In 1955, a Colombian naval vessel was on its way back home from the United States when tragedy struck. According to Colombian government reports, the ship was caught in a storm. Eight men were flung off the ship, going overboard into the Caribbean Sea. Just one - Luis Alejandro Velasco - survived. For ten days, he clung to a life raft. Delusional from hunger and a lack of water, he had completely given up hope when he was washed ashore in Colombia.
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (most famous for his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude) was a young man of not quite 30 when this happened. He was working as a journalist and was granted a series of exclusive interviews by Velasco. He wrote these up and published them under Velasco's name in his paper.
This had unforeseen consequences. In his reporting, Garcia Marquez discovered that the Colombian government, headed by dictator General Pinilla, was corrupt. His publishers became afraid on his behalf. Worried that the government would retaliate against Garcia Marquez, they created a new position for him, naming him European correspondent and sending him across the Atlantic. Soon enough Pinilla would shut the paper down.
Over the years, Garcia Marquez has lived mostly in exile. This book was the initial reason.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines