Cuba: Havana Book Fair Opens with a Certain Smell of Oil

The unusual invitation to Algeria as the guest country of honor of the Havana International Book Fair 2019, together with the presence of other Islamic countries such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates, all producers of hydrocarbons, but few books to offer to the public, gives a distinctive note to the February 7-17 cultural event in the Cuban capital.

The morning of Friday the 8th was the first day of sales at the Fair, located in a large area in and around the La Cabaña Fortress, a military-historical park that covers a dozen hectares in its interior. There, according to the organizers, are stands corresponding to more than forty countries, representing dozens of foreign publishing houses, together with Cuban ones, the latter all state run.

If the visitor is eager to obtain Arab literature, not normally available on our island, and thought to take advantage of the occasion by the special invitation to Algeria, there was only disappointment. The area dedicated to the Algerians is only on exhibition, with no sales whatsoever, in addition to offering only a scant sampling in Arabic and certain texts in French.


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