Monday, January 24

“Very few Colombians have had the privilege of a normal life”: Juan Gabriel Vásquez

  • Daniel Pardo
  • HayFestivalQuerétaro @ BBCMundo

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Image source, Getty Images

Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez tries to explain how “fiction pays homage to reality” when he suddenly finds a more efficient way to illustrate his point: a letter written in Mao’s China in the 1960s.

He takes it out of a transparent folder in his library, and shows it.

In it, the then Colombian revolutionary Sergio Cabrera wrote to the Chinese-Latin American Friendship Association that “the revolution was passing them by side”; that is to say, that a revolutionary like him should not be locked up in a hotel in Beijing for foreigners, but in the marches of the Communist Red Guards.

The incredible story of Cabrera, who after being a revolutionary in China and a guerrilla in Colombia became one of the most important film directors in the country, is the latest vehicle through which Vásquez, 48, decided to address the most important question. wide of his already extensive literary work: why violence in Colombia “has the strange talent to reinvent itself“.

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