From Aporrea.org, a startling little announcement about Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
We were truly concerned about the broadcast homage that the IAPA was going to give to the celebrated Colombian writer. But in a masterful move, at the last moment he excused himself, saying he was “too tired”.
Bill Gates was also to be there, to take part in a discussion about “freedom of the press”.
Marcel Granier was to have staged a performance presenting himself as an innocent victim of Chavez[…]
From Havana, where he was with Fidel during the latter’s convalescence, Garcia Marquez said that yes, he was listed as slated to attend.
The Nobel prizewinner, who arrived in Cartagena yesterday, excused himself from the event because he was very tired.
(Translation mine; link added)
And, seeing as he’s just turned 80, he’s entitled to excuse himself with any polite excuse he likes.
But the IAPA has a history of being rather biased, casting doubts on its own qualifications to pontificate about press freedom. The IAPA is not so much about the freedom of journalists as it is about the privileges of media owners. It also has a hard line on Cuba–and is based in Miami, a city well known for hating Cuba’s guts. A point which I’m sure is not lost on the Nobelist, especially since he’s friendly with evil, wicked, press-oppressing Fidel!
It’s also interesting that they chose to hold this meeting in Colombia–land of the assassinated journalists. For all the squawking about press repression in Chavez’s Venezuela (just ask poor, beleaguered Marcel Granier, who’s about to lose his expiring broadcast licence for his role in the coup of ’02–and who was, paradoxically, more than happy to self-censor for previous administrations, as well as Pedro the Brief, who REALLY cracked down on press voices), the situation in Colombia is much worse. For example, they’ve jailed Telesur’s Freddy Munoz, for no apparent reason other than that he works for a Venezuela-based multinational network that takes an independent editorial stance and is often critical of heads of state. Yet not a peep from IAPA about that? Press freedom is somehow more under siege in Venezuela and Cuba, where, unlike in Colombia, no journalists have been murdered by right-wing thugs with connections to government? Whatever.
Maybe Gabo really was tired. The question is, what is he tired of? And why doesn’t the IAPA get tired of it, too?