleta negra. Buenos Aires era un horno en enero. Pero no podramos tomarnos las vacaciones que haba prometido a mi familia antes del mes de febrero. Deba ir a una recepcin con Sara, mi esposa, esa misma noche. Estaba cansado por el viaje, por el calor pegajoso y hmedo y la escena desagradable que haba tenido no bien haba bajado del avin, no obstante, horas despus estaba metido en mi traje militar, que me ajustaba un poco y me haca correr el sudor por la espalda, cuando sala de las piezas donde haba aire acondicionado. Cuando me dirig hacia la ponchera que tomaba gran parte del centro de una mesa elegante que estaba en la terraza, vino a saludarme Bermdez. Qu elegancia dijo en tono irnico, porque saba que yo odiaba tener el uniforme de gala. El tambin lo llevaba. A pesar de su baja estatura, lo luca con altivez. Se le escap un hipo que denunciaba sus ya muchos tragos. Alz la copa que sostena en la mano con un simulacro de brindis que correspond con una mueca. Maana llevamos las mercaderas- dijo mientras me haca un guio En el mismo lugar?- pregunt. S. En el ro de la Plata. Tiens todo listo? Todo. Como un flash me vino a la mente la mujer del aeropuerto. Entonces agregu: En realidad, me falta algo. Una docena de rosas blancas.

Primavera 2009: Volumen 59, No. 1: Cielo y Tierra


La primera edicin del 2009 de PEN Internacional coincidir con el Festival anual de literatura mundial de PEN Internacional, Libere la Palabra!, que se realiza en Londres cada primavera. Adems compartir el tema literario de PEN Internacional del 2009, y del festival: Cielo y Tierra. Son varios los elementos que gobiernan la relacin entre el Cielo y la Tierra, desde los parasos fantsticos creados por nuestras imaginaciones, hasta nuestras preocupaciones ms materiales. Algunos de los conceptos claves, aunque no todos, son: la fe y la razn, la esperanza y la desilusin, ideologa y realidad, el medio ambiente y la poltica, libertad y prisin. PEN Internacional tendr muchos gusto en recibir obras que exploren la idea del Cielo y la Tierra a travs de poesa, cuentos, ensayos, artculos, y pasajes de textos ms largos.

FECHA LMITE DE ENVO: 16 DE FEBRERO DE 2009. Para pautas de envo para la revista, visite a www.internationalpen.org.uk

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN BRUNO GOULARD

Bruno goulard
Excerpt from the novel

The San Pedro Conundrum


Breakfast Jeremy lay in bed, sleepily smoking a cigarette, waiting. Such a strange room, its walls a dissolute red throughout, with the exception of M.s two bright yellow rectangles, crpe paper scotched to the wall: a diptych, lifting now on the breeze, dancing with the undulating mesa of smoke a foot above his head. Outside, Ciudad Guatemalas many broken buses endless BRAAAAAPS counted time. M. had gone to an agency to line up some volunteer work in Honduras. Jeremy had walked her to the bus on Calle 18. His appointment at the customs office still a few hours away, he had returned to the hotel, picking up a half-liter of Quezalteca. Two weeks already, in these wine-colored, sexless sheets. Hotel Fnix, Calle del Purgatorio; hed laughed, looking up at the sign on their first day. Hed chosen it from the guidebook specifically for its unusable taxonomy, the overkill of its meaningless symbolism. But the city was a kind of purgatory, a huge prison of sorts, in its whole: metal bars everywhere, in shops and hotels, separating the populace not from freedom but from the material goods that would make this freedom viable. And armed guards, an army of armed guards, waiting, surely, for the disenfranchised of Zona 3s shantytowns to cross the short geographic distance to the Zona Viva (a distance no less significant than that between heaven and hell, if those two be separate at all), their slow death momentarily interrupted by the need for revenge. Outside again, he walked the few blocks to Avenida 6 and headed north to the Plaza Mayor. He and M. were to witness an anti-government demonstration that afternoon. The presidents son had been photographed stepping off the government jet in Panama to deposit stolen millions into the familys private account. The photos had been reproduced on the front page of Prensa Libre, between a story about the exhumation of corpses whose families were unable to pay the cemetery tax and a short piece on multiple shootings in Los Encuentros. The people, understandably, were unhappy. The demonstration was to start at Parque Minerva in the north of the city and wind its way to the Palacio Nacional. Jeremy wanted to scout the length of it. Hed seen a demonstration turn into a riot once, and was frightened. The thought of wielding such prescience made him feel at once cool, as in secret agent cool, and ridiculously hypocritical. It reminded him of the endless, often involuntary posing of adolescence. The Avenida was busy. The vendors stalls, heaped with cheap trinkets and black market CDs, crowded the teeming flow into a narrow band; the broken and rutted sidewalk choked with feet. Jeremy negotiated his way, shrinking from the hurricane of noise: competing cumbia mixes, merchants

