In “The New Normal: On Cuba and the Power of Translation,” Esther Allen analyzes the role of translation in the context of Barack Obama’s strategic use of the words of Cuba’s iconic and beloved insurgent, writer José Martí:

During the historic speech on December 17, 2014, when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba, Barack Obama turned to address the Cuban people directly. He began with a citation from José Martí: “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest.” Cultural anthropologist Ruth Behar, a daughter of Cuban exiles whose work focuses on Cuba, hailed this as one of the most significant features of the speech for all Cubans, on or off the island. As a translator of Martí, I have to agree. Raul Castro would appear to agree as well, judging by the fact that a giant portrait of José Martí was hanging on the wall directly behind him throughout the speech he made at the same time to announce the prisoner exchange and the new understanding between Cuba and the U.S.

Martí’s life spanned the second half of the nineteenth century. He spent most of his adulthood in New York City, where he wrote voluminously about the United States in dispatches that were published across Latin America. Cuba was still a colony of Spain at the time and Martí was the primary architect of Cuban independence. But Cuba’s founding father was killed in 1895, in a skirmish with Spanish forces in the early weeks of the insurgency he started. Instead of Cuba’s revolution of independence, Martí’s struggle became the Spanish-American War, a battle between two empires. The United States occupied Cuba for most of the ensuing decade, and established a naval station on Guantánamo that, as we all know, is still there.

Martí’s complete works add up to twenty-four volumes in the most recent critical edition prepared by the Institute of José Martí Studies in Havana. It is, by my count, at least the twelfth edition of the complete works to have been compiled; the first was published in Washington D.C., Havana, Rome, and Berlin between 1900 and 1933. Other Obras completas have been published in Madrid, Caracas, Paris, and, of course, Havana. This editorial proliferation is only a small measure of Martí’s importance to Cubans and others across the globe.

As soon as Obama cited it, I started trying to dig up the source of the line. Martí’s work is so vast, so replete with complex juxtapositions and perspectives that people have tended to break it down into decontextualized aphorisms like this one. Quite a few of these turn out not to have been said by Martí at all, but I figured Obama was way too smart for that, and I was right.

Obama and his speechwriters chose the line, and the translation that they used, very astutely. The first place I located it was a volume titled Thoughts, edited by Carlos Ripoll, a Martí expert of beloved memory who received me warmly at his home in Miami one wonderful afternoon in 2002. Ripoll, who taught at City University of New York and devoted his whole scholarly life to Martí, is a revered figure within the Cuban exile community. He published Thoughts in 1994, in an attempt to make Martí better known to U.S. readers, but he first used the line Obama cited in a famous 1988 letter to the editor of the New York Review of Books in which he deplored the Castro regime’s “Marxification of Martí.”

My search then led me to a pedagogical article published in Cuba a few years ago by a group of Cuban teachers to describe a new approach to elementary second language acquisition wherein students learn English by translating the work of José Martí into English. [. . .] The bulk of it—though not the phrase Obama cited—is taken from Martí’s impassioned and ecstatic crónica about the celebration of the Statue of Liberty’s unveiling in New York City in October 1886. Martí was there.

Translation, especially the translation of the words of your nation’s own founding father, can be a safe way of expressing ideas that might otherwise be deemed controversial. The version of the line done by beginning English students in Havana in 2003 is word-for-word identical to the line cited by Ripoll in 1988 and 1994, and by Obama in 2014.

I was even more awestruck by Obama’s choice when I found the original Spanish and realized what context it first appears in. “Libertad es el derecho que todo hombre tiene a ser honrado y a pensar y hablar sin hipocresía” is the opening line of the second paragraph of “Tres Héroes,” a story by Martí about the three founding heroes of Latin American independence (Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín, and Miguel Hidalgo), published in La Edad de Oro, a monthly children’s magazine Martí founded, edited, and wrote in 1889. [. . .] In simple, direct language,  Martí not only praises the heroes, but acknowledges that their work remains unfinished and urges all the children of América to follow their example: “These are the heroes: those who fight to free their peoples and those who suffer poverty and adversity in defense of a great truth.” [. . .]

