Montreal, November 12, 2014 – The MEI is proud to announce the appearance in bookstores today of a booklet containing the transcript of a poignant speech by Mario Vargas Llosa on his intellectual trajectory from Marxism to liberalism.
This booklet, entitled My Intellectual Journey, is based on a very moving and fascinating talk Mr. Vargas Llosa gave in Montreal last year at an MEI gala event. “He explained how he came to be an admirer at one time of Fidel Castro’s Cuban experiment, as were many Latin American and other intellectuals of his generation. His enthusiasm began to wane when he learned of the concentration camps to which were sent a mix of dissidents, common criminals, and homosexuals,” says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.
Through his meeting with Castro, his visit to the USSR in 1966 and the influence of authors like Karl Popper, Raymond Aron and George Orwell, he was gradually led to a different vision, one of tolerance, democracy, and the importance of freedom, including economic freedom.
According to Mr. Vargas Llosa, it is this vision of liberalism that has allowed Latin America in recent decades to free itself from military dictatorships, populist economic policies, poverty and social injustice. Cuba is no longer a model for anyone. And other than Venezuela, “an anachronism” as he puts it, Latin America is a region that is democratizing and modernizing.
To coincide with the release of the booklet, the Montreal Economic Institute sent a letter along with a copy of the booklet to Fidel Castro, and also to Quebec Professor Léo-Paul Lauzon, an avowed admirer of the dictator. “To this day, Cuba is an island prison from which thousands of people attempt to flee by homemade raft every year, a perilous journey that an estimated one in four do not survive. The issues raised by Vargas Llosa are not abstract; Marxism has had, and continues to have, disastrous effects on the lives of millions of people,” concludes Michel Kelly-Gagnon.
The booklet also includes French and Spanish versions of the talk. It is available in bookstores across Quebec as of today thanks to a distribution agreement with Gallimard. A video of the talk can be viewed on our website.
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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.
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