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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How the other half lives

He also maintained homes in Colombia, Barcelona and Paris and continued to keep up his friendship with Fidel Castro, who gave him the use of a villa in Havana. During García Márquez’s frequent visits to Cuba, Castro would call on him as often as twice a day; the two men went fishing together, and talked about books and the nature of absolute power.

– from the Telegraph obituary of Gabriel García Márquez

12 comments to How the other half lives

  • Johnathan Pearce

    In other words, a darling of the literary chattering class.

    Read Vargas Llosa instead if you want good Latam lit.

  • Gene

    Another Castro suck-up. I’m grateful to you for passing along this info, thus making my life easier by reducing the number of authors in my queue of reading.

  • Snorri Godhi

    This is wildly off topic … well, not so wildly if you have my perspective on who the ruling class are; but never mind.

    Getting to the point: is any Samizdatista going to comment on the latest BBC inanity?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri
    I’ll comment. It is silly. The United States was never designed to be a democracy in the sense that seems implied in this article — which is to say, one governed in accordance with the majority of the people’s will. It is designed to be a government of limited power, fractured into competing interests so that the imposition of law on everyone takes an immense amount of effort and a gigantic, broad based consensus.

    It isn’t that anymore. The limits are fast going, the fracturing is fast going too. So in one respect the article is correct. There is a huge amount of influence over government by various groups, though mostly they are trying to protect themselves from the depredations of Washingtonian stupidity. Which isn’t to deny a dreadful amount of rent seeking too.

    However, as always the statement “these bad guys are buying favorable policy” has the emphasis all wrong. The problem is not the putative bad guys, it is that the policy is for sale in the first place.

  • When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose.

    Surely by ‘organised interests’ the writer was referring to unions?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fraser: actually i misspoke: i wrote “going to comment” but what i mean was: “going to write a post”. Without a post, discussion of the BBC article is hijacking of this thread.

    Nonetheless i am going to add a few words. I agree that the US was never meant to be a democracy in the original Greek or the Rousseauvian sense of the word; but then, there has never been, and there never will be, a true democracy in that sense. ALL polities are oligarchies: that is the Iron Law of Oligarchy. (Look it up on wikipedia.)
    That does not mean that all oligarchies are equal. Most blatantly, some engage in mass murder, and others don’t. A deeper difference is that checks+balances, separation of powers, enumerated powers, and constitutional rights subsist to different extents in different polities.

    Alisa: i very much doubt that the BBC writer was referring to unions, but you raise a point of interest: maybe the BBC is just spinning a study which is in fact an indictment of the true ruling class (as opposed to what the twits at the BBC think is the ruling class).
    Maybe i’ll look at it tomorrow: now it’s bedtime over here.

  • Regional

    Government has to be applied evenly across the commonwealth, and
    Communism is only fun when you’re rich, because if you’re poor you can’t become rich.

  • Fred Z

    @Snorri: But who is Yngvi, the louse?

  • Paul Marks

    The comments say it all – I have nothing to add, other than “I agree”.

  • […] … Wrongly, for Castro is no Louis le bien aimé. The French royal personage whose mode of life was closest to that of Comrade Fidel before senility overtook him was Marie Antoinette, who played at being a milkmaid and a shepherdess in the Queen’s Hamlet built for her in the gardens of Le Petit Trianon. As the Queen found refuge from the demands of court life by milking cows into buckets of Sèvres porcelain in the company of her dear friend and confidante the Princesse de Lamballe, so the First Secretary “enjoyed a private island, Cayo Piedra, south of the Bay of Pigs, scene of the failed CIA-sponsored invasion of 1961 . . . a “garden of Eden” where he entertained selected guests including the writer Gabríel Garcia Márquez, and enjoyed spear-fishing.” Sharing that simple pleasure, they talked about books and the nature of absolute power. […]