Tomás Eloy Martínez, hecho en Venezuela / Daniel Fermín

Tomás Eloy Martínez, Made in Venezuela

                     [Photo: Nicola Roco]

Tomás Eloy Martínez (Tucumán, 1934 - Buenos Aires, 2010) wrote a myriad of news articles during the time he lived in Venezuela. The Argentine, a reference in Latin American journalism, practiced his career in the nation that served him as a refuge from the dictatorship in his country between 1976 and 1983. Ciertas maneras de no hacer nada, an anthology published by La hoja del norte, gathers the essential texts he wrote in Venezuela.

The first half of the book is dedicated to certain places. A theater actress who was practicing with her group in the Jesús Soto Museum in Ciudad Bolívar, a salt mine worker in Araya who nearly falls in love with his sister, a singer from Calabozo who tries to break his own father’s record of 32 children. A series of anonymous beings who offer a glimpse of Venezuela in the 1970s.

The second part of the anthology gathers profiles and interviews with figures from Venezuelan culture. Juan Liscano, Guillermo Meneses, Vicente Gerbasi, Andrés Bello, José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Jacinto Fombona Pachano. Intellectuals from that era who were profiled by Martínez. Texts reflecting his passion for the arts, stories charged with a lucidity that resists time.

The following are some of the phrases spoken by the figures he profiled:

—It’s very tempting to be a leftist poet, but it’s so sad to realize how it destroys the true meaning of poetry.
(Juan Liscano, 1976).

—All poetry is political. What I reprove is that it be used as a combat instrument, as a stone in the barricades.
(Juan Liscano, 1976).

—To write: speaking our torments aloud, making peace with the dead who haven’t quite left us.
(Adriano González León, 1975).

—Maybe I write for that reason: I aspire to transform my life through literature.
(Salvador Garmendia, undated).

—One doesn’t just write for something, but also for someone.
-(Tomás Eloy Martínez, 1975).

Sergio Dahbar was in charge of the prologue and compilation of the book, which also includes an introduction by Jaime Abello Banfi. Ciertas maneras de no hacer nada, which owes its title [Certain Ways of Doing Nothing] to a phrase spoken by the novelist Adriano González León to his interviewer, closes with Martínez’s farewell to his wife Susana Rotker, who was run over by a car in 2000. A book that more than one Venezuelan journalist should read.

{ Daniel Fermín, El Universal, 30 May 2015 }


Boludo Tejano said...

Which brings forth the observation that Venezuela was once a refuge for those fleeing dictatorships. Isabel Allende is another writer who found refuge in Venezuela- though her greatest fame as a writer didn't come until after she left Venezuela.

Guillermo Parra said...

So true, Boludo Tejano. Which makes the tragedy of Venezuela today feel even worse. Thanks for reading & commenting.