The literary giant and great Latin American thinker named Carlos Fuentes was born in Panama to Mexican parents in 1928. As the son of diplomats, he lived throughout the Americas and his international experiences shaped his unique Pan-American perspective that was evident in his literary works, including La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (The Death of Artemio Cruz) and Terra Nostra.
As a youngster, Fuentes spent his summer vacations with his grandparents in Mexico. Even though he was born outside the country, Mexico was always his passion. Fuentes eventually followed in his parents’ diplomatic footsteps and then he became an international scholar having taught courses at Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Cambridge, among other prestigious universities.
The news of his passing leaves a great void in both the Spanish and English-speaking Americas. We have lost a distinguished statesman, renowned educator and a prolific writer whose unique voice spoke eloquently and poignantly on the issues of concern to Latinos. And while Mexico claims Carlos Fuentes as their national treasure, he truly was a treasure and beloved son of all of Latin America.
I invite you to see this insightful interview Fuentes granted to the AARP’s Viva Magazine in 2011 (in Spanish with English subtitles):