Arturo Uslar Pietri
Arturo Uslar Pietri
Arturo Uslar Pietri photographed by Alejandro Toro Camacho Born Died Occupation Nationality Period Notable work(s) Signature 16 May 1906Caracas 26 February 2001 (aged 94)Caracas novelist, writer Venezuelan 1931–2001 Las Lanzas Coloradas
Arturo Uslar Pietri (16 May 1906 – 26 February 2001) was one of the most prominentVenezuelan figures of the twentieth century. He was a writer and an intellectual, who made important contributions as an educator, journalist, diplomat, politician and government official.
Life and career
Born in Caracas, Uslar Pietri was raised partly there and partly in Maracay (state of Aragua) where he published several short stories in youth magazines. He studied Political Science in theUniversidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and shortly after moved to Paris as a member of the Venezuelan diplomatic delegation. In Paris he met many Latin American writers and became a good friend of Alejo Carpentier and Miguel Ángel Asturias. One of his most celebrated books was written during his stay in France. In 1931 he published Las Lanzas Coloradas a historical novel set in revolutionaryVenezuela. When the 27-year-long dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez ended with the dictator's death in 1935, Uslar Pietri became active in the political debate, writing opinion articles in the local press. One of those articles, published on 14 July 1936, included a phrase that is still remembered and has both become an inspiration and a recrimination of
Arturo Uslar Pietri Venezuela's fate as anoil producer and exporter. The title of that article was Sembrar el petróleo (to sow or plant oil) a metaphor he created to encourage Venezuelan leaders to invest oil wealth on sustainable growth. In 1939, at the age of 33 he married Isabel Braun Kerdel with whom he had two sons, Arturo and Federico Uslar Braun (both deceased). That same year he became Minister of Education. He founded a politicalparty Partido Democrático Venezolano and joined the Legislative Assembly as a Deputy in 1944. In 1945 he had been appointed Minister of the Interior, but political turmoil forced him to leave the country and move to New York in 1948. During his stay in New York he taught at Columbia University. He returned to Venezuela two years later and resumed his political activities as a Senator. In the 1963presidential election he ran for the Venezuelan Presidency as a third party candidate, placing fourth with 16% of the vote. After this defeat, he stayed active in politics as a Senator but gradually distanced himself from the political fray. He became Director of the Caracas news daily El Nacional from 1969 to 1974, when he traveled to Paris as Venezuelan Ambassador at UNESCO. On his return in1979, he concentrated on writing and education. He became a familiar face on a weekly educational television show written and directed by Henrique Lazo, called Valores Humanos, a show focusing on history and the arts that started in 1953. Uslar Pietri died in Caracas on 26 February 2001 at the age of 94. His only surviving son, Federico Alfredo Uslar Braun, died in Caracas in 2007.
•• • • • • • El Nacional Best Short Story Award (1949) National Prize for Literature (1954 and 1982) National Journalism Award (1971) The Miguel de Cervantes Hispanic-American Journalism Award (1972) Prince of Asturias Award (1990) Légion d'honneur Grand-Croix (Grand Cross) (1990) Rómulo Gallegos Prize for Best Novel (1991)
• • • • • • • (1931) Las Lanzas coloradas. (1947) Elcamino de El Dorado. (1962) Un retrato en la geografía. (1964) Estación de máscaras. (1976) Oficio de difuntos. (1981) La isla de Robinsón (1990) La visita en el tiempo.
Essays • (1945) Las visiones del camino. • (1945) Sumario de economía venezolana para alivio de estudiantes. • (1948) Letras y hombres de Venezuela. • (1949) De una a otra Venezuela. • (1949) Treinta hombre y sus sombras. •...