fear of death

CIEGO DE AVILA – When Pele was sent off on July 17, 1968 in the game with Colombia, the stadium in Brazil went crazy and out of 28 team members, only three missed the referee: the doctor, the journalist and the referee Pelé himself.

What happened next was no less crazy; but the craziest of all (or the most incredible) is the life of referee Colombian Guillermo Velasquez (El Chato), a man who was a boxer before administering justice in football, and when the football player hit him, he just responded with something very simple: good hit.

This story, along with 24 other works, can be read in “El testamento del Viejo Mile” by the Colombian writer and journalist Alberto Salcedo Ramos (Barranquilla, 1963), and it can also be found in Cuban bookstores under the label Casa Editora Abril.

Alberto Salcedo Ramos is today one of the most successful writers in Latin America. Photo: JR file.

The book itself is a great gift. It’s because of what it says on its pages, because of the characters that run through it, because of the quality of the writing; but also for another important reason: to have at hand an example of one of the paths taken by Latin American literature today.

For several years now, critics have noted the existence of a narrative current on the continent, led mainly by male and female reporters, which, hand in hand with the genres of journalism, has approached conflicting or less unthinkable areas of the realities of life. their countries not to invent, but to tell true stories, some quite rude.

The members of this movement were grouped under one name: New Chroniclers of India, and under this mantle are the names of the Mexicans Laura Castellanos and Juan Villoro, the Argentines Juan Forn, Leila Guerreiro and Martin Caparros, the Chilean Pedro Lemebel and Christian Alarcón, the Salvadorian Oscar Martinez, the Peruvian Toño Angulo Daneri and thus a long list that has spawned several fairly voluminous anthologies.

In one of them, Anthology of Contemporary Latin American Chronicleits compiler, the Colombian writer Dario Jaramillo Agudelo, pointed out that the new chroniclers began to listen, see, explore, laugh, cry, and many even experience the experience of their interlocutors in prisons, gang wars, secret emigration, disputes. drug dealers, the confessions of art stars or the secret alleys of rems and porn theaters

This book, made possible in Cuba by the good offices of the journalist Rafael Grillo, touches on several of these threads.

Passing through it is Emilio Zuleta Baquero, one of the most famous composers of popular music in Colombia; boxers Benny Briscol and Bernardo Caraballo; bullfighter Hugo Martinez; a football team made up of transvestites; a taxi driver who suffers from atherosclerosis and has already suffered from pointing a few fingers, but who still refuses to leave the helm and even the landscape of Aracataca, the hometown of Gabriel Garcia Márquez and who inspired Macondo de One hundred years of solitude.

For a healthy and exciting national pride, our preferred text is an interview with Ana Fidelia Quiros. Alberto Salcedo Ramos visited her at the beginning of her glorious retirement, when she had to jog for an hour every morning to avoid the strokes of a heart attack and accustom her heart to family life.

The text is good for what it says, and for the way it is expressed in very precise, powerful words, in a short narrative that takes the tension of the story and ends with Ana Fidelia’s final confession, refusing from the start to announce a neoitapha who will have it. grave.

– No epitaphs, boy! Ana Fidelia says I spent my life on the run precisely to scare away death.

We present the reaction of the journalist; although this must have been very different from the feelings he experienced while covering the massacre in the Colombian town of El Salado in the Bolivar department, in which some of its inhabitants were killed with knives and shots, and the executioners played the accordion. .

Alberto Salcedo Ramos was there to give us back the true story with blows of discipline and a pure ear and heart. The result was marked by a huge gallery of awards (King of Spain for journalism, Ortega y Gasset and the five-time Simón Bolívar Prize in Colombia); but above all in the appeal made by the Mexican writer Juan Villoro when he wrote that today the Latin American reality happens twice.

First, he pointed out, when it happens in the world of facts, and then when Alberto Salcedo Ramos writes about it.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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