Nobel Prize and literary giant Gabriel García Márquez
died on Thursday in Mexico City. The Colombian writer -born in Aracataca (Magdalena) in 1927- was one of the main exponents of the Latin American Boom alongside with Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar or Carlos Fuentes. His fame grew considerably following One Hundred Years of Solitude
(1967), a novel set in the fictional village of Macondo (the name of a banana plantation near his birthplace in Aracataca and metaphor of Colombia itself) and canonical example of a particular form of treating the reality which came to be called magic realism. Other key works are Autumn of the Patriarch
(allegory of a Latin American dictator), Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Nobody Writes to the Colonel
(referencing La Violencia
, a never ending civil war started in 1948) or Love in the Time of Cholera
. García Márquez, familiarly known as Gabo, was said to feel a great fascination for people who holds power and developed a friendship with several political leaders, most notably his controversial relationship with Fidel Castro but also with Felipe González and some others. To give a little idea of his big stature and relevance in the universal literature, I'll quote writer Peter Carey in The Guardian
It is, of course, unseemly to talk about myself when the greatest writer of our time has died. If I persist it is to make a larger point, that while a writer's greatness can be marked in many ways, it can be objectively measured, across the barriers of translation and oceans, by his or her influence on succeeding generations. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/18/joyce-garcia-marquez-peter-carey
Like Joyce and Eliot, Márquez gave a light to follow into the unknown. He made us braver, he returned us to the path of story and he showed us, thank you Sir, that a large and generous heart is no impediment to genius.
García Márquez was incinerated in a private ceremony in Mexico City and in Colombia three days of mourning have been decreed. On Monday the presidents of Mexico and Colombia, Enrique Peña Nieto and Juan Manuel Santos, will attend a public homage in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. On Tuesday there will be a ceremony in Bogotá's cathedral and on Wednesday a mass reading of Nobody Writes to the Colonel
In Colombia Maria Fernanda Cabal, a representative elect from the Democratic Centre (CD), sparked controversy in Twitter. She posted a photo of García Márquez and Fidel Castro together with the caption: "soon they will be together in hell". This tweet provoked the indignation of thousands of users in the social network. On the other hand, Democratic Centre candidate Óscar Ivan Zuluaga said that Gabo's death is an "irreparable loss". Cabal, who topped the CD list in Bogotá, has had to make a public pronouncement after her tweet (deleted hours later) was attacked by almost everybody in Colombia. She says that her opinions don't reference the those of the presidential candidate or her political movement. The last point of her press release says:
"I showed no consideration with the family of the Nobel Prize Gabriel García Márquez in its duel, but magic realism cannot hide the reality through they live all of those that at this moment remained without voice, those that support every day the abuses and excesses of the dictatorships disguised as socialism that damage more and more to the region".
Juan Fernando Cristo (Liberal), the Speaker of the Senate, wrote also in Twitter that Cabal's tweet was "lamentable" and exuded hatred.