Carlos Fuentes’ passing is an invaluable loss for world literature. At the same time, Mexico no longer has an intellectual giant who had become the voice of the national conscience in an ongoing defense of social justice.
In the field of the written word, Fuentes was one of the creators of the Latin American literary boom of the 1970s-a generation of writers who transformed styles and themes, leaving an indelible mark on international culture.
Despite his death, readers will surely be able to enjoy his writings in yet unpublished books. Fuentes’ work is recognized, in addition to for its quality, for the sheer volume of novels, essays and articles he wrote during his long, prolific life.
Fuentes was a well-educated, bohemian intellectual dedicated to social and political protest about his beloved Mexico. Commenting on his work belongs in other forums, but in this context it is worth mentioning The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) and The Eagle’s Throne (2003), two pointed reflections on political power and corruption from the Mexican Revolution to date.
Because of his political convictions, Fuentes participated in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) during Luis Echeverría’s administration. His break with the party began in 1978 when he resigned as ambassador to France after Gustavo Díaz Ordaz was named as ambassador to Spain. Fuentes’ position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was just one aspect of his honorable role representing Mexico in numerous international forums.
Undoubtedly, we will miss his clever, direct comments about Mexico’s reality-like when he talked of the need to legalize drugs and how disappointed he was with the candidates for the upcoming election, among others.
Carlos Fuentes said he thought about the next reader, “the one who had not been born” yet and will read his books in 50 years. That reader, and the ones who come before and after, will enjoy his imagination and sensitivity. They will discover a civic-minded writer sensitive to social issues.
Mexicans will miss citizen Fuentes. The one who stood out thanks to his courage and the wisdom of his opinions, and discussed tough realities in our language.
Today, this death leaves an empty space, a blank sheet and an unspoken word. Mexico and lovers of world literature are in mourning. Thank you, Carlos Fuentes, for enriching our lives!