Peru's Vargas Llosa to take secret of Garcia Marquez spat to grave

Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:35pm EDT
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By Diego Ore

CARACAS (Reuters) - Peruvian author and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa vowed on Thursday to honor until death a pact with his late Colombian counterpart Gabriel Garcia Marquez not to reveal the mystery of their famous decades-old enmity.

The two Latin American literary greats were once friends, but stopped speaking to each other in 1976 when Vargas Llosa gave Garcia Marquez a black eye in a dispute - depending on who one believes - over politics or the Peruvian's wife.

"There's a pact between Garcia Marquez and myself (not to talk about it)," Vargas Llosa, 78, said at a meeting of right-wing intellectuals in Caracas when a journalist popped the inevitable question following the Colombian's death last week.

"He respected it until his death, and I will do the same. Let's leave it to our biographers, if we deserve them, to investigate that issue."

Vargas Llosa, who once ran for president in Peru on a conservative ticket, lamented the passing of his erstwhile rival, a friend of Cuba's Fidel Castro with left-leaning views.

Garcia Marquez had, he said, achieved what all writers aspire to: "That his work lives beyond him."

Vargas Llosa's presence in Venezuela is once again controversial given his ferocious criticism of former president Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro's socialist rule.


Workers install a banner of the late Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Bogota April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Fredy Builes