Sartre and García Márquez, friends of infamy

Hugo Marcelo Balderrama

By: Hugo Marcelo Balderrama - 13/05/2024

Guest columnist.
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The official history of the friendship between Fidel Castro and Jean Paul Sartre says that the Caribbean dictator and the French philosopher met in 1960, a few months after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

On that occasion, Sartre interviewed Fidel about the apparent great achievements that the revolution had brought for Cubans in its first months. Castro's words were: «What if they asked for the moon? If they asked me for the moon, it means they were needing it and we would have to give it to them. Everything they ask for, whatever it is, they have the right to obtain.

The friendship between Fidel and Sartre also included the latter's wife, Simone de Beauvoir. The paradox is that, while Beauvoir was spending rivers of ink talking about feminism and women's liberation, Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara, El Che, imposed a regime of "voluntary work" that lasted up to 18 hours every day of week. Basically, men and women were turned into simple slaves of the communist state machinery. That is, feminism, from its beginnings, was at the service of the dictatorship.

Gabriel García Márquez is another of the writers who was proud of his closeness to Castro.

García Márquez's loyalty to the Cuban dictatorship is related very well by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, a Spanish journalist, since at the time of writing: And God entered Havana, he interviewed Al Gabo: «Cuba is a symbol of social justice. I have my criticisms, but I do them in private. In public, all that remains is to congratulate,” stated the Nobel Prize winner in literature.

But the Colombian's relationship with Castro was not limited to admiration, but reached complicity, let's see:

Juan Reynaldo Sánchez, who was Castro's personal custodian for two decades, relates that García Márquez was from the dictator's inner circle, as he was one of the few who had access to the personal mansion that Fidel had built in Cayo Piedra. Visits included diving, fishing and grand banquets. That is to say, Gabito ate and drank at a table supported by the blood and suffering of Cubans, many of them his colleagues in writing and journalism.

On the other hand, at the end of the last decade, approximately, between 2017 and 2019, Normando Valentín, a Puerto Rican journalist, interviewed John Jairo Velázquez Vázquez, Popeye, one of Pablo Escobar's trusted gunmen on several occasions. When talking about Escobar's relations with Fidel, the hitman always said:

Raúl Castro received the cocaine from Pablo Escobar and Fidel was aware of it. The connection between the two was through letters written by my boss that I delivered to García Márquez, who was a kind of messenger. In one of those letters, Pablo Escobar asked Fidel for a Russian submarine to take drugs from Mexico to Havana, and with that submarine, to Miami.

For years there have been two questions that have been spinning in my head:

1.- Could it be that being leftist covered García Márquez from criticism, since his novels are full of incest, abuse of women and pedophilia?

2.- Would Gabo be aware of everything he did or was he just a useful fool?

I will never know the answer to my questions, but what I am sure of is that Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Gabriel García Márquez are part of those who raised the myths around Castro and Che. They are builders of narratives, friends of infamy, admirers of dictators and partners of criminals, it is time to unmask them.

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