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Pablo Milanés
Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Friday presented Cuban singer Pablo Milanes with a medal from the Casa de las Americas for his contributions to Latin American culture.

The Nobel laureate in literature, who turned 80 earlier this week, joked that it was the first time he had bestowed a medal on a younger person, the official National Information Agency known as AIN reported.

Based in Cuba, Casa de las Americas represents music, literature and other fine arts throughout Latin America. Writers, musicians and artists from countries across the region often are called upon to present colleagues with the Haydee Santamaria Medal from Casa de las Americas.

Garcia Marquez has a long friendship with ailing 80-year-old Cuban leader Fidel Castro, but AIN did not say if he had visited his fellow octogenarian, or even when he arrived on the island.

Earlier news reports from Colombia indicated Garcia Marquez may have spent his birthday on Tuesday in Cuba. But reports about the awards ceremony Friday were the first official confirmation that he was here.

Milanes, an internationally acclaimed folk singer who wrote the seminal Latin America love song "Yolanda," described the awards ceremony as "exceptional."

He said he was especially moved to have a medal named after his late mentor Santamaria, a rebel fighter also known for her contributions to Cuban culture after the 1959 revolution.

Source: Washington Post


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