Sergio Ramírez visits Bucknell for lecture on journalism

Sal Iovino, Digital Managing Editor

Prolific Nicaraguan writer and former Vice President of Nicaragua Sergio Ramírez Mercado visited campus on Nov. 9, delivering a lecture on the value of journalism and the fight against authoritarianism—two topics that resonate deeply with his own career. 

Ramírez was introduced by Bucknell Assistant Professor of Studio Art Eddy Lopez, who gave a brief description of Ramírez’s work and career throughout the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, summarizing his role as the Vice President as well as his extensive career as a novelist. 

Lopez highlighted Ramírez’s most recent publication “Tongolele no Sabía Bailar” and how it resulted in his political exile from Nicaragua within recent years.

The lecture began with a question from Ramírez; is it possible to mix two jobs—that of the writer and that of the politician? 

He then proceeded to answer his own question, saying that for himself, he must consult his own life and experience. Widely seen as Nicaragua’s most widely known writer despite various attempts to censor his works, Ramírez emphasized that the role of a journalist or a writer, whether in the safest or most dangerous of political or social circumstances, is not that of a missionary, but that of a person with a civic duty to write the truth of their nation and that nation’s people. 

This message was followed by a comparison between “private” and “public” life, the latter of which Ramírez described as the image of a nation and a general pulse on its wellbeing, with the former being the area in which journalists and novelists investigate and are able to portray the truth through. 

He stressed the importance of understanding people and individual stories, and as he described it, representing the “lowercase stories in the capital ‘H’ history.”

The lecture concluded in a bilingual Q&A session, where Ramírez fielded questions from both students and faculty in Spanish and English alike. 

When asked why Ramírez felt discussions of this type were important at places like universities, he said “the academic community is a place to form ideas,” furthering the notion that presentations such as the one he gave are simply a starting point for individuals to go out into the world and take action with. 

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics Ivan Velasquez also was asked for comment on why he felt the event was important to Bucknell.

“It is important to understand the globe through people who were involved directly and within their own country,” Ramírez said. “It’s important for students at Bucknell to have the Latin American perspective when thinking about these [political] issues.”

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