I remember a conversation around three years ago with Richard McColl on his Colombia Calling radio show. We were dismayed at the lack of books on Colombia’s history, and about how Colombians forget, or erase the past.
It wasn’t an original idea. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hector Abad, Juan Gabriel Vasquez are some of Colombia’s finest writers and each places memory, myth, and the distortion of history at the heart of his novels.
At the start of the epic telenovela about the life of Pablo Escobar, El Patron del Mal, the viewer is reminded that, “he who forgets history is condemned to repeat it”.
And for writers like William Ospina, this inability to keep the facts and errors of history alive is one of the defining features of the Colombian condition. In The Search for Bolivar he tells us Colombians live in a kind of purgatory; where nothing happens but the repetition of the past. “Time wasn’t passing, but going round in circles”, as Ursula says in 100 Years of Solitude. Read more…