Sunday, April 11, 2010


I think it's pretty funny how these blogs have become little mini-updates of our lives. I don't actually know most of the people in the class, but I know what everyone is doing! I'm as shocked as everyone that the term is almost over . . . unbelievable. With all of the breaks and what-not, it feels like the semester never actually happened. But I sure had some fun and learned some cool stuff along the way! Yay!

Now down to business. No surprise here, but I half-assed my readings, so this will be a little iffy. I think it's interesting to read the critical perspective of Cien Anos de Soledad. It's true not only of Cien Anos, but of almost all of the novels we have read, that these works reinforce an "othering" of Latin American people and culture in that they have been portrayed as primitive (and at times naive or incestuous, etc). Although they provided an interesting perspective, I do not feel as though I got a realistic grasp of what Latin American culture (to homogenize many cultures as one) really is or how the people of the countries which we studied live. Most of the texts we covered were set in the past and did not touch upon many of the current events or social problems being faced by the people of Latin America.

One issue that was left out of Cien Anos de Soledad that strikes me as very odd is that Garcia Marquez left out any mention of the United States war on drugs. This "war" has had an enormous impact on not only Colombia, but many South American countries, and the ramifications still exist today. In Colombia alone the war on drugs caused much violence within the country and took a toll on its economy as well in terms of not only drug production and sales, but also tourism and investment from other countries. I know also that the war on drugs has had a major impact on the economy of Bolivia because coca is their major cash crop, and with the US and its allies in opposition of its production, Bolivia has suffered. Again, it just seems like such a huge and well known piece of Latin American history to leave out of a text like Cien Anos de Soledad.

That being said, I would like to thank everyone, especially Jon, for a great semester and I wish you all the best!

1 comment:

  1. Just on your last point... I'm not entirely sure of the precise chronology and history of drug production and exportation from Colombia, or of the use of cocaine, but really the war on drugs doesn't get going until Reagan and the 1980s. This is also the period during which Colombian cartels such as those headed by Pablo Escobar became notorious.

    So remember that Cien años was written in the 1960s. My sense is that the drugs of choice at that time in the USA were marijuana and LSD and the like, for which Colombia has never been a particularly important source.

    Moreover, even during the 1980s, the area of Colombia most affected by the drug trade and drug war was more the highlands, especially around Medellín. I'm not sure that the Caribbean coast (where Macondo is set) has ever really been affected all that much, except perhaps in the general way that the whole country is as you say touched by the issue.

    If you want to read a book about drugs in Colombia, here's a great one: Our Lady of the Assassins (La virgen de los sicarios) by Fernando Vallejo.