Family and friends of the author of 'Terra Nostra' remember the Mexican writer at the UIMP
Although some argue that absence leads to forgetting, in the case of Carlos Fuentes, the absence brought by his death merely makes his contemporaries recall even more keenly the life of the late man and the writer. "I don’t think there’s a writer so aware of those who come after him, nor one that is so generous with them," Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about the author. These words were borne out yesterday by the Mexican author Jorge Volpi, who said of Fuentes: "I met him three times, and on each occasion he changed my life. He made me a writer. " It was Volpi’s small and heartfelt personal contribution to the tribute that the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) Santander paid yesterday to the late writer. For Salvador Ordoñez, rector of the UIMP, Fuentes was "a Mexican soul within global thinking." Ordoñez was emotional as he spoke, remembering the last time he met Fuentes, a month before his death. Near the the photograph of Fuentes, that presided over the event, was his widow, Silvia Lemus, who was named honorary international communication collaborator for the UIMP.
Academic and Prisa CEO Juan Luis Cebrian recalled that the first Carlos Fuentes book he ever read was A Change of Skin (1967). "Carlos had to deal with the censors - and where they found pornography, I found emotions," he said, before reading an extract of an essay he wrote about the writer. "That’s the best tribute that I can pay him," said Cebrian. The writer’s contribution to Mexico was highlighted several times at the tribute. Jorge Volpi defined Fuentes as "a whirlwind determined to transform Mexico first, and then the world." The poet Julio Ortega recalled his first encounter with the writer in Mexico in 1969: "I met Carlos and we started a dialogue that has never stopped, it still brings me warmth."
Though all speakers were aware that this was a tribute to a departed friend, they were reluctant to say goodbye to their colleague and writer. "He has passed through to the other side of the mirror of life, which will continue to reflect the work he has left behind," said Salvador Ordoñez. Fuentes was present in the many passages of his work that were read yesterday, and his friends and family also heard his voice in the two videos that were shown, one of which was an interview he did with his own wife. Around a hundred people came together for the tribute in the auditorium of the Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander, and the event closed with a standing ovation. Fuentes received numerous awards during his lifetime on either side of the Atlantic, from the Mexican National Prize for Literature to the Prince of Asturias Arts Award. “Carlos Fuentes died as he had lived, lucid, healthy, creative... We are left with his books and his example, his voice and his thoughts. The fruits of a critical mind ... " concluded the essayist, and friend, Gonzalo Celorio.