Palma de Mallorca – Writer Carlos Fuentes called in an interview with Efe over the weekend for taking bold action to fight drug trafficking in Mexico.
"We should decriminalize drugs and seek help from the Israeli, French or German police, because of their good officers, to deal with crime," Fuentes said before receiving the Formentor de las Letras prize.
The Mexican writer, known for his interest in social and political causes, told Efe that the attack by drug traffickers last Thursday on a casino in the northern city of Monterrey that left 53 people dead had really affected him.
"Until steps are taken to legalize drugs and agreements are reached with the United States, which is the market for drugs, and effective domestic action is not taken by the police, the drug gangs will defeat Mexico's army and its unarmed society," Fuentes said.
The writer has joined former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, erstwhile Colombian President Cesar Gaviria and Brazil's former head of state, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, on a working group that seeks to create a drug-free culture and is dealing with the issue of legalization.
"Drugs are a universal, not local, problem, and you cannot allege that Mexican sovereignty is intact, because it is not. Why not then use the most effective police groups to deal with gangs that only understand the language of violence?" the 82-year-old Fuentes told Efe during the interview at the Hotel Formentor.
The awarding of the Formentor de las Letras prize, created by Seix Barral in 1961, was interrupted in 1967.
The Formentor de las Letras prize, which carries a cash award of 50,000 euros ($72,500), has been won by Borges, Beckett, Semprum and Gombrovicz, among others.
Fuentes, the author of "La muerte de Artemio Cruz," will be presenting his new book, "La gran novela latinoamericana" (Alfaguara), a work that reviews the evolution of this form of narrative in the region, this week in Barcelona.
The Mexican writer will also become the honorary president of the Formentor de las Letras prize jury.
"The prize was interrupted for political reasons in Spain, it later had to emigrate to other places and in the end it was interrupted, but the important thing is to recover the original spirit, which is to create literature, and especially at a difficult time since all of the world is staring at a screen and not at books," Fuentes said.
The prize, sponsored by the Barcelo family and the Buadas Rotger family, will be given out annually to an international literary figure in an effort to expand the list of writers who have passed through Mallorca, where gatherings of writers were organized in the past by Camilo Jose Cela and Carlos Barral.