July 8, 2002

Cuban Cintio Vitier wins Juan Rulfo Prize

                 GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- Cuban poet and writer Cintio Vitier was
                 named winner of the prestigious Juan Rulfo Prize for literature on Monday.

                 "I didn't expect anything like this," Vitier said by telephone relay during the
                 announcement ceremony. "It has really moved me."

                 Vitier, 80, is one of Cuba's most-honored writers and critics but is less-known
                 outside the island and is little-published in English.

                 The award jury called him "one of the most important writers of his generation" and
                 said he was "an authentic humanist."

                 The award for Latin American, Caribbean or Spanish or Portuguese literature is
                 sponsored by the Guadalajara International Book Fair, which will take place
                 November 30 through December 8 this year.

                 Vitier won Cuba's National Literature Prize in 1988. In May this year, Cuban
                 President Fidel Castro gave him the Order of Jose Marti for his studies of the
                 Cuban independence hero. Vitier is honorary president of Cuba's Center for Marti

                 Born in Key West, Florida, in 1921, Vitier attended a school started by his father in
                 Matanzas, Cuba, and graduated as an attorney from the University of Havana in
                 1947 -- three years before Castro graduated from the same department.

                 His works prose such as "From Pena Pobre," volumes of poems such as
                 "Evenings" and "Testimonies" and books of criticism of literature and culture.

                 Vitier is known as a devout Catholic layman as well as a loyal revolutionary.

                 His son, Jose Maria Vitier, is one of Cuba's most famous musicians, the composer
                 of the "Misa Cubana" played for John Paul II's 1998 visit and of the music for the
                 film "Strawberries and Chocolate."

                  Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.