October 7th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Nobel laureate once punched fellow author, paper says

In 1976, writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, caught a punch to the eye from Mario Vargas Llosa. Both men have Nobel prizes for their literary works.

[Update 2:10 p.m.] The "cuentas iguales" tweet attributed to Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a hoax.

Gina Sosa of Garcia Marquez's Iberoamerican New Journalism Foundation says the famed author does not have a Twitter account. She referred CNN to the foundation's Twitter account, where Director Jaime Abello explained the account in question belongs to either imitators or the author's followers.

The Twitter account greets visitors with a smiling photo of Garcia Marquez and proclaims in its bio, "I am Gabo, writer and journalist," using Garcia Marquez's sobriquet. The tweets, which began in 2007, are in first person as if they are from the author. They include book promotions, pontifications on the state of journalism and links to articles at Garcia Marquez’s foundation.

The account has more than 132,000 followers, as opposed to about 7,000 at the foundation's account.

CNN and several other media outlets, including BBC and The Associated Press,  reported news of the seemingly conciliatory tweet, so the hoaxster - whoever he or she is - duped a few of journalism's big dogs.

[Updated 12:17 p.m.] It is a tale of literary rivals, romantic intrigue, divergent politics, a black eye and a Nobel laureate taking to Twitter in what may be a fitting end to a 34-year saga.

Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 82, tweeted “cuentas iguales” – essentially, “we’re even” in Spanish – after his contemporary and one-time rival, Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, 74, won the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday. Garcia Marquez won the award in 1982.

According to legend, as well as The Sunday Times in London, Garcia Marquez saw his friend Vargas Llosa at a a Mexico City movie premiere in 1976. He went to embrace him when Vargas Llosa clocked him in the left eye, according to the newspaper.

“How dare you come and greet me after what you did to Patricia in Barcelona!” Vargas Llosa reportedly shouted, referring to his wife.

Though neither writer nor their wives have addressed the incident, the newspaper said there were rumors it involved Patricia seeking solace with Garcia Marquez and his wife after Vargas Llosa left her for a Swedish woman (Again, that’s the rumor, and we apologize if we've sullied Vargas Llosa's momentous day with semi-vetted drivel, but the esteemed writer has repeatedly refused to explain the feud, once saying he would leave it to the biographers).

After Vargas Llosa hit his fellow wordsmith, Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska ran for a steak to soothe Garcia Marquez's eye as he sat on the floor, his nose bleeding profusely, The Times reported in 2007.

Despite being godfather to Vargas Llosa’s second son, Garcia Marquez stopped speaking to his friend and rival for decades. Their politics only confounded matters: Garcia Marquez, who leaned left, considered Cuban President Fidel Castro a friend, while Vargas Llosa embraced capitalism and was an outspoken critic of the Cuban revolutionary.

In January 2007, however, the pair reportedly made amends, and Vargas Llosa wrote a prologue to the 40th anniversary edition of Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

It was the same year Garcia Marquez turned 80, and photographer Rodrigo Moya, who had snapped pictures of his friend’s shiner in 1976, released the photos in honor of Garcia Marquez’s birthday and the book’s anniversary.

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Filed under: Colombia • Fidel Castro • Nobel • Peru
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Vera Tucker


    October 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raymond

      Me too.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob in Acctng

      Not me.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • benjammin reina

      oears & apples!!!!!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. M

    From Huffington Post: "After the Nobel announcement, a comment on a Twitter account attributed to Garcia Marquez said "now we're even" in Spanish. However, Garcia Marquez's foundation in Cartagena, Colombia, said the Twitter account did not belong to the author.

    There was no reaction to the award from Garcia Marquez, who rarely speaks to the media."

    October 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jorge

    Instead of posting a stoty based on rumors and legends, any decent and intelligent reporter would make a wonderful report on the real news which is is the fact that MVLL won the Nobel Prize, thank you CNN for probing that you do not know what you are doing, I recommend the wonderful article at the New York Times, now that's journalism

    October 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Thank-you, Jorge. We shouldn't have expected nothing better from CNN. and, yes, I also recommend the deep and smart article publsihed ny NY Times.

      October 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marisol

    "cuentas iguales" is like saying "even steven" or "we're even" NOT
    "we're equals"...

    October 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Thanks! Apparently CNN writers know no more about Spanish than they do about writing articles.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Baico emmans

    We never can tell what next.

    October 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sol

    I would ask CNN to confirm if Gabriel Garcia Marquez even uses the Twitter account in question.

    October 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sol

    Today is such a significant day in Latin America literature, that I find this article immature and unfitting. Instead of speculating about the personal issues that Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa may or may not have, we should celebrate their remarkable influence in literature, and congratulate Vargas Llosa on this momentous accomplishment.

    October 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Brasky

    Who are these guys? Mexicans?

    October 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • IgnacioBrown

      how can you type if apparently you can't even read? It says so above, one is peruvian, the other one is colombian.

      October 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newave

      HAHAHA. Zas a goo wun, senor...

      October 7, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • benjammin

      YEEEEHAAAAA!!!!! buckarrooo!!!!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kaytlin

    I think that Since Marquez rarely speaks to the media should have the most affect on what has happened.


    October 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pepe

    Yes, Bill, everybody south of the border is Mexican, eats burritos, wears a huge sombrero and has a big moustache. The same way everybody north of the border is a redneck, eats hot dogs, drives a pickup with huge tires, carries a gun, and dates the sister.

    October 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      good point

      October 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruddy

      Pepe, you forgot .... close-minded and ignorant!

      October 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. benjamin reina

    "cuentas iguales" = we are even; not we are equals

    October 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sol

      CNN didn't even bother to get someone to translate the "quote" accurately!

      October 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I recommend this article from FOXNEWS.COM


    October 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. aime

    Ok, with due respect to everybody writing comentaries, I found that none of them are accurate with "cuentas iguales" in a good spanish traslation it must be "CUENTAS CABALES" people who are asking where this gays come from, please don't botter to "try" to read this article...Bill you are an ignorant as the poeple of CNN who ink this. Get a life. Lol. Jaime.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. okay

    Who cares ?

    October 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Asit

    Apart from his literary qualities, which I cannot judge, from TV and journal interviews, the new Nobel Laureate for literature appears to be a disagrreable and conceited person.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
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