Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez: Already Forgotten?


A few months ago City Hall on Plaza Bolivar carried a huge banner in memorial of the deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela. I expected at least as much for Márquez, but City Hall's wall is empty. 
Today, I took a cruise thru La Candelaria in search of some memorial to Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, who died a few days ago in Mexico City.

Colombian Pres. Santos declared three days of national mourning for this great Colombian, as well as a memorial service next Tuesday in the Cathedral de Bogotá. Márquez's funeral is to be held Monday in Mexico City, where the novelist lived for a half century. He has already been cremated, but it's not clear whether they will be interred in Mexico or Colombia.

Strangely, even tho Márquez lived and worked for a time in La Candelaria (he worked for the El Espectador newspaper before moving to Paris and becoming a novelist) and several institutions here carry his name, I found no memorial to the novelist.

In the town of Aracataca where Márquez was born, the people seem to have mixed feelings about their most famous son. Márquez visited only rarely and contributed little of his fortune to the development of the town, which still doesn't even have fresh water.
The Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Center was built by the Mexican government's cultural agency. Strangely, the building has never had an exhibition about Márquez, but I expected SOMETHING about the man's passing. However, I saw nothing. 
The old El Espectador building on Ave. Jimenez. They might have hung a black banner here, or a photo of the novelist.

A flag a half mast on a government TV station building on Calle 26 - the only official sign I saw of Márquez's passing. 
A newspaper vendor in La Candelaria. Since Márquez's death, several papers have reported an almost nothing else. 

People ponder an exhibition about Márquez's life on the wall of the BLAA library in La Candelaria. But the annual exhibition was here before the novelist's death. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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