GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ FRIENDSHIP WITH FIDEL CASTRO
Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez is Latin America’s most celebrated living author. He is a Colombian novelist, journalist, short-story writer and screenwriter. Many in the country lovingly called him Gabo. His success was magnified when he took home with him the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 1982. Majorly, Garcia has written many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories. He is gladly known for what is regarded as his best novels which are One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Love in Time of Cholera (1985) and Autumn of the Patriarch (1975). Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is Cuba’s long serving dictator. He begun as a Cuban communist revolutionary and later developed to become the Prime Minister of Cuba dating 1959 to 1976. He was later the President since 1976 to 2008.
While one is an admired and highly talked about author, the later is a much reviled politician. Despite this, these two characters are very close friends raising the question on what could possibly unite the two. This author would never publish any book without letting Fidel having gone through the manuscript.
Mr. Castro terms the author as one true friend he has ever had. Even during the time when the erstwhile supporters and almost the entire globe is disillusioned and is opposed to the Cuban regime, Gabriel Garcia continually professes loyalty to the beard-full Comandante. The controversial friendship between Gabriel Marquez and Fidel Castro went a long way in influencing the creativity, the motivation and the concepts adopted by Gabriel Garcia in his writing.
Many academicians have researched ant studied this friendship and theories that connect the writing by Garcia and his friendship with the politician have been developed and analyzed. In Spain for instance, writers Angel Esteban and Stephanie Panichelli have joined hands and involved themselves in this investigation.
They published their book in Spain which raises the issue of the complex rapport, friendship and mutual benefits between world intellectuals and the politicians. In this book, it is claimed that the Colombian novelist and his friend the Cuban ruler have developed a marriage based on conveniences which is as a result of mutual and genuine appreciation. The academicians have to go an extent of claiming that the relationship between the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the Nobel Winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia seems chummy and literate on the surface. However, they argue that the relationship is corrupt and neurotic under close observation. This can be supported by the silence of the author when the dictator engages in actions that demonstrate human rights violations.
Garcia Gomez supported Cuban revolution from the time it begun. It would be stated that he admired the Cuban leadership even before Castro noticed him or was aware of his existence. Garcia Marquez demonstrates his obsession with power in both his fiction and real life. He also wishes for political influence. The friendship with the Cuban leader however grew when Castro demonstrated and publicly spoke out about his admiration of the works done by Garcia Marquez. From this time, the tie between them seemed to be getting from averagely good to the best it would ever be. When the author received the Nobel Prize Winner’s award for being the best in literature in 1982, Castro felt that neither a mere ‘well done’ speech, message or phone call was enough to show how pleased he was. Castro went to an extent of shipping more than 1,500 bottles of Cuban rum to Stockholm where Garcia would easily access them. He did not stop there. Later on, he offered the author an admirable mansion in Havana’s elegant Siboney district at which it is reported that Gabo still enjoys spending much of his quality time.
By treating the novelist this well and appreciating his work on a level that no other politician had, Mr. Castro received international acclamation of being an ambassador for the globe. The Nobel laureate who not even one time hid his fascination and admiration of power and the trappings in it received by Mr. Castro the live incarnation of close proximity to real and absolute power and its benefits too. The benefits did not end there. He now had an opportunity to exercise his political influence from the sidelines. This also offered motivation to the author.
It is of human nature to receive public recognition and this was much better because it was not just recognition; it was recognition by a globally recognized leader, Fidel Castro. Those who still love the and appreciated the work by Mr. Garcia Marquez tend to question why the author chose to remain silent when the rest of the world was up and was pouring scorn against Mr. Castro’s repressive policies. Some wandered around the thought of being enslaved by the description of pure friendship. Some like the Spanish academicians stated above teasingly suggested that he was probably waiting for the ultimate scoop, that is, the definitive insider’s account of Fidel’s life and times.
With his journalism skills, Gabriel Garcia has written massive articles that are full of praise for the former Cuban president. For instance, a good example of this work is the article published in The Guardian, Saturday 12 August 2006 newspaper. The article he named “The Fidel I Know”. While the world is up against dictatorship and negative criticism of the leadership strategies adopted and enacted by Fidel Castro, Garcia is of a very different view. He uses short sentences in each paragraph with each sentence bearing a unique praise for the President. For instance, he states that Fidel is devoted to his word, the power he has is seduction, he quit smoking to have moral authority to combat tobacco addiction and books reflect the breadth of his taste. If an alien fell from the sky and had never heard anything about Fidel Castro and the first thing he or she reads about the Cuban President is this article, he or she would confuse Fidel Castro for n angel. He goes ahead to say that the vision of Fidel about the future of Latin America is the same as the one shared by Bolivar and Marti and that he is capable of moving the destiny of this world.
In order to further understand the reason and the impact that Fidel Castro had on the works of the author Gabriel Garcia, a preview of the novels by Garcia comes in handy.
Since the age of 18, Garcia Marquez wanted to write a novel based on the house he grew up in which belonged to his grandparents. He struggled for a long time in trying to identify which was the best tone for the book. One day, while he was riding in the family’s Acapulco, an idea or the answer hit his mind. This was the beginning of the process that produced his most successful book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. On this journey, he turned the car around and the family returned home to enable him to start writing his book. Due to the need for the finances that would be needed to support his family while he wrote this book, Garcia sold his car.