[Many thanks to Jacqueline Loss, through EthnoCuba, for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full article, see http://wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/article/the-new-normal


“Miami’s Cuban exiles have long demanded a hard US line against the Castros, but a younger generation is more open-minded than their parents,” says Raf Sanchez (The Telegraph):

Miami’s southwest 8th street, known locally as “Calle Ocho”, is like no other street in America. Elderly Cuban men hunch over domino tiles in Máximo Gómez Park, grunting at each other in Spanish through cigars clenched between their teeth. Rumba music blares from the corner cafes, and on the corner of 13th Avenue is a shrine where a statue of the Virgin Mary stands a few yards from a sculpture of a soldier with a machine gun. A plaque reads in Spanish: “To the martyrs who have shed blood for the freedom of Cuba”.

For more than fifty years, Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood has been the exile capital for hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled their homeland after Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. Many of the first wave arrived as near-destitute refugees, but over the decades the exiles have risen to become a potent force in American political life. Even as their wealth expanded and their children grew up as Americans, they stayed focused on one goal: toppling the communist dictator who drove them from their homes.

Such is the exiles’ clout in the key swing state of Florida that American presidents of both parties have stuck rigidly to a 1960s policy of isolating Cuba economically with a trade embargo and refusing to deal with it diplomatically. Even as the US normalised diplomatic relations with China, a far more powerful rival, and Vietnam, a country where half a million Americans died fighting communism, its policy towards Cuba remained frozen in time. That decades-long consensus came crashing down on Wednesday morning when Barack Obama announced he was reopening the US embassy in Havana and bringing Cuba in from the cold. “Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future,” he said.

The sense of anger and betrayal felt by older Cuban exiles is written across Miriam de la Peña’s face. Her firstborn son, Mario, was a volunteer pilot with Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami activist group that used to fly sorties over the 90 miles of sea separating Florida from Cuba, looking for the makeshift rafts of Cubans trying to flee to the US. On February 24, 1996, Cuban military jets darted into international airspace and shot down two of the Brothers’ Cessna aircraft, killing Mario and three other pilots.

The FBI later concluded that the Brothers had been infiltrated by “the Cuban Five”, a group of Cuban spies in Miami who helped the regime’s air force track and destroy Mario’s aircraft. One of the spies was convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to life in a US federal prison – where he remained until Mr Obama freed him on Wednesday as part of the diplomatic deal.

[. . .] In just the last six weeks, he has enraged Republicans by announcing a major climate deal with China, an extension of nuclear negotiations with Iran and a promise to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the US. But the White House has also calculated that the Cuban-American community is changing over time and that its younger members do no not share their parents’ hardline views.

Cubans who arrived in the US more recently – and so actually lived part of their lives under the American trade embargo – are generally less supportive than those who fled in the 1960s before the isolation policies were imposed. [. . .] A full 90 per cent of younger people wanted diplomatic relations restored, compared to 68 per cent of Cubans overall.

[. . .] “There are differences in the generations,” said Carlos Giménez, the Cuban-American mayor of Miami-Dade County. “My views are a little different from my parents and my kids’ are a little different from mine.” [. . .]


For full article, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/cuba/11306080/Rage-and-hope-in-Little-Havana-as-Barack-Obama-brings-Cuba-in-from-the-cold.html

Posted by: ivetteromero | December 21, 2014

Roberto Fortunato, Kche Bandazza Singer, Dies


Roberto Fortunato, from Kche Bandazza, was shot dead at the age of 40. The lead singer of the band was assassinated Wednesday night in a taxi in Coyoacán in México City.

The Dominican Republic musician was on board the cab with Itzel Pacheco López, according to El Universal. Both of them were en route to singing a contract. However, the man that was allegedly going to contract him for a gig shot him in the head, according to eye witnesses at the scene. The driver, Luis Espinoza Martinez, was also injured. Fortunato died at the scene, while the condition of the woman accompanying him is not known at this time.

Fortunato was previously a band mate of Merenglass, one of the most popular merengue group in México. On the official Facebook page for the group a message was written in honor of the deceased. “Sad news for merengue in México,” the statement read. “We are dismayed by the passing of the member of Kche Bandazza, one of our former mates. He was a great promoter of merengue and a tremendous human beign. May he rest in peace.” With his current band, Roberto Fortunato, took on the lead vocals with songs like “Gata,” “Fresa Salvaje” and “La Moda.”

