Published:  12:00 AM, 01 December 2016

Castro and Marquez: An ideological kinship

Castro and Marquez: An ideological kinship

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the finest ever Colombian novelist, was one of Fidel Castro's closest ideological allies. In most of his novels Garcia Marquez illustrated the plight of deprived, underprivileged, tormented and downtrodden people striving for justice. Garcia Marquez's best-known novel One Hundred Years of Solitude is viewed as one of the greatest literary works of all centuries and any discourse on global literature remains acutely stunted without references to this novel. One Hundred Years of Solitude not just placed Gabriel Garcia Marquez as an outstanding novelist on the global stage; it ornamented him with Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. One Hundred Years of Solitude is an indispensable book for a deeper look into the rise of civilization in South America (also known as Latin America) and humans' settlement across the Caribbean Islands. Not only that, this marvelous novel movingly deals with the horrors of civil wars in some parts of Latin America, the exploitation of native Colombian people at the hands of foreign companies and an intense, passionate love story and all these things are found going on through seven generations of the Buendia family in a fictional town called Macondo.

The struggle of ordinary people found in some books by Garcia Marquez explicitly exhibits his compassion for the men and women victimized by the capitalistic world order. The massacre of Colombian workers by an American company in the countryside of Colombia as depicted in Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude is the author's own style of underlining the repression imposed on people of the third world by the western big shots. In his personal life, Garcia Marquez had very intimate relations with both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro expressed his deep shock after hearing the death news of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 2014. Fidel was quoted saying that he was dismayed at the loss of a special friend as Garcia Marquez died. Garcia Marquez was also broadly impressed at the towering personality and revolutionary image of Fidel Castro. He wrote about Fidel Castro in an essay for the Guardian in 2006 that, "Fidel Castro is there to win. His attitude in the face of defeat, even in the most minimal actions of everyday life, would seem to obey a private logic. He does not even admit it, and does not have a minute's peace until he succeeds in inverting the terms and converting it into victory. His vision of Latin America in the future is the same as that of Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti, an integrated and autonomous community, capable of moving the destiny of the world." Garcia Marquez's analogy of Fidel Castro with Simon Bolivar shows how profoundly he respected Fidel. Simon Bolivar was the greatest Latin American patriotic hero for liberating the entire South American continent from Spanish colonial forces. In the same way Fidel Castro played the most significant roles in modern history for protecting Latin American people from the onslaught of western imperialism and for making the South American nations self-reliant.

Garcia Marquez held high honor for Che Guevara too. He once wrote in one of his essays, "I could write one thousand years and a million pages about Che Guevara." Garcia Marquez's leaning towards revolutionary figures like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara exposes that this fabulous author looked forward to a classless society and a world free of discrimination. The civil wars portrayed in One Hundred Years of Solitude implicitly refer to the political turmoil that most of the South American countries suffered under the jackboots of dictators like General Batista, Augusto Pinochet, Anastasio Somoza and some more ruthless tyrants who came to power in different Latin states with support from the United States and its allies.

Garcia Marquez described Fidel Castro as a hard-working man. He admired Fidel's sense of humor too. He quoted a line from Fidel Castro in one of his memoirs, "Learning to rest is equally important like learning to work". In another address Garcia Marquez once said that Fidel Castro's devotion to the world is almost magical. This remark by Garcia Marquez shows that Fidel Castro had concern for the working class of people belonging to the whole world, not just Latin America. Fidel Castro's revolutionary and humanitarian image crossed the borders of Cuba and reached all corners of the globe and that's why there are fans of Fidel all over this planet. Fidel Castro was very fond of writing, Garcia Marquez recalled. Fidel loved to write the texts of his speeches on his own. He once said if he was reborn, he would prefer to become an author. Fidel, besides being an amazingly relentless revolutionary, had an authorial knack too for which he used to make time from his packed schedule, in light of Garcia Marquez's memories.
In a highly acclaimed short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez named Innocent Erendira, the author characterized a young girl forcibly employed by her immoral, heartless grandmother to work as a whore who is deflowered by outsiders and who had no power to protest. Erendira in this story symbolizes the helpless, impoverished and oppressed people who are continuously ravaged by the so-called upper class but they cannot speak out against the exploitations imposed on them.

Garcia Marquez presented the landscape, traditions, people and history of Latin America in the most moving and most remarkable ways in his books which shows being a Colombian he had immense love in his heart for the Latin American masses. Similarly, Fidel Castro, the dreamer and architect of communism in Latin America, had deep socio-political attachments with the common people across South American nations in all his pursuits. Guiding the South American people to overcome poverty and to fight western expansionism was the first and foremost goal in Fidel Castro's life.  

The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age

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