The writing of the book took longer than expected. He wrote for a period of 18 months. The wife was forced to borrow food or have it on credit during this period. Lucky enough, when the book was finally published and then released to the market, it became his most successful novel. The story is ideally about the chronology of several generations of the Buendia family from the time a fictional South American village of Macondo was founded. The novel became very popular and this was the main base for his Nobel Prize as well as the Romulo Gallegos Prize of 1972. The book received so much praise. Garcia himself never understood the success of this particular book and he went ahead to say that the novel was a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends and thus with some pre-ordained right of pontification they would take on the responsibility of decoding and risk an act of making terrible fools of themselves.
Looking at this work and the process of its preparation and what followed thereafter, the character and thinking direction of Gabriel Garcia can be connected with his admiration for Fidel Castro. One thing about Garcia under this is that he is ironical. After selling a family car and spending every day writing a book for 18 months, causing his family to undergo massive problems almost resulting to hunger to waiting for a long time before realizing the tone he would use for his book, Gabriel Garcia goes ahead to state that he does not understand the success of his book. This is ironical. It follows that, he understood that the book he was preparing was worth the sacrifice he endured. In the end, he states the opposite to what would be expected in a rational human being. The book itself is fictional. It exists in what would be viewed as to represent the rural throughout Latin America at least near Gabriel Garcia’s native Aracataca. This ironical character could have been the reason behind his silence when it was overwhelmingly agreed by others that leadership by the Cuban President Fidel was unacceptable. The aspect of irony also arose when an author of his caliber was in a controversial friendship with not only a politician but also a dictator according to many. He is a guy obsessed by fiction and irony. It is recorded that he was a long term admirer of the character and powers held by Fidel Castro even before he this book was as successful.
Considering another piece of his work, Garcia was inspired to write a dictator novel which is Autumn of the Patriarch. The author was inspired by the witnessing of the flight Venezuelan dictator by the name Marcos Perez. He says it was his first time to see a dictator fall in Latin America. This book was written since 1968 to 1975. It is a poem on the solitude of power as it follows the life of an eternal dictator. Though the location is not pin pointed, there is an imaginary country situated in the Caribbean. After this book, Gabriel Garcia Marquez moved together with his family to Mexico City away from Barcelona. He then swore that he would never publish a book until Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet was deposed. He didn’t keep his words. He published another book while the Chilean Dictator was still in power claiming he would not remain silent while he faced injustice and repression.
Looking at his work and his statements, it is arguably correct to say that the irony still exists. In addition, Garcia seems to be an individual who values fame and engages controversy in ensuring the fame exists. Gabriel Garcia was very cautious as he prepared before deciding to publish this work; Autumn of the Patriarch Autumn. It is argued that he took longer time in an attempt to make sure that the book’s success would at least neighbor what the other book had achieved. In his life after establishing close ties with Fidel Castro, he continually engaged in writing articles in the newspapers that were viewed as to being controversial. Even on this book, he attempts to safeguard his fame. It follows that Garcia was a big admirer of power and fame.
This is a possible reason why he was so much committed in pleasing a globally identified politician so that he would be recognized globally as well and also have an audience that would pay attention to his personal views on politics. This he was able to achieve via the friendship the Dictator from Cuba Fidel Castro.
Looking at the following argument, it is a key pointer to demonstrate that the friendship influenced what the author decided to write on. The author categorically states in this era that he would not remain silence when faced by injustice and repression as he talked about the Dictator leadership of Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet. After his controversial friendship Fidel Castro whose intentions is still questionable, his line of thought seems to have changed. This is because, under this context, Gabriel Marquez talks and argues against the dictatorship in Chile. In his later work, this seems to change. The same author is full of praise for a dictator in this case Fidel Castro.
The rational reasoning behind this is that he does not want to demolish the friendship existing between them and wants to keep enjoying the mutual benefits. In addition, the same person who had swore he would never be silenced by injustice and repression seems to do the exact opposite. When the entire globe is against the leadership of Dictator President Fidel Castro, the adorable and world renowned author Gabriel Garcia Marquez just goes numb. He does this when Cuba is facing violation of basic human rights and when dictator policies are adopted and enacted in Cuba. He had given a rational view of dictatorship but when the same issue relates to his friend, he tip toes away from the truth thus betraying his true fans. Some say this is the sacrifice of friendship.
From this argument, it is evident that the controversial friendship between Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the long serving dictator from Cuba Fidel Castro affected the writing by the author. The author demonstrates fascination with Castro ending up to demonstrate that even the geniuses are not immune to the blandishments of power. The relationship between the two changed ideas and the principles that Garcia had previously operated on.
Esteban, Angel, Diane Stockwell, and SteÌphanie Panichelli. Fidel and Gabo: a portrait of the legendary friendship between Fidel Castro and Gabriel GarciÌa MaÌrquez. New York: Pegasus Books, 2009. Print.
MaÌrquez, Gabriel. One hundred years of solitude. [1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. Print.
Szulc, Tad. Fidel: a critical portrait. New York: Morrow, 1986. Print.