On Monday international judges awarded Jorge Veraza the Liberator Prize for Critical Thought 2011, a prize worth US$ 150,000, which aims to reward writers who critically analyse global world reality from a stance of defending humanity.
Veraza’s manuscript ‘On Marx’s Reunion with Latin America in the Time of Global Civilised Degradation’, edited by the Bolivian vice-presidency, will also be published by Venezuela’s culture ministry as part of the prize.
Veraza, a writer and analyst of Marxism, has taught at Mexico City’s UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). He is currently teaching at the UAM (Autonomous Metropolitan University). The academic also wrote the ‘Political Economy of Water’.
The Liberator Prize was created in 2005 and is open to all Spanish manuscripts written in the year leading up to its awarding, and rewards alternative critical thought that challenges the dominant ideology. Judges select manuscripts they feel contribute to the clarification of urgent problems and lay the basis for a “just and peaceful world”.
This year’s judges consisted of Ignacio Ramonet (Spain/France), Fernando Martinez Heredia (Cuba), Monica Bruckman (Brazil), and Luis Britto Garcia and German Yepez Colmenares (both from Venezuela).
The judges characterised Veraza as “one of the most important Marxist thinkers in the world” and his winning book as an “original and rigorous contribution to analysis of contemporary capitalism”.
According to the minister for culture, Pedro Calzadilla, the government will print 5,000 copies of the winning book, in a first print run.
The Liberator Prize “is going to put Venezuela in the limelight, as it brings together the best of critical thought,” Calzadilla said.
Previous winners include Hungarian Istvan Meszaros for his work ‘The Challenge and Weight of Historical Time; Socialism in the 21st Century’, Argentine Enrique Dussel for ‘Politics of Liberation’, and Spanish writers Carlos Fernandez and Luis Alegre for ‘The Order of Capital’.
The Venezuelan government aims to strengthen alternative left wing intellectual thought, and has created other initiatives towards this aim such as the International Philosophy Forum and the Network of Intellectuals and Artists.