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Heaven and hell in Colombia

June 6 category:Books
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Heaven and hell in Colombia

A view of The Savanna of Bogota, January 30, 2004. With an altitude of about 2,600 meters above sea level, low temperatures are Threatening potato crops, vegetables and flowers, are qui Peasants' subsistence. Friday's temperature dipped to oven degrees Celsius, 40 degrees Fahrenheit, qui est Considered cold for the area. NO RIGHTS OR PERMISSIONS ARE REQUIRED CLEARANCES FOR THIS IMAGE REUTERS / Eliana Aponte EA / GAC

REUTERS / Eliana Aponte

In Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez tells the story of the village of Macondo. It closely resembles that of his country, Colombia. White houses, cockfights, sierra, backwaters, streets eroded by saltpetre, rocking chairs, large families, prostitutes, crucifix, leather shoes Cordoba, military marches, banana companies, gunshots, coups, tunes flute wing beats ... Few novels restore at this point the whole life of a country.

For the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, "British [...] assumed his past without inferiority complexes, without any resentment for this reason, it is very proud to speak Spanish - on the Bogotans speak very good , by the way, and some Colombians write it as gods. - and being, thanks to its history, a modern western country " (Dictionary lovers of Latin America, p. 215)

If one refers to the capital, Colombia is a State "modern" is undeniable. But for a European, namely Jacques Meunier, Bogotá seems engaged in a form of anarchy "Magnetic City, mirror the ethnic groups. Drunk vision of America Where do all these people came out of the mire How? , clay quarries, slum clay wasteland, attracted by the noise, the windows, the pavement? " (The kids Bogota, p. 14) For the travel writer, "this city, which at first appears to function as a yard, is a city outlaws. A cacophony. A paradox. [...] It adapts to the mixture of ages. And because it is not just stone, it resists the progress of bulldozers. A frenzy of machines and people. "

Thirty years before Meunier, the explorer and poet Alain Gheerbrant discovered another Colombia, torn between Andes and jungle: "In Bogota, where I arrived in September 1948 to find a forgotten world but continues to exist, it cold and water boils at forty-five degrees in two thousand six hundred meters of mountain and rocks. A four degrees below, the red bar on the equator, singing monkeys and parrots raised, the air is full of water and palm trees give way to the forest where walk naked, covered feathers of the museum, the caciques, wizards and warriors. " (Shipping Orinoco-Amazon, p. 12)

The dedicatee of Hundred Years of Solitude, Colombian poet Alvaro Mutis, describes a couple of these Indians of the Amazon, the first peoples of the countries looted by the conquistadors. "They remained there, watching the fire with an indifference reptiles L Man and wife are one and the other of impeccable beauty. [...] Their teeth are filed down and pointed and their voice is like the muffled cooing of a sleeping bird. " (Snow Admiral, p. 24) Curiously, in his novels, Mutis never names his homeland. He speaks of Cordillera rivers, forests, Caribbean. Water, rocks, trees are natural boundaries. Colombia does not only look like its neighbors but to all countries.

Since García Márquez, most Colombian writers have made a habit of giving names of imaginary places. This is the case of Héctor Abad Faciolince. In his novel Angosta, he describes a divided city ghettos in "sekteurs" under the features which we think we recognize Bogotá or Medellin. "Except for the climate, which is perfect, everything is horrible Angosta. It could be paradise, but it has become a hell." We meet paramilitaries, mafia, guerrillas, big cynical and selfish bourgeois. Like the Macondo of García Márquez's Angosta is a contemporary British metaphor. Why so dangerous to this country tunes, yet warm, engaging, gave so many writers who tell us? Probably because it condenses in an extreme way, but summarizes so well, the human condition.

Tags: Hell, Colombia, Heaven

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