The Prometeo Art and Poetry Association is a Colombian NGO that operates mainly in the cultural sector; it is an independent organization that will focus all its activity, knowledge, imagination and efforts on the creation, investigation and diffusion of poetry and other forms of artistic expression, as a complement of the actions in favor of the constant transformation of consciousness, individuals and contemporary societies through the exercise of poetic language.
Values by which the Corporation is guided
1. Prometeo knows that without political, economic, social and cultural democracy in Colombia, we will not have a country in peace nor can we fully develop the Colombian people. Prometeo knows well that, at the present moment, there is no full democracy in these areas in our country, and it is in this setting that we develop our unswerving work, in spite of the detractors of culture and the struggle for peace.
2. Prometeo firmly believes in the fundamental Human Rights, seriously violated in Colombia by all sides in the conflict: the State, the paramilitary groups and the guerrillas. The struggle of Prometeo is a demonstration in defense of freedom of conscience, speech, association and creation. Prometeo believes in plurality and dissent, and in a firm dialogue as the greatest instrument for the resolution of conflicts.
3. Prometeo has the conviction that poetry and art will have a fundamental role in the processes of development and that the cultural rights of Colombians can not go on being violated by a State that rejects the existence of an armed conflict, while it has an ever increasing military budget —this year’s is the biggest in our history— taking away ever more from the budgets for culture, health and education.
4. Prometeo is certain that arts and poetry will decisively contribute to the emergence of a new human society. It is for this reason that it has yearly staged the International Poetry Festival of Medellín, and that it has promoted the formation of a National and International Movement for Peace in Colombia. Prometeo has firmly opposed beauty to terror, feeding through its annual poetry festival trust in the spiritual resistance of Colombians and in their high destiny, transcending the hecatomb.
5. Prometeo knows that its natural allies are poets, artists and intellectuals of the whole world, and that it is necessary to specify joint proposals and actions by the international community of poets, artists and intellectuals, to help in the resolution of the Colombian conflict and to strengthen the position and the voice of the human spirit facing the present world situation.
1991, year of foundation of the International Poetry Festival of Medellin, was a particularly hard year for Colombia, and particularly Medellin suffered more than any other region of the country, the rigor of the brutal war between the drug traffickers and the government. The city lived in panic, and the bomb cars were the daily bread of the community. Life was lived in a state of permanent curfew declared by terror. But that war wasn’t the only one being held, during 40 years, the confrontation between the insurgency and the State has been taking place.
In this difficult atmosphere, the poets gathered around the Magazine Prometeo founded in April of 1991, The International Poetry Festival of Medellín, amidst some social conditions which we don’t doubt to qualify as terrifying: effectively, the brutal war of the drug lords was in its toughest moment against the Government and the people of Colombia, and particularly Medellín suffered as no other city of the country the rigors of this war. The Festival was founded then as a way to exercise pacific civilian resistance from an unexplored way until then in Colombia, and maybe in the world: the one of poetry.
The response to the summoning of the I International Poetry Festival of Medellín was so massive and surprising, that it was decided to continue with the project in an annual basis. It was summoned then the II International Poetry Festival. The growth of the event, both in terms of duration as well as in the number of invited poets, amount of attending people, indicated us that the continuation of the event required the creation of a legally constituted entity, so that is how The Corporation of Art and Poetry Prometeo took the necessary steps and obtained its legal capacity status in march 1993.
In that same year, after the celebration of the III International Poetry Festival of Medellín, and taking into account the importance that the event was gaining, The Municipal Council, approved unanimously by the Agreement No. 35 a grant for the Festival, with an annual support of thirty million pesos.
From 1993 and on, both the Festival as well as the Corporation showed a line of growth and consolidation, amidst extreme delicate social and political conditions. Neither the war between the Government and the insurgent forces nor the war between the government and the drug lords seemed to diminish, and in a parallel way an excessive growth of paramilitarism was upsurging and directly associated to it a dramatic increase of forced displacement. Nevertheless these difficult conditions the Festival grew and consolidated in such a way that poet, journalists and directors of other poetic festivals of the world started to qualify the Festival as one of the most important events in the world.
In 1997, and taking again into consideration the growth and national and international prestige of the event, it was again approved unanimously by Agreement No 40, which modified the Agreement No 35, granting in this time the Festival with a bigger amount.
In the year 2002 the Festival was included in the Municipal Development Plan of the Mayoralty of Medellín (Agreement No. 012, 2001). In 2004, it was also included in the Development Plan 2004-2007 of the administration of Sergio Fajardo, actual mayor of the city.
In the year 2003, The Ministry of Culture classified the International Poetry Festival of Medellín as one of the cultural projects of national impact.
Since 1991, the Corporation has carried out 16 International Poetry Festivals,
it has published periodically the magazine Prometeo (75 numbers until today),
it has published books and documentaries, founded and developed 10 International
and directed numerous workshops of poetry writing and reading: Non of the last
sixteen years have been easy for Colombia, and the actual circumstances
seem to favor the initiation of a peace process, and worse than that to favor
a negotiated political solution to the endless conflict that our country suffers.
The Corporation of Art and poetry Prometeo organized and celebrated The I World Poetry Summit for the peace of Colombia in 2003, where they participated as exponents Colombian and foreign poets, members of Human Rights NGO’s, and ministers and vice-ministers of culture from the Latin American region.
In this context, the Corporation of Art and Poetry Prometeo has maintained and will maintain its efforts, as a way of opposition to barbarism and of looking into alternative routes of democratic and pacific resistance to the extreme violence that strikes our country, seeking the strengthening and defense of the fundamental rights of the Colombian people: The right to live, the right to have liberty of expression, the right of meeting and the right to create, contributing in this way to the structural creation of a country for the dream and for life.