“Urgent, Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize for Literature…”: Yamid Amat, director of ‘6 AM’, and his most euphoric scoop

A few minutes after 7:00 am on October 21, 1982, the dispatches of the AP, AFP and EFE agencies began to be received by telex from the newsroom of the Caracol station, on the second floor of the building of Calle 19 No. 8-48, in the center of Bogotá.

One of the journalists on the early morning shift, in charge of trimming the leaves that came off the device, went up with the three cables to the third floor, where the master and the main cabin were located.

Yamid Amat, director of the morning radio program, received the cables while the transmission was interrupted by a curtain to announce a journalistic “bomb”, which, years later, was a prelude to terror, preceding the reports of car bombs or assassinations that became frequent that decade: “When the news breaks, Caracol tells him… Extra! We offer in Caracol an extraordinary last minute bulletin”.

“Urgent. Gabriel García Márquez has just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I repeat. Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize for Literature”. The words of the then director of 6 AM, concise, like a telegram stamped by the Aracataca telegraph operator, transformed Thursday, October 21, 1982 into July 20 in Colombia.

The news, like the name of the recent novel he had published -A Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981)-, it had been warned for several years, so journalists and reporters were always on guard at the Stockholm cable.

The gray telephone in the main bedroom of house 144 on Calle Fuego, in the Pedregal del Ángel neighborhood, Mexico City, where García Márquez lived with his wife Mercedes Barcha, his son Rodrigo (23 years old at the time), and Ubalda, a domestic worker Mexican of the family, did not stop ringing. Yamid Amat was lucky enough to have the scoop of putting the 1982 Nobel Prize winner on the air.

“I have just woken up with the news that I am a Nobel Prize winner… it is a very strange feeling, I am still not sure that I have woken up…., I am in bed but I am not sure that I have woken up, maybe I am dreaming that you he is calling me. I still haven’t had time to get emotional but to answer the phone… In any case, this has to be assimilated, I haven’t finished waking up”were the words of García Márquez.

Carlos Ruiz, news reporter CM&, He heard them in the Casa de Nariño, because 40 years ago he covered the source of the Presidency of the Republic for Caracol. Once he received the official statement from President Belisario Betancur, he went out into the streets to collect statements from thousands of Bogota citizens who came out that Thursday, October 21, which became the most joyous of the national holidays in memory.

In times when the cell phone or social networks were not even visible, Ruiz – like many of his colleagues – walked around the center with a briefcase on his back, which in the union they called “cacorros”, and which in the eighties was the latest technology to broadcast from the scene.

Ruiz, like all the journalists who toured the streets of the country that day, was able to verify the little knowledge of many Colombians about the work of their novelist, they only cared about his status as a civilian to celebrate.

It was not the only first 6 AMbecause another of his journalists, Juan Gossaín, even anticipated García Márquez himself, in finding Mrs. Luisa Santiaga Márquez Iguarán, mother of the writer. “Excellent. This Nobel that will serve at least to fix my phone “were her first statements, several hours before her son could locate her.

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“Urgent, Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize for Literature…”: Yamid Amat, director of ‘6 AM’, and his most euphoric scoop