Gabriel Garcia Marquez Loved Fidel Castro, Time To Burn All Your Copies Of ‘Solitude’
OK, sure, you may have thought that Gabriel García Márquez, who died last week, was a pretty good writer, but the Washington Post’s Charles Lane just wants to remind you that García Márquez was also a communist, and entirely too close to Fidel Castro to actually count as someone worth remembering. Lane, the genius who in 2011 decided that a then-comatose-from-gunshot-wounds Gabby Giffords would not have approved of all the mean things liberals were saying about Scott Walker, understands that a lot of “intellectuals” thought García Márquez was pretty cool, but he regrets that an obituary couldn’t have been written by exiled Cuban poet Heberto Padilla, who died in 2000. Because García Márquez killed him. Or wait, because García Márquez didn’t advocate vigorously enough for his release from prison in Cuba. Same thing; Lane claims that Padilla was perfectly suited to assess “the weird blend of literary brilliance and political rottenness that characterized García Márquez’s long career.”
Padilla’s situation truly was awful — another of the intellectuals who initially supported the revolution, then eventually ran afoul of Castro and got thrown in prison. Lots of Latin American writers signed a letter demanding his release, but García Márquez did not. According to Lane, García Márquez “refused” to help Padilla; Jon Lee Anderson, in a 1999 New Yorker profile, notes that while he didn’t sign that letter, García Márquez did in fact help to get Padilla released. And other sources say so, too — we won’t pretend to be experts on the story, but it doesn’t appear to be the outright betrayal that Lane depicts.
So, yes, García Márquez had a warm relationship with Castro and Cuba — and he was punished by the United States for it, banned from traveling here until Bill Clinton invited him to Martha’s Vineyard in 1996, where he told the President — perhaps naïvely — “if you and Fidel could sit face to face, there wouldn’t be any problem left.” And García Márquez appears to have seen his friendship with Castro as a lever he could use to push for reform, for releases of political prisoners. But no, we have to draw very bright moral lines: Gabriel García Márquez didn’t publicly denounce Castro, so therefore he was a stooge. After all, there are only two sides: U.S. American Freedom and Godless Communism, and if García Márquez didn’t care for a little bit of U.S. imperialism in Latin America, then really, who has any use for him?
Lane closes his column by noting that after he emigrated to the U.S., Padilla taught at several colleges, but wrote little beyond a single memoir, and died “a broken man” at the age of 68. But
In truth, Heberto Padilla did not have half the talent Gabriel García Márquez had. Still, some of us admire him more.
So knock it off with all the remembrances of Gabriel García Márquez as a great writer, you dirty leftists.