For original articles, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/people/2014/12/20/53710/Dominican-musician-Roberto-Fortunato-shot-dead-in-Mexico and http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/12/18/i932891_asesinan-mxico-merenguero-dominicano-roberto-fortunato-rojas.html

Posted by: ivetteromero | December 21, 2014

Florence Duperval Guillaume named interim Prime Minister of Haiti


Haiti’s Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume has been named interim Prime Minister to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned a week ago following several weeks of protests. The BBC writes that, according to the Haitian Constitution, Duperval Guillaume may be in that position on an interim basis for up to 30 days before the election is designated for parliamentary approval. Here are excerpts from a Haiti Libre article:

Enex Jean-Charles, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers announced “I have the honor to inform you that, following the resignation of the Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe and his removal from the post for personal reasons, Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume, Minister of Public Health and Population, was designated as Acting Prime Minister in accordance with Article 165 of the Constitution.”

It seems that the position of the opposition on the choice of a new prime minister has forced President Martelly, to avoid a confrontation and a blocking of the ratification by Parliament, to apply as we mentioned in our previous articles, the designation of an Acting Prime minister, in accordance with the Constitution, using Article 165 which states in its second part “[…] In case of permanent incapacity duly established of the Prime Minister or his removal from the post for personal reasons, the President chooses an acting Prime Minister from among the members of the cabinet pending the formation of a new government within a period not exceeding 30 days.”

For more information, see http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-12778-haiti-flash-dr-florence-duperval-guillaume-new-acting-prime-minister-of-haiti.html  in English and http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2014/12/141221_ultnot_america_latina_haiti_duperval_lav in Spanish.

Photo from http://www.haititechnews.com/haiti-sante-et-tic-un-defi-a-vaincre-par-le-minsitre-florence-duperval-guillaume/

Posted by: ivetteromero | December 21, 2014

Cuban Cigars on the U.S. Market


This is an article by Martí Noticias that celebrates the fact that the U.S. market will now be open for the purchase of Cuban cigars:

Milagros Diaz has been rolling cigars for 48 years, so long that she can no longer smell the tobacco, but she is delighted that the US market will finally be open to her Cuban handmade “habanos” (cigars).

Since US President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced the resuming of diplomatic relations with Cuba’s communist regime and the beginning of the withdrawal of economic sanctions, U.S. citizens have been arriving at the cigar shop at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, where she rolls “puro” cigars using techniques that have changed little since the nineteenth century.

“Ay, the North Americans!” she said. “Now, they have no fear. I’m super happy because I thought that at the age of 67 years, I was not going to live to see this diplomatic relationship. And we can sell more because this is beginning already.”

Cigars have been a distinctive product of Cuba since Christopher Columbus first observed in 1492 how the natives of the Caribbean island smoked rolled-up tobacco leaves.

Cuban cigars are considered by many as the best in the world, especially brands such as Cohiba, Partagas, and Montecristo, but the US trade embargo blocked its access to a market which last year imported 317.6 million high-quality handmade cigars.

Under new rules that will be implemented soon, the United States will allow its citizens traveling to Cuba to return with one hundred dollars’ worth of alcohol and tobacco.

For full article, see http://www.martinoticias.com/content/cigarros-cuba-comercio-tabacos-ee-uu/82754.html

Posted by: ivetteromero | December 21, 2014

New Film: Marilyn Solaya’s “Vestido de novia”


Marilyn Solaya’s Vestido de novia [Wedding Dress (Cuba /Spain, 2014)] has been classified as an LGBT drama. The synopsis says: “In 90’s Havana, a nurse and a home builder hopelessly in love, live happily married. A circumstantial fact of her past life will put their feelings to test and undermine the most elemental principles.”

In her review “Vidas amputadas: Sobre Vestido de Novia, la película de Marilyn Solaya” [Amputated Lives: On Wedding Dress, a film by Marilyn Solaya] Danae C. Diéguez writes:  

Vestido de novia is a film in which a love story becomes a discourse on the nation; it goes from the minimum to the macro. The story of Rosa Elena, a person who has been reassigned to another biological sex and is constructed as a woman through the most traditional teachings on femininity, is the storyline that triggers the latent ideas in this cinematic project. However, I would vindicate the anecdotal as symbol of a conflict that transcends those personal stories and presents a proposal that makes the film an intense work that transcends us, as humans, to confront public policy, societies that still maintain the hypocrisy and speak on behalf of a rarely consulted truth.

