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FBI kept watch on Mexican author Carlos Fuentes

The late Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.
(Alexandre Meneghini / Associated Press)

Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican literary giant who died last year at 83, had hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide. Among them, it turns out, was the FBI.

According to a story in the Madrid newspaper El País, as well as a digital dossier on the FBI’s website, the author of such novels as “The Old Gringo” and “The Death of Artemio Cruz” was regarded by the G-men in Washington as a “leading Mexican communist writer” and potential subversive.

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In addition to internal FBI communications, the online file on Fuentes contains copies of telegrams, newspaper clippings and other materials, many of which concern Fuentes’ efforts to obtain a visa to visit the United States to take part in a debate in the early 1960s.

The file indicates that the FBI was tracking Fuentes’ movements at various points over a period that spanned some 20 years. In one document sent to the FBI director in 1970, it was recommended that the agency establish sources and informants to find out whatever information “pertains to the activities of the subject,” El País reported in Spanish.

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The newspaper, citing an Associated Press report, said the file also contained a document taking note of Fuentes’ past visits to Iron Curtain countries and Cuba.

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