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    Poet Ernesto Cardenal: Henríquez Ureña foretold the theology of liberation
    Poet Ernesto Cardenal: Henríquez Ureña foretold the theology of liberation

    Poet Ernesto Cardenal: Henríquez Ureña foretold the theology of liberation
    Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 04/29/2014

    Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal called Dominican writer and humanist Pedro Henríquez Ureña a prophet of the theology of liberation, because he predicted that the spiritual axis that was previously located in Europe, would travel to this side of the Atlantic, as has already been proven by the election of a Latin American Pope who is revolutionizing not just the Vatican but also the world.

    That is what the revolutionary poet said during his keynote lecture after receiving the Pedro Henríquez Ureña International Award, which was presented to him and to Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano during the opening ceremony of the XVII International Book Fair of Santo Domingo, held in the National Theater.

    With his ​​tiny frame that is inversely proportional to the greatness of his work and his strong arguments, the priest and poet captivated the audience with a vibrant speech in which he addressed a wide range of topics, such as the theology of liberation, Pope Francis’s style and challenges, Henríquez Ureña's work, and religious pluralism.
    His admiration for Henríquez Ureña poured. He said that although Henríquez Ureña did not get to know the theology of liberation, he would have been greatly pleased with it. "He would have been interested in the originality of our America and its cultural independence from Europe. For the first time there was something in Latin America that did not come from the outside, but rather it emerged from within and influenced other regions such as Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania."

    Dressed in jeans and a black jacket, wearing a beret of the same color and using a cane even though he was sitting down, the founder of a contemplative community in the archipelago of Solentiname recalled that Henríquez Ureña lived in Argentina at the time he expressed optimism "about this future homeland of justice, predicting that the spiritual axis would travel to this side of the Atlantic".

    He said that Henríquez Ureña "was a remarkable writer who studied the Americas tirelessly and taught about it until his death. He was a writer very committed to our peoples. His utopia was to have a great country united and strong. For this reason, I think that what he is best known for is his almost monumental work, The Utopia of the Americas, published in Venezuela’s Ayacucho collection."

    Cardenal explained that modern times have led to a new theology in Latin America: religious pluralism, which, he said, is also a form of liberation and part of the reason why all the poor have a religion, although this fact has not made them come together, but rather the opposite.

    He provoked laughter among the audience by stating: "Our America is a land with no name. The one it has was made up in Europe; it is only the name of a cartographer and not even the one of the person who discovered it. Columbus never knew there was a new world; for him, Cuba was China and Haiti was Japan. His accomplishment was discovering a passage to the Indies without giving it a name."

    In his view, the name Latin America was also "forced by Europe" and, therefore, among the followers of the new American theologies of liberation and religious pluralism, many use a Native American name to describe "a large country", which is Abya Yala, from the Kunas of Panama, which means "mature land".

    Cardenal, who at the beginning of his lecture had said that the Pedro Henríquez Ureña International Prize was "very distinguished and not very well deserved," concluded with the recitation of his poem Pasajero de Tránsito en Santo Domingo (Passenger in Transit in Santo Domingo), which he wrote on one occasion when he came to participate in a summit of ministers of culture, a position that, at the time, he held within the government of Nicaragua.

    The Nicaraguan poet is one of the main 70 foreign writers who are participating in the XVII International Book Fair of Santo Domingo.


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