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN BRUNO GOULARD

yelling, old American school buses belching black clouds of exhaust and honking like stupid dogs and talk, everywhere talk, like the rumbling murmur of violent subterranean water beneath ones feet. Zona 1: on his way back from walking M. to the bus stop that morning, a crack whore, her teeth dark and rotten, had proposed herself for one quetzal, laughing. Jeremy passed orphans and families camped out on cardboard, their faces black with exhaust and dirt, trying to shake the poor whores maniacal smile. Now, with all the bustle, this caustic darkness seemed more smothered than altered, as though every face however purposeful and set in the light might distort monstrously when passing through shadows. Jeremy accepted a flyer from a masked student, encapuchado. Though he could make no sense of its polemics, and had a pile of those exact flyers back at the Fnix, it seemed to him the only way to demonstrate his support. Lowry is right, he thought: the light of alcoholic dawn is different, brighter, sharper Thats because your pupils are dilated as wide as plates, he imagined his friend J. mocking him. Then, for the first time since stepping off the plane, Jeremy not only wanted to write but felt like writing. Hed promised himself he would start as soon as he received his laptop, which he was this very morning supposed to fetch at the airport. But he dreaded it, this presumption of having something to say. It left him indifferent, and seemed somewhat ridiculous. He turned away from the noise to search for a restaurant or pub. His watch read 10.00, leaving him an hour before his appointment: time aplenty to jot a few notes over a quick, quiet drink. He found a young man bending over, as though Nike for her sandal, to open a metal garage door on which, in wide, colorful letters, was tagged the word SIEMPRE. Disculpea, esta posible una beber? Jeremy lifted his elbow. The man looked at him and smiled. Jeremy blinked. Hola, the other man said, looking amused. S, es posible? Jeremy lifted his elbow again. The young man frowned, and Jeremy knew something was being mistaken, or misgiven He knows me, Jeremy realized, a surge of electric panic shooting through his body. S, todo es posible The young man smiled, and opened the door with a crash. Pero nada es seguro The SIEMPRE. It came to him in Polaroids. Hed been there the night before, drinking, he remembered now, whisky. Hed spoken to the young man. Theyd talked about their families, about kids, about art and then Jeremy understood why hed not been hungover in the morning, why there had been something funny about getting up, something topsy-turvy and surreal, and mildly hysterical. S, mi amigo. Cmo ests? Jeremy asked, trying to recall the young mans name. Estoy bien, estoy bien. Y tu? Oh, estoy muy mala, Jeremy said, trying somehow to apologize for not having recognized the man. Me dae mucho. They stepped inside, and Jeremy wondered how he could have possibly forgotten the SIEMPRE. The room was the width of a single-car garage, with plastic tables and chairs and an ad hoc bar at the back; it was an unremarkable place, but

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN BRUNO GOULARD

for the walls (how could he have forgotten?): murals covered their entire surface. Behind the bar was a postcard Antigua, the old colonial capital of the contiguous state of Central America, with its volcano, the perspective skewed to their advantage. To one side was a huge depiction of Maximn in traje, playing marimba in Tikals main plaza; in the foreground was a bright red and green quetzal bird, perched on the upheld hand of a skeleton. Toward the front, by the wide open door, staring down at the empty tables and awaiting the days stooped drinkers, were portraits: the Three Stooges in black and white; a sophomoric Freddy Mercury, Jim Morrison and John Lennon, all in shades of blue and floating in a blue, starlit sky bearing the title Spirit of Rock; and, facing these but more seriously executed, a fated Che with Subcomandante Marcos, the latters eyes floating in fauvist fury. Jeremy sat with a bottle of Gallo beer. The Polaroids kept coming Hed inadvertently bought drugs right there from Jos. Yes, Jos, who, though a cop, had been happy to supply them with something to smoke, his own head a frozen pineapple full of cocaine. Now thats a story, Jeremy thought. He remembered writing Jeremy retrieved his notebook (Big Yellow) from his bag. At the back, in red ink, he found some illegible scribbles. He pulled out his pen and wrote: A protracted waiting of sorts, always: deeds accomplished, victories won, experiences lived and suffered, and still the mind wandering to an uncertain future from which all as items in a treasure trunk pertains to meaning and purpose, the presents only seeming reality and value from that distant and impossible vantage, and robbed of its flavor and grit, and beauty even, by the distraction. A life turned inside out. The impossible eternity of the now, the ever-pressing, breathing, reeling forever now, encompassed by this view, this review from a projected future Wont this be great when? Wont this be nice in the summertime? Wont we look fondly upon our days? Our times? Sadly, no. Jeremy reread the words and laughed. Whatever. Wont I look fondly upon all of this! He turned back to the scribbles, thinking of the cop and of what kind of story that would actually make. When his bottle was empty, he ordered another and looked at the walls. With its title arching in a sloppy curlicue over the dead rock icons faces, Spirit of Rock the only mural left unsigned had obviously been the first one painted, maybe even the artists very first. Jeremy imagined the young owner asking one of his friends, who perhaps had demonstrated at school a natural talent for reproducing images, if he could maybe, please, for cost, help decorate his new bar. Jeremy also imagined the artist stepping back from his work, and so now an artist, for the first time self-conscious, and not liking so much what he saw in the kitschy blue faces of the heroes who were already fading as a preoccupation, noticing that the rendering was facile, the composition adolescent. But this now-artist, nevertheless, standing before his work, would have loved the memory of all those quiet hours spent painting; then, no doubt, came Antigua behind the bar, its elements carefully enlarged from different photos, its details evidently belabored, its colors courageous Jeremy had promised J. and N. some emails full of local color, but had not yet written. So he wrote: The dogs are polite here. With tails slung protectively against gaunt bellies, reaching between nervous legs, they precipitously get their scarred and bony asses out of the way. With man about, two-legged, swift-booted, cigarette-ready, cruel man,

