“They kept in touch, they made sure that their friendship survived all the political changes, they know the names of their husbands or wives, they know how many children they each have, when they were born and how they evolved and in what position they reached the current time. Between them there is that solidarity and fraternity that is usually created between those who did military training together”.
A dense novel that illustrates the point follows. But a much more complicated novel.
Today we highlight one of the best novels that have appeared in recent times. It is signed by Gabriel Gafiţa, a former diplomat who has long been involved in literature, and lately he has published intensively. It is a story that takes place in the world of diplomacy, a field that is well known to the author and which he looks upon without indulgence, revealing to us, if we still had any hope, the smallness of the people who reach high positions in this field as well, the incompetence, the nepotism , indifference to anything that cannot bring them personal profit and above all, the terrible bureaucracy.
“The reader – say the editors – will find in this book many novel ingredients: a coup d’état, an apparently losing heroism, a half-hearted escape, a love that is short in fulfillment but with long-lasting consequences, an undisputed friendship, a bureaucracy that suffocates the beginnings empathy, an absurd and ridiculous dictatorship, but also human solidarity where you least expect it. The central hero, an ambassador, unwittingly finds himself in the middle of an impossible crisis. In a split second, he will have to decide whether to save the fate of others or to let fatality take its toll. Will he be able to admit that he is acting alone, or will he have to let it be understood that he relies on the support of his country?
Can individual responsibility spark collective commitment?
The novel is written in short sequences, without digressions, but with drama and an almost cinematic evolution of the epic. The place is an imaginary country in South America – the Republic of Oropingo – which allowed the author to slalom between some situations borrowed from different countries. The dialogue is full of tension, but also of overflowing humor, which marks some memorable pages.”
For the most part, the action takes place in the Republic of Oropingo, an imaginary country in South America, which was once called Costa Ancha, neighboring Venezuela and Colombia, which entered the sphere of interest of the United States in the 20th century, from where it did not it was published until the beginning of the 21st century. “There were no major interests for the Americans here to make direct interventions in national politics necessary. How many democratic presidents ended their mandate earlier, or managed to be assassinated, being immediately replaced by another president, authoritarian and devoted to different circles of interests. And these circles, represented by old families from Costa Ancha, shared their national wealth fairly: some owned sugar production, others coffee production, others tropical fruit production, some American companies owned copper and cobalt mines. Geological surveys in the 30s and 40s of the 20th century revealed a whole list of mineral wealth that the inhabitants of Costa Ancha had little to do with, because they did not have the ability to process them, but which were particularly appreciated in other countries which had the necessary technology to give them a concrete destination: zirconium, silicon, iridium, uranium. And from this moment the country was decidedly in the hands of the hard guys, who had to guard these assets, so that they don’t end up in the hands of international swindlers”.
Military dictatorships and civil, reformist presidents followed each other, the economy went bankrupt and hunger wreaked havoc, the left gained momentum, a strong trade union movement was created, transformed into a party, which brought to power Estalin Plomino Paz, who imposed leftism and the dictatorship, and after two presidential mandates, wanting to stay in power, in 2010 he changed the name of the country to the Multicommunity Republic of Oropingo, thus obtaining new mandates. Its name referred to the Oropingo people, which brought together the four indigenous tribes bique, tana, ayuyo and omaya within the same constitutive community of the state. The action of the novel unfolds at the end of the second mandate in the new republic, when Estalin wants to run for the fifth time and political disturbances break out.
In this country, where Romania did not have a single investment, it had opened an embassy in the 70s of the last century.
All are reported by the Romanian diplomat in Madredios, the capital of the country. The dictator flees abroad, where he carries out a furious activity of denigrating the new authorities, for a year an interim government is installed that prepares the elections, which the former dictator who still held the levers obviously wins, after which the repression begins and all those who had opposed him are hunted, killed, arrested or forced to go into exile. The Romanian diplomat lynched the family of a neighbor, coincidentally the former vice-president of the Parliament, without the knowledge, even against the instructions of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which does not want any involvement. Moreover, the diplomat makes it easier for the two to escape from Oropingo, the Romanian minister makes the story public, so that the ambassador is expelled and, to top it off, is to be sanctioned in Bucharest.
“You wanted,” says the diplomat’s wife saved from lynching, “you wanted to rise to the occasion, you wanted to act like a hero, you wanted to stay high in our eyes, even though your ministry had distanced itself from you and you wanted to act different from other ambassadors, who host diplomatic asylum seekers.”
The story is much more complicated, the one saved by the diplomat will organize and lead the opposition from abroad and will become the next president of his country. And the diplomat becomes his advisor for life. But the details up to these developments are extremely juicy.
A very well written novel, full of tension, from one moment on almost a detective novel and with an admirable description of the bureaucracy in the leading institutions of the Romanian state, with indolent officials (“whose audacity was only equaled by stupidity and ignorance “) who were not interested in the information on the spot, transmitted by the diplomat, “because it did not come from Brussels.”
Gabriel Gafiţa – Diplomat in Oropingo. Junimea Publishing House, Fiction and Infantry collection. 385 pages
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