National Social Sciences Prize Goes to Minister of the Economy During the Special Period

José Luis Rodríguez García, who has been recognized for his work in Economics, was Cuba’s Minister of the Economy during the Special Period. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 January 2021 — Cuba delivered the national prize for Social and Humanistic Sciences on Thursday to José Luis Rodríguez García, Minister of Economy and Planning during the Special Period and currently a deputy in the parliament.

According to the jury, he received the award for “sustained contributions in the field of economic science and historical science in the specialty of economics, the systematic work aimed at covering deficiencies in the knowledge of a branch of knowledge that is key to understanding the political, social and economic development of Cuba.”

In the minutes, the committee, chaired by Isabel Monal –- who has a doctorate in Philosophy and is considered by Ecured as “one of the great intellectuals of the revolutionary period” — notes that they took into account Rodríguez García’s decision-making qualities and “his ability to elucidate problems and provide essential elements of judgment to solve them, especially in a sociopolitical scenario as complex as that of the 1990s.”

Rodríguez was also vice president of the Council of Ministers and a member of the Council of State; he was part of the Scientific Council of the Raúl Roa Kourí Institute of International Relations; and is a specialist in Cuban Economy and International Economic Relations. He has also been a professor of “generations of economists” on the island.

Also yesterday, two important literary awards were announced.

The writer Julio Travieso Serrano won the 2021 National Prize for Literature “for the extraordinary merits of his narrative work, the rigor of his prose, where language, imagination and a solid structure excel,” according to the jury’s ruling, headed by Miguel Barnet Lanza, honorary president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (Uneac) and deputy.

Of the author, whose work includes several stories and novels, it has also been highlighted that “his clean, simple and diaphanous prose is an effective instrument of a narrative discourse of undoubted scope in the context of current Cuban literature.”

Travieso studied Law at the University of Havana and a Master of Science in Moscow, where he also received a doctorate in Economics from the Latin American Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Despite his training away from letters, Russia awarded him the AS Pushkin Order for his literary career.

He has taught in Mexico, Spain and Russia, as well as in the Cuban capital and is a member of Uneac. Among his best known works are Cuando la noche muera (When the night dies) and Llueve sobre La Habana (Raining over Havana).  

Meanwhile, Norberto Codina Boeras won the National Editing Award. The jury, headed by writer and editor Alex Pausides, highlighted his “permanent leadership in La Gaceta de Cuba, one of the most important periodicals of the last three decades.”

The citation adds that the magazine “has managed to draw a map of the best of current Cuban literature and has been in each of the cultural milestones of recent times, with undoubted repercussions in the artistic field and beyond.”


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