Gabriel Garcia Marquez | Gabo, the building of a Colombian hero

Colombia was living one of its darkest years when Gabriel García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 40 years ago. The award had the effect of pulling the country out of depression, which is essential to entrenching the unparalleled cult of national idols that continues to this day.

It was Colombia, and it was the fateful 1982. A resounding catastrophe, without analgesics. Guerrilla attacks intensified, especially M-19And the Who signed the attack on the Attorney General of the State and the seizure of municipalities such as Majour. The FARC did the same: an ambush in January against an anti-drug police patrol (three policemen dead), in April a massacre of peasants in the northeast (five dead), and an attack on the military in June in San Vicente del Caguán (eight fatalities). Colombia lived in the crossfire of an undeclared internal warAnd while not talking about drug trafficking, it has already begun to corrupt power structures. In this bad climate, President Belisario Betancourt informed FIFA that his country had abandoned the organization of the 1986 World Cup, which had been decided eight years earlier. The World Cup: the event that would have changed everything, that hope, one of the few illusions the country had left. Colombia was disappointed. It was all bad and there was nothing to celebrate.

Then Gabriel García Márquez, who was a dazzling star, son of a telegraph operator from Aracataca, unleashed a colossal bombshell of optimism in the spirit of the country. news The first Nobel Prize for Literature in the history of Colombia has many readings, literary first, of course, but also social in which it makes little impact, which is contextual, with that half-failed country suddenly finding cause for pride. The explosion was this big Her shock wave extends to this day, and appears in the celebrations held to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the award. Few of the Nobel Prizes in Literature have the meaning and social dimension that García Márquez had in Colombia. Few of them like them very much in his country. Few are called, from chief to builder, by the diminutiveness of their affection. jabo. Gabito.

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In the year 82, Colombia was a democracy Failed, failed state, says Omar Rincon, director of the Center for the Study of Journalism at the University of Los Andes. “The Nobel Prize came when the country was in one of its worst moments. Nothing was going well, everything was a disgrace. That Nobel allowed us to exist& rdquo;. Conrado Zuluaga, writer, editor and rigorous student of the work of García Márquez, says that the influence of the Colombian writer must be measured not in literary terms, or not only, but historically:Before 1967, when “One Hundred Years of Solitude” appeared, what was there? there is nothing… Some historians and some politicians are swapping power … Anyone studying the twentieth century in Colombia upon arrival at García Márquez should stop and analyze what is the projection of his work and his award on the country “.

Far from the historical moment – which is significant – it turns out that the Nobel laureate was a very popular man, oblivious to the corsets that characterize the Colombian elite: which contributed to his even greater aura. “The best of Colombia in rdquo; says Rincon. “The Colombian class, the elites, gave us very little.” For Zuluaga, there is a charisma that explains his relationship to the ordinary Colombian (“He was a very nice guy, kind to people, he didn’t mind mobs, he signed books anywhere& rdquor;), and to illustrate this, he used an anecdote that happened during the celebration of the Hai Festival in Cartagena de Indias: “I remember one day I went for a drink at the Santa Teresa Hotel and saw that there was a crowd at the entrance. So I went and asked what was going on, and they said to me: “Mr. Garcia The Marquis is in the courtyard with some friends and people are lining up to greet him.” And so it was. He spent two hours greeting people with a huge fanfare.

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There are hundreds of stories like this, many people shaking hands with Gabo as he passes through Cartagena, Bogotá, all over. “In this country, everyone needs to talk about Gabo, and everyone wants to talk about Gabito: When I met Gabito, when I met Gabito, when I spoke to Gabito. But that’s normal, because we don’t have another icon this big, says Rincon. “Gabo is our ‘Colombian brand’ abroad, and the symbol of the Colombian creator forever, while the bad creator would be Pablo Escobar. On the other hand, he was a character with an enormous wealth of legends behind him, with a number of stories surrounding him. For all that, on the I do not think so He was and still is a “pop star”.& rdquo;. There aren’t many Nobel Prize ceremonies that can boast of a winner saluting the esteemed Liqui and a backstage party with the Vallenato group.

All this allows us to formulate the following assumption: in terms of admiration, Gabo is for the Colombians what – the typical example – of Maradona for the Argentines. This kind of idol. “He is our great idol, Zuluaga asserts.”Gabu is a reference because it is Gabo” Rincón says, “But also because he is a hero in a country where we don’t have many heroes.” Neither Rulfo in Mexico, nor Vargas Llosa in Peru, nor Borges in Argentina. “It’s different, because they are all seen as highly educated, and in Vargas Llosa’s case, as a politician.” After all, García Márquez saved an entire country from depression. It is not a little.

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