Guatemalan Police Anecdotes


One of the benefits of living in a third world country is that you don’t need to read Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), Pedro Páramo or El Señor Presidente (The President) to learn about magical realism. No, no, no, we don’t need literature to learn the subtleties of magical realism: we live it everyday!

Las week, in zone 6 in Guatemala City, a police station received a radio transmission by two police officers reporting that their patrol car was stolen. “Nos robaron la patrulla, cambio” (Our patrol vehicle was stolen, over). It seems like our two distinct police officers stopped in front of a cevicherí­a (ceviche restaurant) to calm down the weekend hangover aftershocks and while they were enjoying a shrimp ceviche and a couple of beers during their shift, their patrol unit got stolen. They parked their police patrol vehicle with the windows down and the keys on the ignition switch. They figured who in their right mind or living in the “real” reality would steal a police patrol vehicle, right? Surely, their innocence can not be excused since as police officers, they may experience magical realism quite frequently.

A famous Latin American writer, whose name I can not recall at this moment, said that if Kafka had lived in Latin America, he surely would had been a clerk all of his life. This was said in reference to Kafka’s fantastic imagination, which it would have been kept in checked by the ordinary magical realism events in Latin America.

What do you think?

© 2008 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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