Peruvian Nobel prize-winning writer Mario Vargas Llosa, has called for Spanish-speaking communities around the world to mobilise in support of Spanish speakers in the USA and countries like Mexico, "that have been clearly disrespected" by the new US President, Donald Trump.
Vargas Llosa made the comments in Madrid on Monday, during the closing ceremony of the 'Fundación Telefónica' conference entitled 'El valor económico del español' ('The economic value of Spanish') presided over by the King and Queen, and during the subsequent press conference.
During his speech, he asked those present "not to rest on [their] laurels" saying "it's up to us to look after the Spanish language and to defend it", but without making any specific mention of Donald Trump as one of the threats facing the language that is spoken by more than 550 million people around the world.
Addressing the press after the conference, he argued that languages need to be defended "when they face a specific danger, as is the case with Spanish in the USA", where "it has put down very deep roots" and where "there are at least 50 million Spanish speakers who don't want to give up their native tongue".
Asked whether Trump represented a threat in this sense, the Hispano-Peruvian author commented, "there are some very worrying symptoms, which derive in some way from the difficult situation in which Spanish-speaking communities in the USA find themselves". "I believe," he went on, "that all Spanish-speaking communities around the world should mobilise in solidarity, not only with them, but also with countries that have been clearly disrespected by the new American leader, like Mexico".
"Nowadays, Spanish is not a vulnerable language", the Nobel prizewinning writer went on, "but our institutions, the States that represent this enormous community of societies where Spanish is spoken, should unite when our language comes under threat, as has clearly been the case recently".
In response to the question as to whether Spain had done enough to defend its language, Vargas Llosa said he didn't believe "any Spanish-speaking country had done what it should have done", but added that "fortunately languages defend themselves". "Now is the time for them to receive a moment of support," he added, "as that's what gives them greater strength and fortitude and guarantees their expansion".
The King, for his part, called for more value to be placed on the Spanish language "in all possible areas" and defended the importance of a language that had succeeded in "upholding its unity within diversity".
"Our language represents not only an immense cultural treasure," he said, "but also an extraordinary source of real, tangible, economic wealth, both present and future".