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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Powerful Essays
Gabriel Gárcia Márquez

Gabriel José García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a house filled with countless aunts and the rumors of ghosts. But in order to get a better grasp on García Márquez's life, it helps to understand something first about both the history of Colombia and the unusual background of his family.

Colombia

Colombia won its independence from Spain in 1810, technically making it one of Latin America's oldest democracies, but the sad fact is that this "democracy" has rarely known peace and justice.

In the beginning, there was of course Spain and the Indians, happily hating each other as the Spaniards tore the land up in quest for gold, El Dorado, religious converts, and political power. The English, too, played their part, with Drake attacking Riohachi in 1568 and the countless colonial squabbles of the next few centuries. Declaring itself independent from Spain when Napoleon ousted the Spanish King in 1810, the new country experienced a brief period of freedom and then was quickly reconquered in 1815 by the unpleasant and bloody campaigns of General Murillo. So much did their internal bickering allow their fledgling country to fall to the sword of Murillo, the period is immortalized in Colombia's history with the colorful name of la Patria Boba, or "The Booby Fatherland." Round two, however, fell to the Colombians, when Simón Bolívar reliberated the country in 1820 and became its very first president. In 1849, the country was sufficiently advanced enough to concretize their squabbling in the form of two political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, who exist to this day. These two parties form the political framework for much of García Márquez's fiction, and understanding their true natures is both a key to his writing and, unfortunately, an important insight to Latin American politics in general.

Although initially forming around the nucleus of two distinct and different ideologies, long years of bloody conflict have served to significantly erode the distinctions between the parties. The Conservatives and the Liberals are more like warring factions or clans than any parties with firmly established and radically different ideologies. Both tend to be repressive, both are corrupt, and bot...

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... and in the same year he wrote Viva Sandino, a screenplay about the Sandanistas and the Nicaraguan Revolution. Politics, however, would be far from his mind for his next work of fiction, which would be a love story. Turning again to his rich past for inspiration and material, he reworked his parent's strange courtship into the form of a decade-spanning narrative. The story would be about two frustrated lovers and the long tome between their second courtship, and in 1986 Love in the Time of Cholera was unveiled to the anxious world. It was highly received, and there was no question that García Márquez had become a writer with universal appeal. By now one of the most famous writers in the world, he eased into a lifestyle of writing, teaching, and political activism. With residences in Mexico City, Cuernavaca,
Paris, Barcelona, and Barranquilla, he finished the decade by publishing The
General in his Labyrinth in 1990, and two years later Strange Pilgrims was born.
In 1994 he published his most recent work of fiction, Love and Other Demons.
Today, García Márquez lives with Mercedes in Mexico City, where he has quit smoking and is in the perpetual state of "writing a novel."
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