Cover story In English Voices From Spain

Full text of Mario Vargas Llosa’s resignation letter from PEN Club International

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Originally published in Spanish: Carta íntegra de la renuncia de Mario Vargas Llosa al PEN Club Internacional. Mario Vargas Llosa. ABC.


Madrid, January 22nd 2019.

Mrs. Jennifer Clement, president of PEN International

Esteemed Jennifer,

I hereby surrender my irrevocable resignation from PEN International, of which I was president from 1977 to 1980, and of which I am president emeritus to this day. My resignation pertains to the statement, full of lies and calumnies, that you just issued against Spain’s democratic regime regarding the secessionist coup attempt during September 6th-7th and October 1st of 2017. It is a disgrace that an organization like PEN International, with spotless credentials in its defense of human rights and freedom of speech, embrace the lies of the PEN Catalonian centre, a militant organ of Catalonian secessionism, which has been running an international campaign to distort the truth and that, judging by your statement, has managed to surprise many PEN centres, among them some from Latin America, painting Spain as a country that rides roughshod over free speech and jails dissident and critical writers.

That is all of an essential falsehood, the work of those who, in their seditious eagerness for an independent Catalonia, do not hesitate to lie. Catalonian secessionists are entitled to all the democratic rights to express their points of view with the support of newspapers, radio stations and TV channels that broadcast over the whole country without any restriction whatsoever. Those who are in jail or fled and are going to be judged by the Supreme Court, do not find themselves in such predicament because of what they believe and support, but for having been an active part in a coup attempt that, against the Constitution and laws of Spanish democracy, sought an arbitrary and non-consulted secession.

No democratic country could have accepted such a breach of a territorial integrity founded five centuries ago. That PEN International abandon its long-established neutrality about internal political affairs and, in this case, give its moral and institutional backing to a racist and supremacist movement such as the Catalonian secessionist movement, constitutes a betrayal of PEN International’s bylaws and no true democrat writer should endorse it.

I beg that you convey my resignation letter to all PEN International centres.

Yours sincerely,

Mario Vargas Llosa.

Back To Top