The women and men in this story have learned to live from the perspective of the prison of these corseted teachings on gender and, of course, are the victims of it. Vestido de novia marks the difference when the point of view is verified by its director—in this case, script writer as well—about how we socialize women and men to benefit a system of patriarchal domination that legitimizes and maintains inequities. In my view, herein lies the difference or most important pivotal point for this film in the context of Cuban cinema that has addressed the issue: Marilyn does not support discourses of tolerance, she knows that the one who “tolerates” and the one who is “tolerated” mark a relationship of power; she does not sugar-coat it; she is not complacent. She goes straight to the cause of those lies, her characters are barely saved from collapse because, with her film, she demands respect, diversity, and love above all absurd social pressures that only generate double lives or perhaps amputated lives.

[. . .] See full review in the link below.

MarilynMarilyn Solaya is a Cuban actress, scriptwriter, director and producer. She was born in Havana in 1970. She got a degree in film directing from the School of Audiovisual Communication at the Superior Institute of Art [Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA)] in Havana. She also studied drama at the National Art School. She started her career in cinema as an actress, playing Vivian; David´s girlfriend in the critically acclaimed Cuban film Strawbery and Chocolate by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío (1993). She also worked in the Argentine film Despabílate amor (1996), by Eliseo Subiela; in the Canadian production Omerta III, La Ley del silencio; and the Chilean Sensible, by Francisco Hervé, both in 1998.

Her debut as director was with the short Alegrías in 1999. She then wrote the script and directed the documentary En el cuerpo equivocado (2010), co-directed the documentary Retamar (2004), and wrote and directed Mírame mi amor (2002) and Hasta que la muerte nos separe (2000), among other documentaries. Vestido de novia is her first narrative feature.

See full review by Danae C. Diéguez (in Spanish) at http://www.lajiribilla.cu/articulo/9356/vidas-amputadas-sobre-vestido-de-novia-la-pelicula-de-marilyn-solaya

Also see (in Spanish) http://www.martinoticias.com/content/la-intolerancia-y-represin-contra-homosexuales-llega-por-primera-vez-al-cine-cubano/81636.html

For more information, see http://www.habanerofilmsales.com/

Posted by: ivetteromero | December 21, 2014

9 Ways to Enjoy Bonaire


Caribbean Journal presents “9 Ways to Enjoy Bonaire by Land.” Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon points out that “with [. . .] 89 dive sites, 350 species of fish, and 57 types of coral, Bonaire is a [. . .] diver’s paradise. But you don’t have to go deep to appreciate it.” I have always wanted to visit Bonaire, so I am paying attention to this one! Here are just a few of the (nine) ways to enjoy the Dutch Caribbean island; see full article below for the full list and spectacular photographs:

Sample Iguana Soup: OK, this might not sound like the most appetizing dish but come on, you have to try it! Locals have been eating the island’s ubiquitous amphibian for years, and at lunchtime at restaurants such as Rincon’s Rose Inn and Maikey Snack in Kralendijk it sells out fast. So fast, in fact, that I didn’t get a chance to sample it while I was there. So do me a favor and give it a try; I’m told it tastes like a bonier version of chicken soup with a few scales thrown in for extra texture. And if it turns out not to be to your taste? Well, at least you’ve got an interesting story to tell at your next cocktail party. [. . .]

Visit the Slave Huts: Many of the slaves who were forced to work Bonaire’s salt flats back in the 19th century lived a seven-hour walk away in the town of Rincon. So they slept in groups of four or more in tiny Spartan huts opposite the flats, and made the trek back home on Sundays after working a six-day week. Visiting the now-restored cramped beachfront huts (in two villages, called White Slave and Red Slave) and stepping into their cramped quarters is a moving and unique experience you shouldn’t miss. [. . .]

