President Juan Manuel Santos joined mourners at “Colombia’s largest farewell ceremony of all time,” the memorial service for Colombian author, Gabriel ‘Gabo’ Garcia Marquez, the president’s office reported Monday.
“Eternal glory to he who has given us even more glory!” exclaimed Santos, in attendance with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, where the tribute was held on Monday.
The Palace was adorned with roses and yellow butterflies. There were also Colombian and Mexican flags. Family, friends, and admirers of all ages attended to pay tribute to the iconic master of literature.
“The murals of Rivera, Siqueiros, Tamayo, and Orozco are the appropriate framework for a man who, infused into his work more than what it is to be Colombian, but the very essence of being Latin American, and especially the Caribbean ,” said the president in his speech.
“Gabo said , ( … ) ‘it is not too late, it is never too late, to believe in utopia… [a] new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible,’ ” the President said.
The president closed his speech by saying that the essence of the writer was in his works, and there he will live forever:
“Gabriel García Márquez , the most Colombian of Colombians – is still alive , will live in his books and texts, but mostly – mostly – he will live forever in the hopes of mankind,” said Santos.
Mexican President Peña Nieto also expressed admiration for García Márquez and noted that ” if we were to personify Latin America with a symbol of emotion, generosity and greatness, Gabriel García Márquez would be an ideal figure”, saying also that “García Márquez is the most important Latin American novelist of all time.”
According to Colombia’s Ambassador to Mexico, Garcia Marquez’ family has the last word on their loved one’s resting place. The ambassador speculated that some of Marquez’ ashes will be taken back to Colombia, and some will remain in Mexico. None of the family members have spoken publicly after the novelist’s death.
Garcia Marquez died on Thursday after a years-long battle against cancer. The writer is the only Colombian to ever have been awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature.
- ¡Gloria eterna a quien más gloria nos ha dado!’, afirmó el Presidente Santos en homenaje a Gabriel García Márquez (presidential press release)
- ‘García Márquez es el más grande novelista de América Latina de todos los tiempos’: Presidente de México (presidential press release)