That night, in Santo Domingo, Mario Vargas Llosa sat down as close as possible to the door. The dinner promised to be long and the writer felt that it was one thing to accept the invitation by courtesy but another, quite different, was to stay until the end. “In terms of the departure of the first guests, she had planned to go out after them,”, said yesterday the Nobel hispanoperuano. However, an unforeseen event frustrated their plans for escape. The writer, historian and poet Tony Raful appeared out of nowhere to sit next to her. After years without being seen, besides, your old friend put to test right away the patience of the writer and the relationship between the two: “Mario, I have a story for the scribes.”


Mario Vargas Llosa: “In the name of self-defense destroys the democracy,” Vargas Llosa: “Without the coup, the CIA in Guatemala, Fidel would not have radicalized”

The Nobel prize, how not to, frowned. But Raful continued: he spoke of political intrigues and military, tended ties that bind Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of dominican republic The feast of the goat, with Carlos Castillo Armas, the coup that overthrew the president of guatemala Jacobo Árbenz. Narrated secret alliances and conflicts. And rescued historical truths that sounded to magical realism. The writer was born in Arequipa, 83 years old, was bewitched. “I didn’t know those stories. I began to find out facts, to document myself. Suddenly, I realized that he had begun to write a novel,” he said.

The cover of Times are tough (Alfaguara) lucia last night right behind your back. In front of him, two hundred attendees listened, fascinated, to the account of the writer in the House of America. As you would like him, defender of the thrust of the castilian language, in the seats mingled accents of Spanish of many latitudes. Times are tough has been published at the time in all of them.

the hunt for a title for the novel

Mario Vargas Llosa confessed yesterday that one of the problems that he faced with his new novel was how to name it: “I Had many difficulties with the title. For me, it is very important, you must be the emblem of the story. I invented one, another. But none of them showered me”. Until one day, reading the correspondence of Saint Teresa of Avila, came with a letter that tells a friend: “These are times tough”. “I immediately said, ‘This is it!”, recalled.

The last work of Vargas Llosa’s complete, over 350 pages, the story gave Raful. Times are tough it is set in Guatemala in 1954: colonel Árbenz occupies the presidency and sets in motion a democratisation project. “We had to make reforms to bring the State out of the condition of medieval in which he lived, and turn it into a modern society,” said Vargas Llosa. But his boldness and his agrarian reform began to beat enemies. Among others, Castillo Armas and the american multinational United Fruit. The sum of these factors and the collaboration of the CIA led the coup against Árbenz. In times of Cold War and the domino effect, the then U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, stirred up the ghost a communist: he argued that, without such intervention, Guatemala would give up the embrace of the Soviet Union.

“Árbenz he wanted to make Guatemala a capitalist democracy. This effort generated an enormous interest. When frustrated, leading to demonstrations in the whole of Latin America,” said Vargas Llosa, who at the time was a young college student and also went to the streets to express their outrage. The Nobel laureate recalled that at that time almost the whole continent suffered dictatorships —“except Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay”— and that the dream destroyed Guatemala transcended national borders and reached up to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, among others. In any case, the novel answers the question: what changed the future of Latin America? Although you may respond to more issues, also current. Offers clues: the power sweeping of the lie should sound familiar to more than one, like Donald Trump.

Above all, this real canvas, Vargas Llosa has spread its strokes. “Novelists have a great advantage over historians: what they don’t know they can invent it. And this is what I have done: on a historical backdrop, I have added many things. Does this mean that the novels lie? I think not. Complete the story”, he insisted. “It may be that Guatemala is one of the most beautiful places and violent in the world. Few countries have entrematado as the guatemalans,” he added.

The author explained that, when you write an article, a lecture or an essay, have some sense of control over what it does. “With fiction, in contrast, does not. Maybe my novels will express most of my emotions, passions, or intuitions, something that comes from deeper areas of the personality. Maybe that’s why I don’t acknowledge directly on them. I would have never thought that I would write a novel situated in Guatemala”, he recalled. Things of the life. In the end, it would have fled from that dinner in Santo Domingo.


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