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN BRUNO GOULARD

the dogs hardly bark, and do not bite. They lie, they sleep, they scavenge quietly and hide to defecate. Cats mostly stay indoors. Men are pack animals, or insane, it seems, sometimes. Women in handembroidered, bright and colorful shirts and skirts (as seen on Discovery), baskets upon their heads, are flowers by contrast, defiant in the face of endemic poverty. Men are cowboys. Cowboys in wrestling T-shirts. The Mayans hate the Ladinos. The Ladinos own the land. The guns used to disappear the Mayans are made and paid for by the USA. Like the T-shirts. Everybody loves Che Guevara. Emerald green and ochre patchwork agriculture climbs the steep slopes of surrounding mountains. The lake contains myriad colors, mostly turquoise and ultramarine and, in the moonlight, seething sliver. Hot springs bubble in cloudjungled clefts of mountaintops. Huge volcanoes set the measure. War recently ended, and maladapted ex-guerillas man a little too enthusiastically the 12-gauge sawed-offs of their new stations guarding tourists and soft-drink consignments, gold-filled smiles all around, tough like rape and roots. An admitted murderer, the current president spins his crimes into his reelection platform: a strong man, not afraid of his enemies well not anymore, anyway Birds still predominate. The whole country is under construction, full of secrets and horror stories. At night it is very, very quiet. There is no nightlife. Those who drink are either chronic by noon, asleep in the streets, or, dispatching post-haste end-of-dogday 36 Quezalteca Especial, chronic by eight, asleep in the streets. But its rarely enough they are mostly too proud and too tired, and too religious. Talc, that chalky sediment, is dug out of the ground and mixed with corn to make tortillas, tostadas, dobladas and pupusas. These staples complement a diet of chicken, boot-sole beef and frijoles. And fruit! A paradise of fruit. On the lakeshore it is beautiful every day of the year; five minutes away in the mountains, it is cold. Little girls troll the streets with baskets of chocolate cake and banana bread for happy stoner tourists. Drugs are very cheap. There are 22 churches in San Pedro. Locals joke that theres a new sect for every seating disagreement. Like LA premiers. A Dios sea la Gloria el rey de reyes. Jeremy reread his writing and hated every word. It seemed to him hardly more than a grocery list, an enumeration, some of it not even English (chronic by noon?). It reminded him of a Nietzschean aphorism regarding artists disrespect for their experiences; it also reminded him of his distinctive discomfort when reading his friends work, torn between honesty and tact. It made him feel full of shit and hateful of his stupid self. He reread the first line the dogs are polite here and it broke his heart. If only he could write, he would write a whole novel about that one cold, damp dawn in the highlands when hed watched a mongrel bitch get gang-raped by a dozen or so other dogs, how when hed returned from the balcony to the warmth of M.s side, M. who had seemed at once so childish and brave, pecking him goodbye in the morning light, hed lied to her about what shed heard, and theyd made love tenderly without knowing it would be their last time. He ordered a third bottle of Gallo. (Unpublished, 2008)

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES OLIVIER CACHIN

Olivier Cachin
Extrait de la srie

Rap Stories
Entretien avec Lee Scratch Perry Ce sage excentrique qui naquit le 20 mars 1936 sillustra dans les annes 70 en inventant une musique du troisime type, le dub. Version instrumentale et thre dun reggae devenu spatial, le dub est un secret gard jalousement par Scratch. Un secret parmi une fort de trous noirs : black-out ou folie contrle, Lee Perry lUpsetter joue les dingues mais, au dtour de jeu de langage perptuels et de coq--lne magistraux, on sent percer la lucidit du dment, la prcision du visionnaire qui connat sa route et commet sciemment ses erreurs. La priode charnire de la vie de Perry est une dchirure quil se refuse voquer : en 1983, il brle son studio en Jamaque, le fameux et lgendaire Black Ark, et migre en Angleterre o il habite depuis. Cest l que nous lavons rencontr, quelques jours avant ses premiers concerts parisiens des 19 et 20 novembre 1987. Habill en para, les doigts maculs de bagues argentes et le spliff de soire aux lvres, Scratch le sorcier a soulev pour nous un coin du voile dans une fume masquant les contours. Flou et lastique, lesprit du crateur de Super Ape , Return of Django , Small Axe , War Ina Babylon ou Police and Thieves est celui dun prophte, paillard et philosophe. tes-vous The Upsetter (lempcheur de tourner en rond) ? Je suis lUpsetter et je serai toujours lUpsetter. Je suis lUpsetter tout-puissant et jemmerde le monde. (Premier rire de stentor dune longue srie.) Do vient ce surnom ? Il y avait un type du nom de Ozzie and the Upsetters qui chantait en Jamaque. Il avait une vision mais ne savait pas comment sen servir, alors jai pris son nom. Maintenant, The Upsetter, cest moi. Quand avez-vous dbut dans la musique ? Aprs que jai eu vingt-cinq ans. Avant cela, jtais champion de dominos. Je suis lexpert number one des dominos. Jai voulu devenir champion de la coupe de canne sucre. Puis je suis devenu conducteur de bulldozer, champion galement : dabord le travail dans les champs, puis sur les routes. Cest comme a que jappris la rgle de jeu. Quels ont t vos dbuts en Jamaque ? Je navais pas dargent, je ntais pas un millionnaire mais un pauvre. Mais je crois aux gueux qui deviennent rois, et je crois que la pauvret vient la richesse.

