The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
Castro thirsts for power of pen

Bogota, Oct. 7 (Reuters): After 43 years in power, aging Cuban President Fidel Castro has decided what he would like to do next.

The 76-year-old leader has decided he wants to be reincarnated as the image of his close friend and Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“In my next reincarnation, I want to be a writer. And I want to be one just like Gabriel Garcia Marquez,” said Castro, in a letter published in Colombia’s Cambio magazine.

Praising the Colombian author, ahead of Garcia Marquez’s Tuesday launch of his memoirs, Castro said he idolised his friend’s “obstinate and persistent attention to detail that supports, like a philosopher’s stone, all of the creativity of his dazzling exaggerations.”

Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel prize in 1982, and Castro were born within a year of each other, and have been friends for decades. Indeed, Castro was one of the few people Garcia Marquez lent a draft of his memoirs, Living To Tell It, for review.

“(Marquez) started me and has kept me to this day addicted to quick-read best-sellers, as a way to purify myself from official documents,” Castro said.

“What I admire most is when, if the exact word doesn’t exist, he comfortably invents one. How I envy this (literary) licence of his!”

Castro recounts how he and Marquez, who he refers to tenderly as “Gabo,” were both in Bogota on April 9, 1948. On that infamous day, a lone gunman killed charismatic Colombian opposition leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, unleashing a civil war known as “La Violencia”, which claimed 300,000 lives over the next decade.

Colombia’s violent past and present have been running themes throughout Garcia Marquez’s works.

Some historians believe the urban chaos, also known as the Bogotazo, also pushed Castro to start a guerrilla movement, instead of relying on urban protests alone to unleash a revolution.

“I asked the question... ‘And you, where you there during the Bogotazo'’ And he... responded flatly, smiling and ingeniously with his natural metaphors: ‘Fidel, I was the guy behind the typewriter’,” Castro said.

Email This PagePrint This Page