Renowned leftist historian, writer and activist Paco Ignacio Taibo II confirmed he has accepted Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s offer to head Mexico’s most prestigious state publishing house, the Economic Culture Fund (FCE)
“I did a series of propositions, we had a meeting, we talked, we agree,” said Taibo, “Andres will announce the situation very soon.”
Taibo and Lopez Obrador first had a discussion when their paths crossed ahead of a march, on October 2, which honored hundreds of victims of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre.
The writer has expressed commitment to familiarize himself with all the state apparatus, company economics, editorial policy, workers’ condition and the publication's impact on society to effectively and efficiently carry out the new task.
Taibo also reassured he will not abandon his Reading in Freedom Brigades duties, his life as a writer or his political affiliation with the National Renewal Movement (Morena), but stated he would make the new appointment a priority.
“A work like this will take me many hours away, day and night, and I will need to limit my involvement in other fields to the possibilities,” he explained.
Taibo founded the Reading in Freedom Brigades, an association that promotes reading and history knowledge throughout the country through workshops, reading programs and distributing free books.
The historian notably hosted teleSUR’s ‘Los Nuestros’ (One of Us) documentary series about historical, social movements across Latin America. The program featured episodes on John Reed, Roque Dalton and the Yaqui people.
In an opinion piece, published after Lopez Obrador became president-elect of Mexico, Taibo was charged to denounce a smear campaign launched against him by right-wingers, who framed the author as a dissent among Morena’s ranks.
Taibo did criticize the party’s unwillingness to backtrack on privatization processes started by the current administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, specifically Alfonso Romo - Lopez Obrador’s future chief of staff - saying “[Mexico] will be a paradise for foreign investors.”
“I reaffirm my absolute support to the governments of Andres Manuel and Claudia Sheinbaum,” Taibo wrote at the time, “but a critical support from the left. The broad front that Andres created to win the elections has to get rid of conservatives hidden in the closet, frogs and cowards, addicted to servility that will be of little help…”
During the election campaigns, rumors linked Taibo to the Culture Secretary position, but Jose Alfonso Suarez del Real was chosen.
“I think it was a good choice, he will certainly do it better than me, little apt to political correctness and formalities of the public servant’s life,” the activist said about Suarez del Real's appointment.
Taibo is also widely recognized for biographical works on Ernesto Guevera and Francisco Villa, as well as his crime novels.
The FCE has published over 10,000 titles in a wide range of genres, ranging from philosophy to biology, as well as literature and children books. The institution maintains 28 libraries across Mexico, in addition to 10 others in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, Guatemala, Peru and Venezuela.