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Quel est le premier artiste qui vous ait impressionn ? Le monde attend que je dise quel est lartiste que je prfre. Mais aucun artiste ne va dire au monde quelque chose sur Lee Scratch Perry. ceux qui font le bien, je le rends. Quel est le premier homme vous avoir soutenu ? Ctait dans le pass, mais prsent cest le futur et je ne me rappelle pas son nom. Jaimerais quil nait jamais exist. Quels taient vos modles dans la vie ? Je nai pas de modle. Je crois en mes oreilles : mes oreilles me servent entendre, mes yeux voir, mon nez sentir, ma bouche parler. Mon action est positive et mon nom est Scratch. Et je ne veux pas entendre, voir, sentir ou parler au travers de quelquun dautre. Moi, je crois en cela, je ne sais pas en quoi, vous, vous croyez. quoi dautre croyez-vous ? Je crois au bien contre le mal, et je crois la vrit. Pourquoi devrais-je croire aux mensonges ? Je ne suis pas assez stupide pour a. Ceux qui croient aux mensonges meurent toujours. Plus vite quils nauraient d mourir. Quand avez-vous commenc avec Bob Marley ? (Net.) Bob Marley est mort. Il est mort. Foutrement MORT. MORT. MORT (dix fois) ! Compltement et totalement mort ! Je ne parle pas des morts, je suis l pour parler des vivants. Les morts sont morts pour toujours. Avez-vous peur de la mort ? Moi ? Si javais peur, je serais dj mort. Jai peur des voleurs et des menteurs, voil les ennemis. Avez-vous t vol, musicalement parlant ? Oui, par beaucoup de gens : artistes, producteurs, promoteurs. Il y a dabord la lettre G, pour God (Dieu) et O pour ce qui est la fin de Good (ce qui est bon). G. OOD. Tu comprends ? Je traite du bien, pas du mal. Le dub est-il une faon de vivre ? Le professeur, le scientifique ou le magicien qui dvoilent leurs secrets ne sont pas dignes dtre professeurs, scientifiques ou magiciens. Personne ne connat mon secret, il est moi et je le garde. OK ? Je ne dirai pas comment je cre le dub. Mme avec un flingue et un couteau sur la gorge, je prfre crever avec mon secret. tes-vous mari ? Jai t mari autrefois une fille indienne. Mais elle tait fucky-fucky , alors on a divorc. Je me suis libr. Je suis libre et solo maintenant ! (clat de rire.) La libert est moi, et je partage le plaisir ma guise ! Quelle image projetez-vous dans votre musique ? Limage dun fantme dont personne ne connat le visage. Si le visage sur le disque

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CONTEXTE: AMRIQUE LATINE ET CARABES OLIVIER CACHIN

est noir, ils savent qui je suis. En quelle anne avez-vous quitt la Jamaque ? Je ne sais pas, je ne connais pas lair du temps, pas le temps lui-mme (il jongle avec le mot year [anne] et le mot air ). Votre temps est diffrent du mien, il ny a que de lair dans lunivers, pas de year . Et jtais sous la pression des paens, des tratres et des vampires. Quel tait le matriel dans le lgendaire Black Ark Studio ? coute, tu vas trop loin. Tout a, cest des secrets. Et je nai pas des secrets donner. Quel public pensez-vous avoir Paris ? Je ne sais pas ! Je nai invit personne venir me voir, cest la premire fois que je viens. Vous aimez voyager ? Jaime faire ce que je veux pour communiquer avec les gens qui ont lu mon livre que je nai pas crit. Mais qui est crit dans leur me. Vous avez produit Complete Control en 1978 pour le groupe punk The Clash Le complete control, a veut dire le contrle TOTAL. Moi, je suis en contrle TOTAL de mon esprit. Et le Clash ( le choc ) est arriv quand la bataille a commenc, quand les canons ont tonn. Ey quand il y a un clash, il faut un gnral. Alors le Clash a trouv un gnral, moi, avec une mitrailleuse qui faisait ratatatata !!! a fait BOUM ! (Il se roule par terre de rire.) Toutes le toiles font la guerre dans le ciel, et sil y a trop de stars il y aura trop de wars Vous pensez la guerre mondiale ? Si Dieu le veut, pas si lhomme le veut. Limagerie animale revient souvent dans vos chansons Le singe tait le premier homme. Le monkey est le monk (moine) qui tient la key (cl) : mon-key. Et la jungle est mon royaume. Jai tout su de la jungle, car quel autre professeur aurait pu menseigner ? tes-vous nostalgique de la Jamaque ? Pourquoi devrais-je languir dun pays que jai quitt ? Il y a trop de destruction, le reggae est trop destructif. Avez-vous jamais t attir par la destruction ? coute, je tai donn des indices, mais ne questionne pas mon esprit au-del. Premire parution : Le Matin de Paris n 3331, jeudi 19 novembre 1987. (Denol, 2008)

