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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la inauguración de la Feria del Libro de Miami

Teatro Olympia. Miami. Florida (EE.UU.), 17.11.2013

5​00 years ago, Juan Ponce de León spotted the beaches of what he thought was just another island in the Caribbean Sea. Books have taught us that Ponce de León set foot on the woodland where we happily meet today the day of Pascua Florida. Precisely he named this land, unknown to him, after a word that was very familiar to him: La Florida. Indeed, we all feel the need to organise our world through words.

El español es una lengua universal, —segundo idioma de comunicación internacional—, que abarca múltiples nacionalidades y geografías. Una lengua hablada por casi 500 millones de personas, propia de una comunidad abierta, diversa y dinámica, la hispana; que ya supera los 50 millones aquí, en los Estados Unidos.

Y Florida es fiel reflejo de esa variedad de matices y de la coexistencia enriquecedora de una identidad hispana con otras de muchos orígenes diferentes. Miami en particular es una ciudad con multitud de acentos en ‒y del‒ español: cubanos, venezolanos, puertorriqueños, dominicanos. A ellos se suman los de ciudadanos de España y de otros países de Iberoamérica que siguen llegando atraídos por el dinamismo de esta gran ciudad.

En este contexto, lo hispano, con su cultura y valores ‒y lo español, como hemos recordado también en nuestra etapa californiana de este viaje‒ realizan una aportación decisiva a la identidad común estadounidense.

Today, it is a great honor for Spain to be your special guest at the Miami Book Fair International, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. The fact that this coincides with the 500 years of Ponce de León’s arrival to Florida is especially joyful, for it helps us highlight everything that unites our two countries: history, values, culture... and more specifically, the Spanish language; the most valuable treasure we share with so many U.S. citizens and with all those who live in that vast “land of La Mancha”, as our dear friend and Cervantes Prize winner Carlos Fuentes called it.

For these reasons, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the heads of Miami Dade College, to its President Eduardo Padrón and to Mithel Kaplán who had the vision of creating this important cultural event and especially to the team from the Center for Literature and Theatre. We know the efforts it took and the enthusiasm that drove you before and during the organisation of this tribute. We praise the work you carried out together with our people from the world of books in Spain.

Today, our country is known for excelling in both the cultural industry and in creativity. At the Fair, we wish to present different genres: you will get to know Spanish essayists, narrative and play writers, children’s and young adult book authors, illustrators and graphic novelists. But this Fair is essentially a gathering of all literature in Spanish, and for this, we are establishing a dialogue with a selection of authors from this side of the Atlantic that will bear witness to the strength of Hispanic literature.

El español es una lengua universal, —segundo idioma de comunicación internacional—, que abarca múltiples nacionalidades y geografías. Una lengua hablada por casi 500 millones de personas, propia de una comunidad abierta, diversa y dinámica, la hispana; que ya supera los 50 millones aquí, en los Estados Unidos

The written word is the keystone of our language and literature, and it has been so in Florida since the XVI century; books, manuscripts, engravings surrounded the Spaniards on their voyages to new lands; long journeys carrying Quijotes, Lazarillos, Celestinas, Guzmanes and Lope de Vega´s plays that would travel across this continent. The voyage has been certainly rewarding. There is no doubt that it is appropriate ‒ even necessary‒ to approach Spanish and Latin American literatures jointly. We are happy, then, that the participation of Spanish authors will be enhanced by that of writers from across the entire Spanish-speaking world.

Yet, we shall not only introduce you to celebrities from the literary world; after listening to suggestions from the Miami Dade College ‒and supporting them‒, we will present you with a sample of diverse Spanish artistic and cultural manifestations. Across the coming days, you will have the chance to enjoy a wide array of cultural activities ranging from gastronomy to music. We trust that this Fair and other initiatives lead you to our books, those written in Spanish or their English translations.

Let us keep in mind that the United States is one of the major driving forces for the global presence of Spanish language and culture. So, on the occasion of these 500 years, it is our wish to bring a cultural agenda for 2013 that reflects this common legacy, but that also samples the current Spanish creative scene.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Only a month ago I had the privilege to attend the opening ceremony of the 6th International Congress of the Spanish Language in Panama, precisely devoted to “Spanish in books”. We were also celebrating there, the 500th anniversary of another Spanish discovery to European eyes: the Pacific Ocean ‒“el Mar del Sur”‒, by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, with his Indian guides.

In Panama I was able to hear the words of Nobel Prize winner Vargas Llosa, who made an appeal to “nurture our language by opening its windows to let in other foreign languages ‒that will enhance it‒, and not to shut ourselves in, away from other languages”. He appealed to “maintaining its unity and fecundity”.  So, Spain, at this Fair in Miami, wishes to share with you that rich and open literature.

It is our hope that this Fair that we open today, and the city of Miami, be the point where our geographies converge; that these 30 years since the Fair’s beginnings, and our 500-year-old common history, both be additional reasons to celebrate the heritage we share; one that has created a dynamic, plural and vibrant society.

In this society, we extend further ties ‒new, invisible but strong ties‒ created with books, with written words... the very culture that unites us.

Thank you.

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