The Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa said that journalist murders in Mexico are partly the fault of journalists for reporting on things that didn't use to be reported before as well as freedom of the press.
In an interview with Aristegui, the Peruvian writer Vargas Llosa talked about Mexico, which he once called the “perfect dictatorship,” and finds it much more favorable nowadays, despite the new 2017 murder record.
“There is much more freedom of the press in Mexico now than 20 years ago, without a doubt,” said Vargas Llosa in the phone interview. “The fact that there are more than 100 journalists murdered in Mexico is in great part due to freedom of the press that now allows journalists to say things that weren't allowed.”
In 2017 at least 12 journalists were killed in Mexico in crimes related to their professional activity, becoming the most dangerous country in the world to be a journalist, and Vargas Llosa thinks it's their own fault.
But he also thinks the drug cartels have at least a little responsibility in the murder of journalists. “Drug trafficking plays a central role in all that,” said Vargas Llosa, “in many cases the root of the problems are drug trafficking and very powerful cartels that exude violence with atrocious political consequences.”
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governed the country continuously for many decades without real opposition, and it was known that their designated candidate for president was the only real candidate. At that time, Vargas Llosa called the PRI regime a “perfect dictatorship,” but now that the PRI is back in power, he thinks democracy in Mexico is in a much better shape.
“In the times of the perfect dictatorship there was some kind of ritual that took place every certain years, but we already knew who was the designated candidate that would be chosen. That doesn't happen anymore. Now there's uncertainty because elections are much more free than before.”
The “uncertainty” he talked about might be in reference of the poll-leading candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who may become the first left-wing president in Mexico since the General Lazaro Cardenas left the office in 1940.
But now he's worried that Lopez Obrador might actually win the July 1st elections and has started a crusade against him.
During a book presentation earlier this month, Vargas Llosa expressed his feelings regarding Lopez Obrador, saying he would lead Mexico backward into “a populist and demagogue democracy.”
“Some countries prefer suicide. I hope that's not the case because it would be very tragic for Mexico, where some things are going wrong while others are really well. Let's hope populism doesn't win in Mexico.”
Being a leftist in his early adulthood, he started to support more neoliberal policies during the 1980s and now he is known for his controversial and more than often unpopular opinions.
Less than 24 hours before his comments on freedom of the press being guilty of the killings of journalists, the Nobel Prize laureate published a highly controversial article in the Spanish journal El Pais called “New Inquisition,” in which he compares feminism to the Spanish Inquisition.
“The most determined enemy of literature, pretending to purify it of machismo, multiple prejudices and immorality is feminism.”
In his article, Vargas Llosa says feminism replaced the Spanish Inquisition, saying they both intend to demonize writers that “defy moral and orthodoxy.”
“Not all feminists, of course, but the most radical and those who, paralyzed by the fear of being considered reactionaries, ultras and phallocentric, openly support this anti-literary and anti-cultural offensive,” wrote Vargas Llosa.