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE MARISELA QUINTANA

Marisela Quintana El nuevo nombre de soledad

Y es que se daba cuenta de que funcionaba para otros y otras. Varias de sus amigas haban logrado casarse con hombres extranjeros y se haban ido a tierras ajenas, muchas veces desconociendo no slo en qu latitudes estaban, sino el idioma que se hablaba. Se dijo: yo tambin pruebo. As, se arroj a esa incalificable aventura de pasarse horas navegando en Internet. Se anot en todos los sitios que encontr en donde se ofreciera la promesa de encontrar una pareja: Amigos y Sexo, Adultos y amigos, Encuentra Pareja, La otra mitad, El portal de la compaa, El exterminador de la soledad y tantos otros sugerentes ttulos que cay en el vicio -no descubierto an, reprochado ni ilegalizado- de invertir tiempo, desgastar los ojos y agotar el alma en pasarse sentada frente a la pantalla del computador confiada en que encontrara lo que buscaba con anhelo. Adelgaz porque se saltaba las comidas y la vejiga empez a darle problemas de continencia por estarse aguantando las ganas de mear con tal de no perder valiosos minutos en esa cotidianeidad, que slo brindaba alivio a una necesidad fsica sin mayor relevancia en su vida. Su espritu tena hambre y esa era la real necesidad que deba de satisfacer. Ya habra tiempo para que el estmago se hartara y para que el orn fluyera a su antojo despus que su deseo se viera cumplido. Abri cuenta electrnica en Yahoo, Hotmail y Lycos para garantizar que el chat funcionara para la mayora de los correos de los que pudieran ser propietarios sus idealizadas parejas. Se meti a todas las conversaciones electrnicas en las que le permitan acceso. Se tom fotos profesionales que le costaron un ojo de la cara pues, adems de la fotografa, pagaba por el maquillaje que le hiciera ver diez aos ms joven y, cuando todava el resultado le pareca poco convincente, disparaba la plata para que algn experto manipulador de imgenes las retocara con Photoshop o cualquiera de esos programas muy de moda. La cyberciruga plstica era efectiva y ella luca como esas modelos en las cartulas de las revistas de Cosmopolitan. Se encontr de todo: hombres buscando hombres, mujeres buscando mujeres, parejas buscando tro, hombres buscando mujeres y mujeres buscando hombres. Era un zoolgico de extraas especies con nombres ordinarios y groseros: pichadura, mamador66, calientita, ardiente16, dametucos. Un repertorio de apodos demostrativos del inters de cada quien. De ipege, cuando encontraba a alguien que pareca ser la persona idnea, caa en cuenta que para contactarla deba pagar una cuota a los dueos del sitio, quienes no le permitan ms intercambios de correos a menos que adquiriera el estatus de miembro de plata o de oro, para lo que se tena que desembolsar no

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CONTEXTO: AMRICA LATINA Y EL CARIBE MARISELA QUINTANA

menos de veinte dlares al mes. Su dinero y sus fuerzas se fueron a travs de la pantalla. La cuenta en la tarjeta de crdito se elev aceleradamente en unos cuantos meses y el frenes la llev a la bancarrota total. As y todo, continu asida a la esperanza que patrullaba con ella las ilusorias autopistas de Internet, sin percatarse que ya era una bolsa de huesos, de ojos saltones y mirada brillante. Las pupilas dilatadas delataban el avance de la esquizofrenia y eventualmente, sus colegas de trabajo se fueron retirando al notar su comportamiento anmalo. Los dedos se le alargaron y abultaron en los extremos como bolillos de marimba. Perdi las uas y el pelo, ambos vencidos por la implacable radiacin de la computadora. Ya no era ella era algo, un ser que perda, instante a instante, las caractersticas humanas que tanto la haban distinguido. A veces me pregunto si no era ms fcil la forma tradicional de compartir, ya saben amigos, amigas, unos tragos de ron o alguna cerveza, celebracin de carcajadas, sin tener que preocuparse por ir apresuradamente a buscar los conos que representan las emociones y con los que se acostumbra ahora a acompaar los mensajes que se intercambian por Internet. Qu estupidez! Exclamaba en mi interior, mientras procuraba no interrumpir su diario ajetreo, ni turbar el constante sonido del teclado sometido al golpeteo permanente de sus giles manos. En breve la inminente catstrofe fue un hecho. La internaron en un sanatorio. Poco piadoso de mi parte, porque no fui a visitarla. Me deprimen esos lugares. Pasaron semanas y su oficina permaneci cerrada. Honestamente no la record hasta el da en que, durante una sesin de trabajo, el jefe me asign la oficina que ella ocupaba bajo el argumento de que era un desperdicio de recursos el que la misma permaneciera sin uso. As que a los dos das empec a trasladar mis calaches. Tuve que desocupar su escritorio y meter sus cosas en una caja confiando que algn familiar vendra a llevrsela. Me puse frente al computador, lo encend y proced a atender mis asuntos. A eso de las seis de la tarde, estaba preparndome para dar por concluida la faena. Iba a apagar la mquina, cuando me asalt la curiosidad de examinar sitios virtuales que ella haba visitado y que aparecan en la barra superior de la pantalla, en el men de favoritos. Me dediqu a navegar con cierta confusin. Por una parte me pareca impropio mi proceder, una invasin a la privacidad de mi excompaera de trabajo. Por otro lado, senta una incontrolable curiosidad, la que termin por ganar la batalla interna entre el bien y el mal. En una de esos sitios encontr las referencias que ella haba colocado en su desesperada bsqueda, su foto y su alias: Soledad. No s qu me dio por escribirle, fue un impulso infantil, una travesura, pues saba que ella ya no podra contestar invitacin alguna. Conoca bien de sus deseos despeados en el abismo de la insanidad mental. Escrib: Hola, as que ese es tu nuevo nombre? Mi boca se estir en una amplia sonrisa mientras me deleitaba en la burla. Al instante un monoslabo en la pantalla enfri mi banalidad: SI.

