Public memorials to Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died on Thursday in Mexico City aged 87, are being hold in Mexico and Colombia.
The presidents of Colombia and Mexico are due to attend a formal ceremony with funeral cortege in Mexico City, where Garcia Marquez lived for decades.
At the same time residents in his home town of Aracataca in northern Colombia will hold a symbolic funeral.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes.
The author was cremated at a private family ceremony in Mexico City last week.
A funeral cortege is taking Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes from his house to the historic centre of Mexican City for the memorial ceremony.
The event in the majestic Palace of Fine Arts will be attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto and the author’s wife, Mercedes Barcha, and sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.
Thousands of members of the public who are mourning his loss will also say goodbye to Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the cultural venue, which is where Mexico pays tribute to its late artistic icons.
It has been adorned with yellow flowers, the author’s favorite, and a string quartet will perform music by the Hungarian Bela Bartok, among other composers.
In Colombia, residents are holding a ceremony of their own in his birth place of Aracataca, the inspiration for Macondo, the setting for his 1967 seminal masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude, which sold millions of copies around the world.
On Tuesday, the Colombian government will hold a formal ceremony at the main cathedral in the capital Bogota, which will be televised.
Then on Wednesday, Colombians will have readings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel No One Writes to the Colonel in hundreds of libraries, parks and universities across the country.
There may be an element of disappointment in Colombia that the first main event to commemorate Gabriel Garcia Marquez is taking place in Mexico rather than his country of origin.
But rather than a diplomatic spat, it simply reflects the degree to which both countries – indeed all Latin Americans – considered Gabriel Garcia Marquez to be their own.
One solution being posited is that Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes be divided between Mexico and Colombia, but his family has not yet revealed its wishes.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez fled Colombia in 1981 after learning that the country’s military wanted to question him over links to left-wing guerrillas.
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