Author, Scholar & Diplomat
I wanted to be a writer always. I had published my first stories in Chile when I was 11 years old, and went on from there and won contests in high school. Well, that was my vocation, no doubt about it. So when I was told, "Now you have to do law school," I said, "Why? I want to be a writer; I don't want to be a lawyer." But the pressure in Mexico at the time was if you are a writer, you will die of hunger, so you must have a professional title. I remember visiting the great Mexican writer Alfonso Reyes, who my father told, "Convince Carlos he has to be a lawyer." And he said -- and Alfonso was the greatest Mexican writer at the time -- and he said, "I am a writer, but first I am a lawyer, because Mexico is a formalistic country. We are all hot cups of coffee, and if you don't have the handle to pick us up, people will burn their hands. You have to be Doctor something, Licenciado something, Engineer something or other." So I obeyed him and I went to school in Mexico. I went to school in Geneva. I achieved a broadness of education I would not have had otherwise. By reading law -- going back to read philosophy, Roman law, the medieval times, which are so important to understand Latin America, the philosophy of the Middle Ages -- I got a whole picture of the world that I would not have had if I had not studied law. So I'm very grateful for it.
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