The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa said that he will voice his ideas freely during his upcoming trip to Venezuela and that this need not frighten anyone, in response to an official warning from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that he could be exiled from the country if he tries to discredit the government of Hugo Chávez.
In an interview with the Lima daily La Republica, the writer said: "I have my ideas and I express them freely wherever I am. Furthermore, I always express them with dignity, so of course I'm going to do so in Venezuela."
"I have been invited by Venezuela, by an institution that defends the same ideas I defend: democracy, freedom, peaceful coexistence, the rejection of all forms of violence in human relations and political activity. And I believe that these ideas are respected in any country, including Venezuela," he added.
When asked about the possibility of being exiled from his country, the writer said he hoped "that doesn’t happen. Venezuela has always been a very hospitable country and I hope it remains so. We are going to a meeting where he will discuss ideas. Nobody is coming with destabilization in mind. It will be an intellectual presentation, and that need not frighten anyone."
On Monday the PSUV warned that Vargas Llosa would be exiled if he tried to "discredit the government” of Chavez during next week’s visit to Caracas to participate in a symposium on freedom and democracy.
"Mario Vargas Llosa comes with provocation in mind. The PSUV will support any government decision, such as exiling a person who comes here to discredit us," David Medina, a PSUV member, told the press.
"We want to warn these intellectuals who are about to come to the country. They come to provoke us, to create scandal, and to start a smear campaign over the issue of freedom of expression," he added.
Other participants in this symposium include Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, Colombian writer Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, and intellectual and former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda.