Carlos Fuentes, RIP
Carlos Fuentes, the great Mexican novelist and chronicler of culture, died today. From the New York Times obituary:
In the tradition of Latin American writers, Mr. Fuentes was an outspoken public intellectual, writing magazine, newspaper and journal articles that criticized the Mexican government during the long period of sometimes repressive single-party rule that ended in 2000 with the election of an opposition candidate, Vicente Fox Quesada. Mr. Fuentes was more ideological than political. He tended to embrace justice and basic human rights regardless of political labels. He initially supported Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba, but turned against it as Castro became increasingly authoritarian. He openly sympathized with Indian rebels in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, and publicly skewered the administration of George W. Bush…
In his later years, Mr. Fuentes became an elder statesman of international letters, living in both London and Mexico City, spending part of the year at American universities and lecturing widely. On his 80th birthday, hundreds of admirers gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to celebrate his life and work. He was introduced by Ruben Beltran, the consul general of Mexico in New York at the time.
“To speak about Carlos Fuentes is to engage inexorably in Mexican history and culture,” Mr. Beltran said. “We cannot fathom a debate on Mexican literary and humanistic traditions in which his name and work are absent.”
He was eight-three years old.