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FARC Peace Deal Heads To Referendum In Colombia

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El Espectador, July 19th

Tuesday's edition of Bogota daily El Espectador reports on the Colombian Constitutional Court approving a measure to hold a national referendum on the recently signed peace agreement with the Marxist rebels, FARC.

Above the headline "Green light for a referendum," is a rather giddy photograph of Constitutional Court President Maria Victoria Calle, and her colleague Magistrate Luis Ernesto Vargas on Monday, announcing the decision.

"There is a green light for us, the Colombian people, to approve the peace deal with our votes," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.

If the referendum passes, the rebels would be expected to disarm and form a left-wing political party — although a small faction has vowed to keep fighting — and help with demining operations, a key point in a country with the second highest number of land mine victims in the world after Afghanistan.

Last month, after four years of talks, and a half-century of civil war, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed with the government negotiators a historic peace agreement in Havana.

The war started in 1964 when the FARC first took up arms to fight for land reform and greater equality. Three attempts to negotiate peace have thus far failed and about 220,000 Colombians have died in the fighting with millions more uprooted from their homes.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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