Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ashes have been laid to rest in the Colombian city of Cartagena.
The ashes of the late Nobel Prize winning novelist were flown home from Mexico where he had lived for years and where he died in 2014 at the age of 87.
A ceremony was held in the cloisters of Cartagena University, near Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s family home in the city.
The author is best known for his magic realist novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
A bronze bust of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was unveiled by the writer’s son Rodrigo Garcia Barcha in the center of the cloisters of the university as the centerpiece of the memorial.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes
“It’s a day of joy mixed with sorrow,” the writer’s sister Aida Rosa Garcia Marquez told the French news agency AFP.
“But there is more joy than sorrow because to see a brother get to where Gabito reached can only bring joy.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in the town of Aracataca near Colombia’s northern Caribbean coast and started working as a journalist in the late 1940s in Cartagena.
The writer had lived since the 1980s in Mexico but his family decided he should be buried in Cartagena where many of his family members were also interred.
“Cartagena is the city where the Garcia Marquez family is based. It is where my grandparents are buried,” said Gonzalo Garcia Barcha, one of the writer’s two sons, from France where he now lives in an interview with AFP.
“It seemed natural to us that his ashes should be there too.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez had a love-hate relationship with Cartagena; the city appears in several of his novels often depicted as a decadent place full of conflict with a class-ridden and racist society.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has announced the discovery of San Jose galleon’s wreck off the Colombian coast.
The San Jose galleon was a Spanish ship laden with treasure that was sunk by the British more than 300 years ago.
“Great news! We have found the San Jose galleon,” President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted.
The wreck was discovered near the port city of Cartagena.
It has been described as the holy grail of shipwrecks, as the ship was carrying one of the largest amounts of valuables ever to have been lost at sea.
The Colombian galleon said the cargo was worth at least $1 billion.
The San Jose was carrying gold, silver, gems and jewellery collected in the South American colonies to be shipped to Spain’s king to help finance his war of succession against the British when it was sunk in June 1708.
The vessel was attacked by a British warship just outside Cartagena.
Colombian officials would not reveal the precise location of the wreck, but Juan Manuel Santos said the find “constitutes one of the greatest – if not the biggest, as some say – discoveries of submerged patrimony in the history of mankind”.
The president also said that a museum would be built in Cartagena to house the ship’s treasures.
Ownership of the wreck has been the subject of a long-running legal row.
The Colombian government did not mention its long-running quarrel with US-based salvage company Sea Search Armada (SSA) over claims to the treasure.
A group now owned by SSA said in 1981 that it had located the area in which the ship sank.
SSA has been claiming billions of dollars for breach of contract from the Colombian government, but in 2011 an American court ruled that the galleon was the property of the Colombian state.
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.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was considered the finest writer of the Spanish language since Cervantes (photo EPA)
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.
At least ten inmates died and 42 others were injured in a fire at Modelo prison in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, police say.
Some inmates with slight injuries have now been released from hospitals in the city, but at least 15 are still being treated for the severe burns they suffered or for the smoke they inhaled.
The fire broke out Monday night, apparently when several inmates in Cellblock B of Modelo jail set mattresses on fire during a clash between rival gangs, following an inspection carried out by Inpec guards.
At least ten inmates died and 42 others were injured in a fire at Modelo prison in the Colombian city of Barranquilla
It took seven fire engines to extinguish the 39ft flames.
The director of the Colombian prison system, General Saul Torres, told local radio that a fight broke out after guards carried out a search of the cell block during which drugs, mobile phones and weapons were confiscated.
Saul Torres said that the guards fired tear gas to break up the fight, at which point the fire started.
Barranquilla authorities slammed the overcrowding at the Modelo jail, where close to 1,200 prisoners are held, triple the facility’s capacity for 400 inmates.
About 200 police and a hundred guards have surrounded the jail to prevent any inmates from escaping.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected proposed mediation by Rev Jesse Jackson over FARC rebel-held hostage.
Juan Manuel Santos said only the Red Cross would be allowed to be involved, because he did not want “a media spectacle”.
Jesse Jackson had agreed to go to Colombia next week to seek the release of former US marine Kevin Scott Sutay, held by leftist FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) rebels since June.
The FARC say they want to free Kevin Scott Sutay to boost peace talks.
During a visit to Cuba on Saturday, Rev Jesse Jackson had agreed to mediate, following a FARC statement saying his “experience and probity” would speed up the process of freeing Kevin Scott Sutay, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
However, President Juan Manuel Santos reacted quickly, writing on Twitter: “Only the Red Cross will be allowed to facilitate the release of the North American kidnapped by the FARC. We won’t allow a media spectacle.”
Rev Jesse Jackson had agreed to go to Colombia next week to seek the release of former US marine Kevin Scott Sutay, held by leftist FARC rebels since June
Earlier this month, during a visit to Colombia, Jesse Jackson had called on Colombia’s largest rebel group to release Kevin Scott Sutay.
