Fernando Benítez, centenario

“Mi mérito, si tengo alguno, es reconocer el talento.

 No lo he descubierto, sólo he estimulado

a los que lo tienen, lo que es diferente”.

Fernando Benítez


Hacia el ocaso del año, en la sala principal del Palacio de Bellas Artes, el poeta José Emilio Pacheco, el narrador Carlos Fuentes y el diseñador Vicente Rojo se reunieron para conmemorar al uno de los más notables impulsores de la cultura en México, a cien años de su nacimiento.

Fernando Benítez es considerado el creador del periodismo cultural en nuestro país; fue un personaje de múltiples roles, fungiendo como novelista histórico, ensayista, antropólogo, historiador, profesor y sobre todo periodista. Su motor fue la cultura en todas sus formas y formatos.

La fecha exacta de su nacimiento es incierta, unos afirman sucedió el 10 de enero de 1912 en la Ciudad de México, otros, apuntan, ocurrió en los días sucesivos, el 16 del mismo mes. Se inició, sin embargo, en el periodismo hacia 1934 como colaborador de Revista de Revistas y fue profesor de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales de la UNAM por muchos años, desde donde impulsó a varias generaciones de periodistas y escritores.

Dirigió los diarios El nacional, Daily News y Diario de la tarde. Poseía un sentido crítico independiente y comprometido con la verdad, fue un gran divulgador de la cultura mexicana en períodos brillantes del pensar nacional a través de los suplementos que encabezó, entre los que destacan: Revista Mexicana de Cultura, México en la cultura, La Cultura en México, Sábado, La Jornada Semanal y Libros de La Jornada.

Su papel fue tan importante para el acontecer cultural de nuestro país que se ve reflejado en dichas publicaciones, centros de creación y de debate en donde colaboraron reconocidos intelectuales y en donde se formaron los escritores que hoy admiramos.

Además de periodista, reportero y ensayista polémico, Benítez fue un gran escritor. Entre sus textos destacan: Los indios de México, El agua envenenada y El Rey Viejo, en los cuales manifestó la necesidad de incorporar a las culturas indígenas centenarias al México moderno, siempre respetando sus costumbres y creencias. Como él mismo apuntó después de su labor: “Comprendí que no había un México sino muchos Méxicos”.

El homenaje en Bellas Artes fue una sesión repleta de anécdotas que buscaban reflejar el carácter de Benítez, el creador de suplementos fundamentales en los cuales se formaron algunos de los escritores y artistas que hoy día resultan referentes. No es azaroso que los panelistas principales fueran ejemplos de ello: Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco, Vicente Rojo.

Fueron ellos quienes recordaron el año de 1961, cuando a Fernando Benítez le pidieron la renuncia en el suplemento México en la cultura, que editó durante 13 años en el diario Novedades. El trascendido mayor de entonces fue que dicho acto desencadenó numerosas renuncias en un gesto insólito de solidaridad que no se había visto hasta entonces en la historia del periodismo mexicano, un gesto que no se vería sino muchos años después, cuando el mítico “golpe a Excélsior” en julio de 1976.

Carlos Fuentes aseguró que el mejor homenaje que se le puede rendir a quien es considerado “el creador del periodismo cultural moderno en México”, es volver a leer su obra, porque eso sería como acercarse al siglo XX en México.

Desde la perspectiva de José Emilio Pacheco, no se puede concebir al México contemporáneo sin los suplementos de Benítez, de ahí su convencimiento de que la memoria de nuestro país tiene una deuda con él. “Siempre me ha conmovido pensar que Fernando Benítez fue el continuador de Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, quien sobre la patria en ruinas luchó por levantar el edificio de las letras y de las artes, como una respuesta y una barrera contra ola de sangre y de barbarie.”



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