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN CONTRIBUTORS

Contributors

Niki Aguirre is a London-based fiction writer, born in the US to Ecuadorean parents. She studied English literature at the University of Illinois and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London. Her debut collection of short fiction, 29 Ways to Drown, was published in 2007 by flipped eye publishing. She is the recipient of the Birkbeck Outstanding Achievement Award for Creative Fiction (2006) and a grant from the Arts Council England (2007). Her short stories have been featured in Tell Tales, Mechanics Institute Review, X-24 and LITRO magazine. She is currently working on her first novel. Christophe Apprill est sociologue et danseur. Membre du laboratoire Sociologie, Histoire et
Anthropologie des Dynamiques Culturelles lEHESS (Shadyc, UMR 8562), ses recherches portent sur lhistoire sociale du bal et sur lencadrement professionnel des danses du monde. Il est lauteur de Le tango argentin en France (Anthropos, 1998) et de Sociologie des danses de couple: Une pratique entre rsurgence et folklorisation (LHarmattan, 2005). Danseur dans la compagnie de Catherine Berbessou de 1998 2003, acteur de la diffusion contemporaine du tango en France, il pratique et transmet cette danse depuis plusieurs annes. at the University of Leeds. She also teaches part-time on Portuguese modules at Leeds and Liverpool. Her articles have been published in such journals as Portuguese Studies and ellipsis.

Rhian Atkin is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Cecilia Balczar de Bucher naci en Santiago de Cali, Colombia. Es una escritora y traductora prolfica, y ha ocupado varios cargos universitarios. Tiene una maestra y un doctorado de la Universidad de Georgetown, Washington DC. Se ha desempeado como profesora titular y directora del Departamento de Idiomas y Estudios Socio-culturales en la Universidad de los Andes, Bogot, desde 1997, y es miembro correspondiente y miembro de la Comisin de Lingstica de la Academia Colombiana de la Lengua desde 1996. Ella es adems miembro del consejo directivo de PEN Internacional. Olivier Cachin est journaliste, crivain dans la mouvance hip hop et prsentateur mythique de la
premire mission de tl franaise sur le rap, Rapline. Il a notamment rdig une biographie dEminem (Eminem : Le prince blanc du hip hop), Le dictionnaire du rap et Histoire du rap en 100 albums essentiels. poeta, adems de sacerdote catlico y uno de los ms destacados religiosos de la teologa de la liberacin. Su obra literaria est estrechamente unida a su vida poltica. Despus de ser ordenado sacerdote en 1965, Cardenal fund una comunidad cristiana, casi monstica, en las islas Solentiname. Fue aqu que escribi su famoso libro, El Evangelio de solentiname. Durante muchos aos colabor con el Frente Sandinista de Liberacin Nacional, luchando contra el rgimen de Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Con el establecimiento del nuevo gobierno del FSLN en 1979 Cardenal fue nombrado ministro de cultura, un cargo que ocup hasta 1987. En 1980 recibi el Premio de la Paz del Comercio Librero Alemn y en 2005 fue nominado a recibir el Premio Nobel de literatura. En el 2007, 200 literatos se juntaron en el XII Encuentro Hispanoamericano de Escritores en Mxico para rendir homenaje al poeta nicaragense.

Ernesto Cardenal Martnez naci en 1925 en Granada, Nicaragua. Es poltico, escritor, escultor, y

Hanneke Eggels es una poeta y ensayista bilinge. Escribe en holands y en ruso, y ha publicado cuatro volmenes de poesa. Acerca de Bon Bini, un ciclo de poemas de Curaao traducido al espaol, el autor colombiano Jorge Franco escribi: Su poesa me record el aire fresco y la magia de las islas. Me sent en esos poemas que deliciosa combinacin de holands Caribe y races.

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CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN CONTRIBUTORS

Jean-Claude Fignol est n en 1941 Jrmie, Hati. Tour tour critique dart, journaliste, critique littraire et enseignant, il sest cr une place de choix dans les milieux intellectuels hatiens. Avec Ren Philoctte et Franktienne, il fonde le Spiralisme , mouvement littraire qui marque un tournant dcisif dans la littrature hatienne. Ses premiers romans, Les possds de la pleine lune (1987) et Aube tranquille (1990), sont considrs comme des classiques de la littrature contemporaine hatienne. Dans les annes 1980, il apporte une aide essentielle aux habitants du petit village Les Abricots dans la Grande Anse. Il les assiste dans un travail de dveloppement de premire ncessit. la direction du Collge Jean-Price Mars (quil avait fond avec Philoctte et Victor Benot), il se consacre lcriture, prononce des confrences et continue dexplorer son le quil na jamais quitte. Une heure pour lternit a t publi en janvier 2008. Bruno goulard is a Franco-Ontarian novelist and screenwriter who has spent several years alternating between Guatemala and Canada. The San Pedro Conundrum is his first novel. He lives in Montreal. Milton Hatoum is the author of the novels Tale of a Certain Orient, The Brothers and Ashes of the Amazon (Bloomsbury, UK), all rewarded with the Jabuti Prize for best novel in Brazil and published in several countries. His last novel, Orphans of Eldorado, will be published in sixteen countries as part of the Canongate Myth Series. He was Professor of Latin American Literature at the University of Amazonas and at the University of California (Berkeley), and a visiting writer at Yale, Stanford and UC Berkeley. He lives in So Paulo. Claudia Kay es una traductora independiente colombiana de textos en ingls y en francs al espaol. Jeff McMahon is a recidivist reporter and columnist who teaches journalism and creative non-fiction at the University of Chicago. He is the editor of Contrary magazine. Concepcin Prado de Velsquez naci en Cantaura, Venezuela, en la dcada de los veinte.
Escribi desde muy joven poesas y cuentos. Se reflejan en su trabajo los valores de familia y tambin las preocupaciones que sentan las mujeres de su generacin. Parte de su obra literaria ha sido publicada en libros titulados Brillo en los tejados dormidos, Madrigal con brisas y De gardenias y magnolias. Falleci con el rosario entre sus manos en 2006 en Venezuela. es actualmente traductor literario, docente, lexicgrafo, y moderador de talleres de traduccin. Entre sus obras traducidas se incluye Ana Frank Diario. Para ver la coleccin integral de poemas traducidos dirjase a www.diegopuls.com.ar.

