Building peace in the minds of men and women

Cuban poet Roberto Fernández Retamar to receive 2019 International UNESCO/José Martí Prize

23 January 2019


© Archivo Fotográfico de la Casa de las Américas / Abel Carmenate

Roberto Fernández Retamar (Cuba) will be awared the 2019 International UNESCO/José Martí Prize in recognition of his advocacy work for justice, the rights of children, ethical values, the dignity of each man and woman and the fight against racism.

The Award Ceremony will take place on 28 January in Havana, Cuba, during the Fourth International Conference “For World Balance”.

Roberto Fernández Retamar is a Cuban poet, essayist, literary critic and President of Casa de las Américas*. His life has been dedicated to the study, teaching and dissemination of the works of José Martí, at the University and at the ‘Centro de Estudios Martianos” he founded, through his books and the José Martí Chairs that he helped establish. He was awarded Cuba's most prestigious literary award, the National Prize for Literature, in 1989.

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, named Fernández Retamar on the recommendation of an international jury of experts.

UNESCO created the International UNESCO/José Martí Prize in 1994 at the initiative of the Government of Cuba. The Prize aims to promote equality, solidarity and human rights. It rewards outstanding contributions by organizations and individuals to the cause of Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration based on respect for cultural traditions and humanist values. Laureates receive a diploma and US$5,000.

Previous laureates include: Mexican surgeon Alfonso Herrera Franyutti (2016), Brazilian friar Frei Betto (2013) and Argentinian political scientist Atilio Borón (2009).


* Casa de las Américas is cultural organization founded by the Cuban Government in 1959 to foster socio-cultural relations between the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. It received the UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts in 2017.


Media Contact: Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, UNESCO Press,, +33(0)1456817 02


More Information on the International UNESCO/José Martí Prize


Read in the UNESCO Courier publications written by Roberto Fernández Retamar:

DEBUNKING 'THE BLACK LEGEND' A hard look at the historical role of Spain in Latin America, 1997

Caliban's revenge, 1981

Mixed metamorphosis, 1983