Ride the Wind at Sorobon: If you’re into windsurfing or kite surfing head straight for the east coast where a constant breeze and shallow turquoise waters have made Sorobon a water sports mecca. There’s a string of water sports outfits along the shore that offer lessons and equipment rental. And there are plenty of beachfront restaurants to satisfy people like me, who’d rather take in the wet and wild action under the shade and in the company of an Amstel Bright. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribjournal.com/2014/12/20/9-ways-to-enjoy-bonaire-by-land/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 20, 2014

NYT Editorial: Cuba’s Gay Rights Evolution

Cuba International Day Against Homophobia

This editorial from the New York Times was accompanied by two videos that you can access through the link below.

In Cuba, street marches have historically been government-orchestrated events or dissident protests that are swiftly crushed by the authorities. So it was downright startling when, in May 2007, Fidel Castro’s niece sauntered down the street with a small army of drag queens waving gay pride flags.

Long before the Obama administration announced a dramatic shift in Cuba policy on Wednesday, asserting that isolating the island had failed, a couple of Western governments with close ties to the United States saw the potential to help gay Cubans, even though it meant working with a prominent member of the Castro family. Havana’s first observance of theInternational Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia marked the beginning of a remarkable evolution of gay rights in the most populous island in the Caribbean, a region where hostile attitudes toward sexual minorities remain the norm.

Mariela Castro, the daughter of the current president, Raúl Castro, has led the charge on legislative and societal changes that have given rise to an increasingly visible and empowered community. In the process, she has carved out a rare space for civil society in an authoritarian country where grass-roots movements rarely succeed. Some Western diplomats in Havana have seen the progress on gay rights as a potential blueprint for expansion of other personal freedoms in one of the most oppressed societies on earth.

Norway and Belgium have financially supported Ms. Castro’s organization, the National Center for Sexual Education, offering a test of the merits of supporting certain policies of a government that the United States and European capitals have largely shunned because of its bleak human rights record. As the Obama administration begins carrying out its new Cuba policy, it should draw lessons from the impact others have had by engaging.

“It’s fine to criticize, but you also have to acknowledge that they’ve done good,” said John Petter Opdahl, Norway’s ambassador to Cuba, in a recent interview. Mr. Opdahl, who is gay, said his government gave Ms. Castro’s organization $230,000 over the last two years. “She has taken off a lot of the stigma for most people in the country, and she has made life so much better for so many gay people, not only in Havana but in the provinces.”

Fidel Castro’s government ostracized sexual minorities during the 1960s and 1970s, sending some people to labor camps. The brutal treatment of gay men was poignantly chronicled by the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, who was jailed in 1974 for literary works the authorities deemed an “ideological deviation.” His autobiography, “Before Night Falls,” a critically acclaimed book that was made into a movie, is perhaps the most authoritative testimony of a particularly dark chapter of Cuban history.

Ms. Castro said she and her mother, Vilma Espín, for years quietly pressed the Castro brothers to soften their attitude toward sexual minorities. A decade ago, Cuba’s gay community was no longer as persecuted, but it nonetheless operated in the shadows. Ms. Castro, a member of Cuba’s National Assembly, opted to take on the issue.

After the 2007 march, Ms. Castro, who is straight, began a public campaign to promote tolerance. She persuaded the government in recent years to offer state-paid gender reassignment surgery and hormone treatment for transgender people. Last year, when the Assembly passed a labor code that protected gays and lesbians — but not transgender people — from discrimination in the workplace, Ms. Castro became the first lawmaker in Cuban history to cast a dissenting vote in protest. Her ultimate goal, she said, was codifying full equality under the law.

Gay Cubans say that discrimination remains a problem, particularly outside big cities. Still, last year, a woman in Caribién, a municipality east of Havana, became the country’s first transgender elected official. At the urging of Ms. Castro and gay bloggers, in 2010 Cuba began voting in favor of resolutions supporting gay rights at the United Nations, breaking ranks with allies in Africa and the Caribbean.

While widely admired, Ms. Castro and her state-run organization are not without critics in Cuba’s gay community. In 2011, Yasmín Portales Machado, a gay rights activist, decided to start a new group called Proyecto Arco Iris, or Rainbow, feeling it was necessary to have a platform for other voices and ideas.

In 2012, on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Arco Iris convened a public kissing meet-up to promote diversity and equality. Hours before it began, a security official called Ms. Machado. Next time, he asked, please pick a venue in a part of Havana that isn’t close to sensitive government buildings. The kissing event was a success. The call “was a gay-friendly gesture from state security,” she said, laughing.