Diego Puls naci en Buenos Aires en 1956. Licenciado en Traductologa por la Universidad de msterdam

Marisela Quintana, residente de Managua, Nicaragua, naci en 1958. Es co-fundadora de la Extensin


Cultural Universitaria de la Universidad Nacional de Ingeniera (EXTCUNI), y miembro fundadora de la Asociacin Nicaraguense de Mujeres Escritoras (ANIDE). Ha escrito y publicado obras bajo ttulos tan diversos como: Informtica educativa: 20 preguntas ms frecuentes, Cuentos de hombres sobre mujeres y Teora del caos y fractales: una aproximacin al pensamiento femenino.

Marcela Rodrguez Loreto vive en el Centro Histrico, corazn de Ciudad de Mxico. Escribe sobre arquitectura y diseo industrial en la revista Poder y negocios; cada mes entrega su Paso de cebra, columna de crnica urbana para el peridico El financiero. Es autora de las novelas Los extraditables (Plaza & Jans, 2000) obra de culto en la escena subterrnea/perifrica, y El libro blanco de Mateo, sin editorial interesada en publicarla por considerarla no comercial. Actualmente est escribiendo su siguiente novela. Lady Rojas-Trempe naci en Per, regin de Amazonas, es doctora en Lengua y Literatura Hispnicas.
Escribe poesas y anlisis de la literatura latinoamericana moderna. Actualmente trabaja en la Universidad Concordia de la ciudad de Montreal en Canad.

Luca Scosceria naci en Italia y vive actualmente en Encarnacin, Paraguay. Se dedic muchos aos a

la docencia y es ahora profesora de educacin primaria, licenciada en pedagoga, y abogada. En 1993 public su primer libro de cuentos, Cuentos de Luca, a los que siguieron muchos ms. Tambin ha escrito novelas y poemarios, y ha realizado dos compilaciones de poemas de poetas de su ciudad. Es socia de EPA (Escritoras paraguayas asociadas) y del PEN del Paraguay.

Jeinny Solis S. es una diseadora grfica y fotgrafa especializada en publicaciones digitales radicada
en Mxico: www.digilibro.com.

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Beatriz Valerio, escritora campanense, ha publicado De tal palo tal astilla, Soando versos con ilusiones de poeta y Alma de poeta, corazn de mujer en edicin de papel y ha participado en varias antologas. Este ao participa de la travesa de la Fragata Libertad con Amigos de las Artes en viaje junto a las obras plsticas y poticas, su tercer antologa junto a ellos. Ha colaborado en numerosas revistas de todo el mundo. Edith Velsquez Prado was born in Puerto La Cruz, Estado Anzotegui, Venezuela. She moved to
Montreal, Canada, in 1967 after marrying, and earned a degree in Hispanic Literature at Concordia University. In 2004 she won first prize in an annual literary contest sponsored by the newspaper La voz y la pluma. She has participated in various literary festivals and has lectured at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival. She currently writes a film review column for a Montreal weekly newspaper. Her work has been published in various periodicals and anthologies.

Nicols Vergara Muoz naci en 1981 en Santiago de Chile. Generacionalmente se ubica dentro de la nueva generacin de poetas chilenos, cuyos temas se hacen cargo de la literatura postdictatorial latinoamericana, en tanto verificadores de pulsiones y discursos soterrados por las democracias latinoamericanas actuales. En el 2009 ser publicado su primer libro de poesa, Fablas y contrafbulas de la elefanta fresia, en Ediciones LOM. El texto que aqu aparece pertenece a ese libro. Jack Waveney es un escritor ingls que vive de vez en cuando en Colombia. Julieta Zurita es mestiza, aunque ella se presenta como indgena quechua. Docente de quechua en la Universidad Mayor de San Simn, Cochabamba. Es ella misma quien traduce sus composiciones. Es responsable de un libro de relatos en quechua recopilados de los pueblos indgenas.

