Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Colombia: Court dismisses lawsuit against Garcia Marquez and his brother

The Ninth Circuit Civil Court in Barranquilla (Colombia) has dismissed a lawsuit filed sixteen (16) years ago against Gabriel García Márquez and his deceased brother Eligio Garcia, by a person who inspired two of their books.

The lawsuit was filed in 1994 by Miguel Reyes Palencia, born in the department of Sucre, and whose story inspired the book 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold' by Gabriel García Márquez and 'The third death of Santiago Nasar' by Eligio García. Miguel Reyes Palencia, claims to be "Bayardo San Román" in the two stories. Therefore, according to the lawsuit, he demanded to be paid 50 percent of the benefits of the books and films to compensate moral damage caused by the reported incident.

Reyes Palencia inspired the story of Bayardo San Roman, a fictional character who marries a young woman. The story was inspired by an actual event which happened on January 21, 1951, when, in their nuptial bed, Bayardo San Román (Reyes), discovers that his wife (Angela in the book) was not a virgin and the next day returned her to her parents. Angela's brothers stabbed 'Santiago Nasar' to avenge the loss of their sister’s honour.

In his opinion the judge found that while the story is based on real events it is a literal production “which involves a number of legendary figures." She also adds that the “honour of the applicant has not been affected by the writers for the publication of the novels...because the incident was widely known for 30 years or so ". Moreover, the applicant cannot access to the profit sharing of the works because he was neither the author nor the co-author of them.

According to the story, Angela's brothers' lawyer saw the act as “homicide in legitimate defense of honor,” which was upheld by the court. Perhaps, Mr Reyes was expecting the same luck.

In 1982 García Márquez, famous for his book 'One Hundred Years of Solitude', won a Nobel Prize for Literature.

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