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Geopolitics

New Revelations Of García Marquez's Ties To Cuba And Nicaragua

Like other intellectuals of his time, the celebrated Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez admired Cuba's Fidel Castro. What's just been revealed, however, is also, as one text reveals, the Sandinista rebels who have stifled Nicaraguan democracy in past years.

BOGOTÁ — Entirely isolated and criticized by the international community, Daniel Ortega was again sworn in earlier this month as president of Nicaragua.

Ortega has now outdone Anastasio Somoza, the despot he helped topple in his youth, with a record 26 years in power and starting a fifth mandate, including a fourth consecutive one and the second with his wife Rosario Murillo as vice-president.

After Cuba's Fidel Castro, he is the regional tyrant most frequently cheered by Colombia's leftist intellectuals, and praised as his people's emancipator from "yankee oppression."

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Watch: OneShot — Milano Love In The Time Of Coronavirus

It's a bittersweet scene captured at Milan's Central Railway Station, at the global epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis.

With more than 800 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus and 12,000 infected in Italy, the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Milan, is by far the hardest hit, with 617 deaths as of Thursday.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended a severe lockdown to the entire country, with all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars being ordered to close, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies, until March 25.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty, this photograph recalls Gabriel García Márquez" epic 1985 novel Love in the Time of Cholera. In one form or another, this current "plague" will find its place in the annals of literature.

Milano Love in the Time of Coronavirus © Daniele Mascolo / Xinhua / ZUMA Wire

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Japan's Unlikely Love Affair With 'One Hundred Years Of Solitude'

In spite of the thousands of miles and cultural distances between Colombia and Japan, Gabriel García Márquez's masterpiece has become a national treasure among Japanese readers and artists.

BOGOTÁ — For any self-respecting Japanese drinker, One Hundred Years of Solitude is the name of an exclusive and costly malt liquor made to a century-long recipe. Call it retail opportunism, even sacrilege, but the constant recurrence of this title across the world's third economy is evidence of Japanese respect for the eponymous novel's author, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the first Colombian writer to win the Nobel prize in literature.

The Japanese edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude, translated by Tadashi Tsuzumi, was first published by Shinchosha in 1972. The publishers initially printed 4,000 copies, followed by 96 successive editions, with 275,000 copies printed by 2006. A spokesman for the publisher described the output as "outstanding," considering Japanese readers' general lack of enthusiasm for foreign literature.

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EL ESPECTADOR
Anita de Hoyos

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Authentic Colombian Hero

Even if you don't judge him South America's greatest writer, there's no denying that his life lived with joy and principle is the stuff of modern legend for a country, and continent.

BOGOTA - He is the hero. Or was. The great founding legend, and not because he was a great writer. Indeed, Gabriel García Márquez's literary merit may be questioned, and it wouldn't make a difference. One may consider his rhetoric suspect, or his biblical lyricism tiresome; or you may even find that the famous musicality of his sentences dilute the power of the stories.

One might even, reluctantly, qualify other writers of the Latin American Boom, like Julio Cortázar or Mario Vargas Llosa, as easier to read or more effective. None of that matters, because Gabo's fame goes beyond the merely literary, and the deluded utterances of critics cannot lessen his mythical stature.

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EL ESPECTADOR
Fernando Araújo Vélez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Beyond Solitude

Weeks before Marquez's death at 87, the Bogota daily wrote how the legendary novelist was followed right until the end by the ghosts of his strongest character: his mother.

BOGOTA — A long time has passed since the days of a certain telegraph operator and of Luisa Santiaga Márquez Iguarán, parents of Colombia's Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez. All that remains is what the novelist wrote of them and the scenes he recalls — with names and places and landscapes changed.

"History," as García Márquez once remarked, "is not so much what happened as what was written down."

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