The Obama administration has spent millions of dollars promoting gay rights around the world and has made the issue a diplomatic priority. In the Dominican Republic, Washington took a bold stance last year when officials appeared unwilling to accept Wally Brewster, the openly gay entrepreneur President Obama nominated as ambassador. The State Department warned Santo Domingo that if it turned Mr. Brewster down, the country would find itself without an American envoy for a long time.

When Dominican officials acquiesced, they asked that Mr. Brewster be discreet about his sexual orientation. American officials responded that he, like all ambassadors in the region, would be expected to champion gay rights. To make the point, the State Department released a video of Mr. Brewster and his partner expressing their enthusiasm for the new job.

By contrast, American officials have had few opportunities to support Cuba’s gay rights evolution and have been conflicted on how to handle Ms. Castro. When the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum nominated her for an award last year, American officials initially said they would not give her a visa. After the group protested, they relented.

Ms. Machado said most gay rights activists on the island have not accepted support from Washington because its policy toward Cuba was predicated on regime change. “While the United States is the enemy of our state, we can’t work with them,” she said recently in an interview in Havana. “Any support you receive makes you a traitor.”

That entrenched view has stymied American efforts to promote things such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. President Obama’s changed policy will make engagement with Americans more palatable.

For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/opinion/sunday/cubas-gay-rights-evolution.html?_r=0

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 20, 2014

Writers Pay Homage to Garcia Marquez in Guadalajara’s Book Fair


In a special event Latin American intellectuals remembered “Gabo” as a friend, TeleSurTV.com reports. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Latin American authors and intellectuals remembered Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died April, during a special homage at the 2014 Guadalajara’s Book Fair, in Mexico.

“Hope and happiness will always be the signature of that man who so many of us loved.” said Mexican novelist Angeles Mastretta.

​In 1982 Marquez won the literature Nobel prize, and was part of the so called “Boom” which represented the most successful generation of Latin American writers, along with authors like Julio Cortazar and Mario Vargas Llosa.


Spanish journalist and translator Pilar del Rio, widow of Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago, said that her husband and Garcia Marquez used to have long and intelligent discussions, even when some times they did not agree on certain topics.

Also present in the book fair homage was Colombian writer Jorge Franco, journalist Jaime Abello, and Cuban script writer Senel Paz, who talked about Gabo’s passion for cinema.

According to Milenio the most common phrase among the authors was: “We all love Gabo.”

Guadalajara’s book fair is considered the most important book fair for Spanish literature, and the second most important in the world. It is held each year in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

For the original report go to http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Writers-Pay-Homage-to-Garcia-Marquez-in-Guadalajaras-Book-Fair-20141130-0008.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | December 20, 2014

Colombia to print Garcia Marquez banknotes in tribute to writer

Workers install a banner of the late Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Bogota

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Colombia’s central bank will print banknotes to honor the country’s most celebrated writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died in April and who is renowned as the father of magical realism storytelling, Reuters reports.

Congress passed a bill on Tuesday instructing the bank to feature a depiction of “Gabo”, as he was affectionately known, on the next bills it produces. The law also requires that certain sites in his native region be preserved for tourism.

The prolific writer, who started out as a newspaper reporter, was best known for his masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, which won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He is credited with bringing Latin America to life for millions of readers with his tales of love and longing.

“Gabo left an extraordinary literary and journalistic collection of work whose distribution, reading and study should be actively promoted,” Congressman Antenor Duran was quoted as saying by the newspaper El Espectador.

“This initiative, as well as paying tribute to him seeks to ensure future generations know who this great Colombian, humanist, literary man and democrat was,” he said.

Most Colombian notes feature portraits of notable figures in the country’s early 19th century struggle for independence from Spain. Romantic poet Jorge Isaacs is pictured on the largest banknote in circulation, worth 50,000 pesos ($20.44).

The central bank has two other runs of banknotes to print before printing those featuring Garcia Marquez, so the notes may not appear for many months or possibly a few years.

Garcia Marquez died in April at age 87 in his Mexico City home after a bout of pneumonia. His archives, including manuscripts, photo albums, typewriters and computers, were acquired by the University of Texas last month.

For the original report go to http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/17/us-colombia-garciamarquez-idUSKBN0JV25X20141217

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