Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Very Colombian Send-Off for Márquez

People lined up today to attend a mass in honor of Gabriel García Márquez.
Today's mass honoring the late Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez struck me as an only-in-Colombia event. To enter the Catedral de Bogotá you had to pass thru three (count 'em) police checkpoints, where you were frisked and your bags searched. Would terrorists and assassins really try to infiltrate a revered novelist's memorial service? Well, maybe, in Colombia. 

Just to make certain that nobody could mistake Plaza Bolivar for a scene from a magical realism novel, in front of city hall a group of people displaced by violence were camped out demanding government assistance. 

The principle memorial ceremony for Márquez was held yesterday in Mexico City, where he lived the last half-century of his life. Márquez was cremated and his ashes are to be divided between Mexico and Colombia, but it's not clear where Colombia's share will be kept. Márquez's hometown of Aracataca wants the ashes for a museum about the novelist's life (even tho some of the town's residents feel that Márquez should have helped them more).
'Goodbye to our Gabo.'

A young man waiting in line reads a newspaper about Márquez. Very few of the people waiting to honor the novelist used their time to read.

A last-minute clean-up for Simon Bolivar, who is normally covered with graffiti.
Not a country of magical realism: People displaced by Colombia's violence demand government assistance on Plaza Bolivar. 

Police search people on their way to mass. There were three police checkpoints. 

A generator supplying electricity to the event belches out smoke. 
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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