Colombian author Garcia Marquez, best known for his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude," sought political asylum in the Mexican Embassy in Bogota today, and was given permission to leave the country under Mexican diplomatic protection.
There was no immediate explanation of the move by Garcia Marquez, who is normally resident in Mexico, where he is active as a left-wing journalist and campaigner as well as a novelist. The Mexican Embassy quoted him as saying he was being "politically persecuted" in Colombia, which he was visiting to launch a new book. The Foreign Ministry there said he could come and go as he pleased.
Garcia Marquez may be trying to draw attention to a new situation in Colombia, which earlier this week severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. This followed charges that Cuba had trained leftist guerrillas active in Colombia. The writer is a frequent visitor to Cuba.
A Panamanian delegation is currently in Bogota for discussions about allegations that some guerrillas had been armed in Panama.
In Costa Rica, President Rodrigo Carazo said he was not yet planning to break relations with Cuba, although the Costa Rican Consulate in Havana has been closed after the arrest of 20 foreigners on suspicion of involvement in last week's rocket attack on U.S. Marine embassy guards in San Jose.