An understanding of the history of Colombia is necessary to an understanding of the fiction of García Márquez. As Regina Janes notes, he himself “once remarked that the reader of Cien años de soledad who was not familiar with the history of his country, Colombia, might appreciate the novel as a good novel, but much of what happens in it would make no sense to him.
Liberals were represented by the color red and Conservatives by the color blue; when the new mayor arrives in Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude and demands that all the houses be painted blue, the reader immediately knows his political orientation. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Colombia over the difference in color, red or blue.
—Joan Mellen, Literary Masters: Gabriel García Márquez
Colombia on Wikipedia