One Hundred Years of Imbecility
Andrés Reynaldo only needs one paragraph to explain the Cuban contribution to Latin American strongman dictatorships and in doing so — perhaps not intending to — he explains a good part of Garcia Marquez’s greatness together with his most obvious miserableness: He made the Latin American family with all its miseries a myth, discovering in Fidel Castro an incredibly successful Aureliano Buendia, who he embraced and as superstitious as he was, made him the most secure talisman he could find.
“Cuba has designed a formidable repressive formula that reconciles fascism and communism with revolutionary thought in Latin America. Our spineless nationalist tendencies and self-serving attitudes are a perfect dictatorial trap. The solidarity Latin America has with Havana and Caracas goes beyond partnering with drug traffickers and thieves. It has to do with a macabre sign, a Freudian sense, of tribal survival. The criticism of Castroism and Chavism implies as well a criticism of our own essence.”
While that magic realism, that formula that has engendered pain outside the “Like Water for Chocolate” story is seen as a formula that through holding back modernity encourages Latin American flamboyance, that mythology, which raised up Garcia Marquez with the worst and even the best of each nation will remain intact. It is a mythology that by no means is innocent — as Reynaldo recognizes in the horrors he describes — and with descendants so vast as those of Buendia. All of this so as not to recognize in Latin America what Angela Vicario discovered in her mother’s face when she saw her smile when a former lover she had chased away walked by: “In that smile, Angela Vicario saw for the first time in her life what she truly was: A poor woman, consecrated to the worship of her own defects.” So, there we have it, a continent that like Pura Vicario, has become a devotee of its worst attributes.