March 8, 2021

«I had already decided not to introduce myself, it has not been a heater»

«I had already decided not to introduce myself, it has not been a heater»

The director of the Royal Academy of the Language, Darío Villanueva, assured Efe today that the decision not to stand for re-election took place in the summer of 2016 because he has been in the institution for 9 years, and insisted that it does not obey to a concrete situation "much less to a heater".

Darío Villanueva announced yesterday by surprise before the plenary session of the RAE, in the first meeting that he maintains after the summer, that he would not appear again for a possible reelection of the position in the elections of next December.

Villanueva (Villalba, Lugo, 1950) was elected director of the RAE on December 10, 2014, institution in which he was previously secretary since 2009.

"It is perfectly understandable" to have made this decision, said the director of the RAE, who says he is "completely sure" that he would have been re-elected by the academics if he had wanted to continue.

The RAE must elect its president next December among the academics that comprise it and all of them are candidates: the full body of the corporation is currently composed of 46 number academics, including the director and the other positions of the Board of Directors. Government, which are elected for temporary mandates, while academic positions are for life.

"There is no other interpretation. It is very simple and whoever says that he obeys something concrete does not know what is happening or is even manipulating the situation ", stressed the director, who highlighted the "comforting support" of his colleagues, who yesterday conveyed his sadness about the fact that he did not run for re-election.

Villanueva, who was elected academic in 2007 by chair D, has indicated that when he assumed the leadership of the RAE he was already aware of the economic situation he faced as he had previously occupied the secretariat, position in which he was re-elected.

The resources of the RAE, he recalled, have fallen in recent years due to the editorial crisis, which has lowered the sales of its dictionaries and grammars; in addition to the 60% reduction in the contribution of the State since 2008, and that currently stands at 1.6 million euros, almost 20 percent of the total budget of the institution, of 7 million euros .

Added to this is the drop in the capital yield of the Pro RAE Foundation, which is now "zero", and the effect of the crisis on the sponsors.

"He knew perfectly well the difficulties I was facing and that I was going to be a director to weather those four storms at the same time", critical realities against which he continues to struggle, he stressed.

Faced with this situation, he highlighted the achievement of having obtained the Foundation of the Obra Social La Caixa to sponsor the Online Dictionary of SAR, which has 65 million queries per month and which compensates for the loss of sales rights of the physical dictionaries .

And, especially, he has underlined the creation of the payment platform "Enclave / RAE" whose sale of licenses "has to be one of the great economic solutions" of the institution.

For 30 euros per year, the RAE sells licenses of this professional linguistic services platform of the Academy of Language and that gathers the contents and resources accumulated in its 300 years of operation through its dictionaries, spellings and grammars.

"I made the decision that we would not always be crying asking for the boba soup of subsidies," said Villanueva, who has opted for this instrument to compensate for the deficit.

In these years, he has indicated, he has kept the Language Academy "without debts" and has trusted to approve a balanced budget, although he has stressed that the important thing is "sustainability".

In addition to the economic challenge, the person who succeeds him in front of the RAE must understand, he said, that they must become "the Academy of digital natives", the direction in which all their decisions have been directed, he underlined.

Another challenge is to maintain the active role of the RAE at the head of the network of 23 Academies of the Spanish Language that there is in the world and to remember that the Spaniards represent only 8 percent of the Spanish speakers and that they are not the owners of the language.

Precisely, Villanueva frames in this action the trip he has undertaken today in Washington, where the 45th anniversary of the creation of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language is celebrated.

The director of the RAE has highlighted the support of the kings to the institution and has expressed his "disappointment" for considering that Spanish politicians do not have in their agenda the culture "nor the importance of the Spanish language".

About his possible successor or successor, he has been "very calm" because he is completely sure that there are academics who can take on the fronts of the RAE, both intellectual, diplomatic and economic, the latter the pre-eminent at present for The academy.


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