All dictators and murderers have had staunch defenders — Stalin, Hitler, and Fidel Castro.
Perhaps the most heinous in that fauna supporting dictatorships are writers, poets, and artists. I’ve been saying for decades that an honest intellectual has a commitment to society: Tell the truth, fight for respect and human dignity, and do not lie or skip over the historical reality and thereby abuse the privilege of reaching millions of people.
This is one of the biggest crimes in the case of the late Gabriel García Márquez. He put his pen at the service of Fidel Castro’s tyranny, supporting torture, the concentration camps, and the murdering by firing squad of whoever dared to oppose the Communist regime. García Márquez used to say that the only country in the Americas that respected human rights was Cuba.
Many years ago, I helped with the rescue of a lady who was García Márquez’s personal secretary in Cuba; she was hiding from the police in Colombia because they wanted to return her to Havana. A city commissioner of Miami, Fla. (he was mayor of Miami at the time), Xavier Suarez, accompanied me to the airport to welcome her.
She told us about the life of the Colombian writer in Cuba. García Márquez lived in a “House of Protocol” with Blanquita, his teenage lover — who was young enough to be his granddaughter (we saw the pictures). The Nobel winner had a white Mercedes Benz, another gift from his friend Fidel Castro, and privileges in exchange for defending Castro’s dictatorship, all while he rent his robes denouncing Pinochet.
García Márquez became an informer for Castro’s political police. Many years ago, back in Havana, dissident and human-rights activist Ricardo Bofill, with the help of Colin McSeveny — who was then a Reuters reporter — managed to enter the hotel where García Márquez was having a few drinks. In a quiet corner, with absolute discretion, Bofill gave García Márquez a series of documents and reports on the situation of several intellectuals in Cuba. A few weeks later the police arrested Bofill. When they did, there, open on the table of the interrogator, were the documents that Bofill had delivered to García Márquez.
On October 13, 1968, two Spanish newspapers, ABC and Diario 16, published the complaint Bofill wrote about this arrest, in which he pointed out that “the denouncement of García Márquez conduced to the imprisonment of numerous writers and artists.” As Mario Vargas Llosa put it, García Márquez was the courtesan of Castro. And a sneak as well, I would add.
Some of his friends and defenders have said that García Márquez interceded for my freedom. This is absolutely untrue — a complete falsehood. I have enough moral honesty (which he did not) to have accepted the story if it had been true. This version was a maneuver of his buddies to capitalize on the international sympathy that produced my release; they used this sympathy on his behalf. What he did was use the Nobel Prize ceremony to repeat accusations of Castro against me, which prompted a strong critical letter from the French PEN Club, into which I had been adopted as an honorary member.
If García Márquez had attained freedom and departure from Cuba of a political prisoner, it was only for a snitch like him, a man who betrayed 99 of his co-conspirators: the leader of the MRP, the despicable Reynold González.
García Márquez supported the torture, the shootings, and the murders of my companions in the prisons. If I were a devoted Christian, I would have to say, “May the Lord receive him in His arms.” But, as I am not, and as I do not reach that level of spiritual perfection, I want him to be eternally in the hell pots.
— Armando Valladares (born May 30, 1937) is a Cuban poet, diplomat, and human-rights activist. In 1960, he was arrested by the Cuban government for protesting Communism, leading Amnesty International to name him a prisoner of conscience. Following his release in 1982, he wrote a book, Against All Hope, detailing his imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Cuban government, and was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Describing his incarceration at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Valladares wrote:“For me, it meant 8,000 days of hunger, of systematic beatings, of hard labor, of solitary confinement and solitude, 8,000 days of struggling to prove that I was a human being, 8,000 days of proving that my spirit could triumph over exhaustion and pain, 8,000 days of testing my religious convictions, my faith, of fighting the hate my atheist jailers were trying to instill in me with each bayonet thrust, fighting so that hate would not flourish in my heart, 8,000 days of struggling so that I would not become like them.”