Venezuelan Culture Minister Freddy Ñañez apologized to Colombian writer Pablo Montoya, who still has not received the $100,000 accompanying the Romulo Gallegos international novel award he won last year, the author said Tuesday.

"When I went to receive the prize, the friends of the Romulo Gallegos Foundation asked me to have a little patience. In fact, a few days ago Minister Freddy Ñañez called me, apologized and said he was going to do everything possible to expedite" the payment, Montoya said in an interview with the Caracas daily El Universal.

The author, who received the award for his work "Triptico de la infamia," said that he had "no problem waiting," adding that he is neither "impatient nor mad" about the delay and denying that the situation tarnishes the prestige of the prize bestowed every four years by the Venezuelan state via the foundation.

"What the Romulo Gallegos Prize represents is so much more important than the economic amount. It's an award that puts you in the literary arena," said Montoya, adding that he is "aware of the situation" of economic crisis besetting Venezuela.

"So, I've had patience and I had decided not to say anything, to be discrete," he said after emphasizing that El Universal "is the first media outlet" with which he had discussed the matter.

He also said that he had not authorized publisher Sergio Dahbar to publicly discuss the matter, although last week the latter did so on the social networks.

"He never asked me for authorization to publish it on Twitter. I told him that first I had to speak with the minister before taking any step or making a statement," Montoya said. EFE