Bill Clinton visits Colombia, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.</i>

Former President Clinton visited Colombia last week, meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos while visiting Cartagena, where Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro showed him around the city in an electric taxi.

Then Clinton took time out to visit with Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 86.

Marquez has been said to be suffering from dementia. Last summer, his brother, Jaime Garcia Marquez, announced that cancer treatments the writer had undergone hastened a memory decline.

“Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defenses and cells, and accelerated the process,” he told the Guardian. “He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him.”

Not everyone agreed. The head of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez New Journalism Foundation observed that he thought Garcia Marquez was no different than the average man of his age.


Perhaps that’s the case. Clinton seemed to be able to carry on a conversation with the author, according to a report from Agencia EFE. “Clinton said afterward that the conversation centered on family and that Garcia Marquez recalled that he had met the former president’s daughter, Chelsea, 20 years ago and the two had had a long chat about his books,” the report said.

Maybe that was the night in 1994 when the former president and Garcia Marquez had dinner at William Styron’s house with Carlos Fuentes, among others.

In Colombia last week, Clinton said that after Garcia Marquez met Chelsea, the author sent her all of his works that had been translated into English.

That would have included, of course, the novels “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” “The Autumn of the Patriarch,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “The General in His Labyrinth” and the novella “Chronicle of a Death Foretold.”

[For the Record, 11:30 a.m. PDT May 21: An earlier version of this post stated said that former President Clinton visited Bogota on his trip to Colombia. His visit was to Cartagena.]


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