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La Fundacin Iberoamericana del PEN Internacional


La Fundacin Iberoamericana del PEN Internacional, se estableci legalmente en la Repblica de Panam en 1998 con el propsito de respaldar al PEN Internacional en el proceso de integracin de los captulos iberoamericanos a esta organizacin mundial de escritores. Conscientes de la responsabilidad social y la presencia global del PEN, la Fundacin Iberoamericana se inscribi en el Registro Pblico de Panam en la seccin de Fundaciones de Inters Privado y desde entonces mantiene una red de trabajo con las delegaciones que el PEN ha fundado y mantiene en Mxico, Guadalajara, San Miguel de Allende, Guatemala, Cuba en el Exilio, Nicaragua, Panam, Colombia, Salta, Per, Bolivia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Galicia y Espaa. En un principio, esta entidad se conoci bajo el nombre de Fundacin PEN Amrica Latina ya que, en ese momento, el nfasis del trabajo de sta se rega por una visin mayormente geogrfica. Sin embargo, dados los cambios de perspectiva que se han registrado en los ltimos aos, sobre todo a partir de las Cumbres Iberoamericanas que, desde 1991 han redefinido la relacin entre la Pennsula Ibrica y las naciones latinoamericanas, promoviendo y fortaleciendo los vnculos histricos, culturales, sociales, polticos y lingsticos que ha existido en la regin desde fines del siglo XV, los centros miembros de la Fundacin PEN Amrica Latina optaron durante el Congreso Mundial del PEN celebrado en Mxico en 2003, por cambiar su razn social a Fundacin Iberoamericana con el propsito de incorporar a los centros PEN de la Pennsula Ibrica, y de esta manera, trabajar unidos por la defensa de los derechos sociales y polticos de los escritores de la regin y por la promocin de las lenguas y literaturas de Amrica Latina, de las indgenas correspondientes, de la espaola, gallega, catalana, vasca y portuguesa. Hoy, la Fundacin Iberoamericana, no slo trabaja guiada por un enfoque actualizado y ms acorde con los retos de la geopoltica actual, sino que ha dado excelentes resultados dentro del seno del PEN Internacional, al demostrar cmo un legado cultural comn -el iberoamericano- es capaz de ejemplificar, tanto la semejanza, como el respeto a la diferencia. Tambin y en esa medida, la Fundacin ha sido valiosa en su labor de apoyo a los principios y actividades el PEN Internacional; de colaboracin en el establecimiento de nuevos centros PEN en la regin; de traduccin al espaol y de circulacin de los documentos del PEN; de organizacin de conferencias regionales programadas por los centros PEN adscritos a la Fundacin; de asesora a las delegaciones regionales sobre cmo proceder cuando se promulgan en sus pases leyes mordazas de prensa; de financiacin de pabellones para exponer las obras de los escritores del PEN en algunas ferias internacionales del libro, como la de Guadalajara y Guatemala; y de cooperacin con otros organismos nacionales e internacionales en la integracin educativa de los pases iberoamericanos. No hay duda de que la Fundacin Iberoamericana no slo ha fortalecido y agilizado las relaciones de los escritores de la regin con la sede internacional del PEN en Londres, sino tambin ha creado, entre sus miembros, un espritu de colaboracin intelectual, tolerancia mutua y respeto por la memoria cultural tangible e intangible de sus pueblos, que cumple cabalmente con los principios promulgados en la Carta Fundacional del PEN Internacional. En esa medida, esta entidad sin nimo de lucro, es y ha sido un modelo valioso para conocer, de primera mano, cmo una regin, vinculada poltica, cultural y lingsticamente desde hace varios siglos, es capaz de trabajar, de manera mancomunada, para defender y fortalecer el valioso legado y la correspondencia cultural de sus pueblos, y al mismo tiempo, laborar en armona para alcanzar y poner en practica los fines de un organismo de la observancia y el prestigio del PEN Internacional.

gloria guardia de Alfaro www.fundacioniberoamericanapen.org fundacioniberoamericanapen@gmail.com gloriaguardiadealfaro@gmail.com lucina.kathmann@gmail.com

CONTEXT: LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

International PEN
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Acknowledgements
Cover photograph: Jeinny Solis S. Cuba de Umbral de la palabra de Cecilia Balczar de Bucher 2008 Fondo Editorial Universidad EAFIT, Medelln. In Darkness We Meet: A Conversation with Junot Daz 2008 World Literature Today and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma; reprinted by permission. Two Percent from Niki Aguirres 29 Ways to Drown 2007 flipped eye publishing, London. Extrait du roman Une heure pour lternit de Jean-Claude Fignol 2008 Sabine Wespieser diteur, Paris. Extrait du collection Tango: Le couple, le bal et la scne de Christophe Apprill 2007 ditions Autrement, Paris. Excerpt from The Five Seasons of Love by Joo Almino 2008 HOST Publications, Austin, Texas. Extrait de la srie Rap Stories dOlivier Cachin 2007 ditions Denol, Paris. Excerpt from An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba by Ruth Behar 2007 Rutgers University Press, New Jersey. With thanks to: Paulina Carrasco Arroyo, Pierre Astier, Casimiro de Brito, Melita del Carpio, Karen Efford, Pilar Fernandez, Frank Geary, Peter Gonda, David Hayes, Kamal, Amlie Louat, Edith Malec, Nii Parkes, Daniel Simon, Olivia Snaije, Ana Valds, Gaby Vallejo, Juan Carlos Vlchez, Paul de Zwart. PEN International is supported by uNESCO, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, Bloomberg and an anonymous donor. Editor: Mitchell Albert Special editorial assistants for this issue: Ana Fletcher, Victor Flores, Elizabeth Skelly Design: www.weareunlimited.co.uk Print: MRT Ltd, Bristol, UK Proofreaders: Brandon Hopkins (English), Vincent Rey (French), Ana Fletcher (Spanish)

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