The left-wing rebels responded by releasing a statement on Saturday inviting the civil rights leader to participate in the negotiations over the ex-soldiers’ release.
Hours later, Jesse Jackson accepted the invitation in Cuba, where he had met rebel leaders who are in Havana for peace talks with the Colombian government, as a service “to Kevin Scott, his family and our nation.”
“We have made contact with the State Department urging them to contact as quickly as possible the nearest of kin of Kevin Scott because his release is imminent,” he said.
In their statement, the FARC say they have not yet released Kevin Scott because the government has not “fulfilled the minimum conditions required” for freeing him.
Earlier this week, the left-wing rebels had requested the involvement of former Senator Piedad Cordoba in the release process, but President Juan Manuel Santos also dismissed this to avoid a “media spectacle”.
As a result, on Friday Piedad Cordoba sent a letter to the FARC declining to participate.
The freeing of Kevin Scott would “contribute to a positive mood” in the continuing peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba, the FARC says.
So far, officially there has been agreement on only one of six points on the agenda – land reform.
Five decades of internal conflict in Colombia have led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.
Colombia has decided to deploy troops in the capital, Bogota, following violent protests in support of a strike by small-scale farmers.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the troops were needed “to assure normality”.
Clashes with police broke out after thousands of people took to the streets in support of the farmers. At least two people have died.
Farmers say government policies are driving them into bankruptcy.
“Last night, I ordered the militarization of Bogota and I will do the same today in any municipality or area that needs the presence of our soldiers,” Juan Manuel Santos said in a televised address after an overnight cabinet meeting.
“It’s unacceptable that the actions of a few impact the lives of the majority.”
He did not say how many troops would be called in.
Colombia has deployed troops in Bogota following violent protests in support of small-scale farmers strike
President Juan Manuel Santos had earlier described the protests as “valid”, but urged demonstrators to keep them peaceful.
Clashes broke out on Thursday afternoon after tens of thousands of people marched peacefully in support of a 10-day protest by small-scale farmers.
Correspondents said masked youths threw stones and bricks and fought riot police who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
The two deaths occurred overnight in the western districts of Suba and Engativa, although the circumstances are not yet clear, Bogota security chief Alfonso Jaramillo said.
Interior Minister Fernando Carrillo said that those who had resorted to violence were “vandals, not farmers”.
The protests have united potato growers and milk producers with teachers, health workers and students – and negotiations with the government remain deadlocked.
Protesters in other parts of the country have also been blocking roads and disrupting food supplies to major cities and towns.
On Wednesday the government announced measures – including better prices for agricultural products and more access to loans – to ease the pressure on farmers.
The government also promised more protection from products imported at lower prices from countries with free-trade agreements with Colombia.
But the small-scale farmers have so far rejected the government’s offer.
They say that free trade agreements with the EU and the US, which have recently come into force, are flooding the market with agricultural products at prices they are unable to match.
They also complain that rising fuel and production costs have turned small-scale farming into a loss-making business.
The annual report by the Norwegian Refugee Council suggests almost 29 million people lived in internal displacement in 2012, with 6.5 million newly displaced just in the past year.
For the fourth year running, Colombia has the highest number of internally displaced people on the list.
Globally, the total number of displaced people has risen, with the conflict in Syria blamed for much of the spike.
A third of all internally displaced are in sub-Saharan Africa, the report says.
The annual report by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) suggests internal displacement – in which people flee from violence without crossing their country’s borders – will continue to accelerate unless permanent solutions to conflicts are found.
IDMC Director Kate Halff says that governments are “responsible for finding long-term solutions for their displaced citizens”.
For the fourth year running, Colombia has the highest number of internally displaced people, according to the IDMC annual report for 2012
The report says that Colombia, with its estimated 4.9 to 5.5 million internally displaced people tops the global list.
It estimates that Colombia’s internal armed conflict forced around 230,000 people to flee their homes in 2012.
However, the report says that the figure is provisional, as the government did not publish official figures for the past year.
It also notes that the figure fails to include those people displaced as a result of violence carried out by criminal and drug-trafficking gangs.
That violence, however, has been on the up, with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recognizing the rise of the criminal gangs as one of the main threats facing the country.
On Sunday, police figures suggested that Colombia’s largest criminal gang, Los Urabenos, now has more members than the left-wing rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).
Both the Colombian Red Cross and the IDMC have warned that the victims of criminal gangs in Colombia do not receive the same official recognition as those victimized by the Farc or ELN rebel groups.
Police say the Urabenos have more than 2,000 members and operate in major cities such as Medellin, as well as rural areas, where they engage in drug and arms trafficking and extortion.
Colombia has suffered from almost five decades of civil conflict with both left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries fighting each other, and the security forces.
Negotiators representing the government and the Farc rebel group are currently holding peace negotiations in Cuba in an attempt to end the conflict.
The government has also launched a restitution programme aimed at returning land stolen as part of the conflict to its rightful owners.