On Gabo's Passing

Friday, April 18, 2014
Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87, died last night at his home in Mexico City.

Known as "Gabo," he was one of the most popular and talented Latin American novelists of our time.  His writings include the epic 1967 novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera.

They also include Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Autumn of the Patriarch, both with strong political undertones and stinging critiques of Latin American dictators.

Unfortunately, Gabo's criticism spared dictators of the left.

His intimate friendship with Latin America's longest-serving, deadliest and only totalitarian dictator, Cuba's Fidel Castro, was legendary.

Throughout his life, Gabo's condemnation of dictators always stopped short of Havana, where he was provided a home with all of the privileges and luxuries denied to ordinary Cubans.

His double-standard became emblematic. It is practiced today by some of Latin America's leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica -- all of whom were once themselves victims of military dictatorships and scorned those who coddled their repressors.

Yet inconceivably, these Latin American leaders now coddle the sole remaining military dictatorship of the Americas.

Goodbye Gabo. 

May your literary legacy live forever.

But close an unfortunate chapter in Latin America's ideological double-standard.