The literally world was shocked as news spread that Mexican novelist, essayist, and political critic, Carlos Fuentes died in his home in Mexico City from an internal hemorrhage this past May 15th
Fuentes was 83 years old and was actively working on a new book.
Carlos Fuentes was man who always marched to the beat of his own drum and he did not belong to any parties or ideologies. As an independent thinker, Fuentes was always attracted to left-wing causes, which led to him being denied entry to the United States during the early 60’s after being labeled a communist.
Fuentes’ support for the oppressed and criticism of those who abused power never ceased. He supported the Zapatistas in Chiapas, often criticized U.S. immigration and terrorism policies, and has called Venezuelan president Carlos Chavez, the “Tropical Mussolini”. Carlos Fuentes died at age 83.
Carlos Fuentes was born in Panama in 1928, where his father was working as a diplomat. Because of his father‘s work for Mexico’s Foreign Service, Fuentes also lived in Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, and the United States where he attended public school and became fluent in English.
Through his young life, Fuentes spent little time in Mexico until he was 16, but through those years living abroad, he knew Mexico through the stories told to him by his two grandmothers when they visited during the summers. Those stories were what inspired him to become a writer.
While stationed in Santiago, Chile, Fuentes began to develop his writing skills, and while his father encouraged his writing he also insisted that he study law, a course he pursued in Mexico and Switzerland. Upon completing his studies he entered the diplomatic service in Mexico while at the same time he worked on his first novel, “La Region Mas Transparente”, which was published in 1958.
In 1962, international literary recognition came with “La Muerte de Artemio Cruz”, a novel set in post-revolutionary Mexico, which told an all-too familiar and still relevant story of widening gaps between the rich and poor in Mexico. It was also one of the first novels in which he experimented with different writing styles such as writing in second person form to tell a historical tale.
In 1985, his novel “The Old Gringo” based on the American writer Ambrose Bierce became the first U.S. best seller by a Mexican writer, the novel was later turned into the film by the same name starring Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck.