Es un blog literario dedicado íntegramante a destacar la figura de Heberto Padilla, escritor, poeta y hombre de pensamiento dentro del marco de las letras cubanas, así como, develar la génesis y las consecuencias dentro de la cultura hispana y universal del llamado Caso Padilla. Es nuestra intención acopiar documentos éditos e inéditos sobre el particular a modo de esclarecer las circunstancias que rodearon este momentum histórico y preservarlo como legado a las generaciones más jóvenes de escritores, poetas y artistas cubanos e hispanohablantes en general.

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

Poet Heberto Padilla: Four Who Brought Talent By: Gerald Clarke NY-TIMES

Poet Heberto Padilla: Four Who Brought Talent

By Gerald Clarke Monday, Jul. 08, 1985

"Florida, Flo-rree-da," says Heberto Padilla, pronouncing the familiar word with a flourish, as if it were a lover's name. "Ponce de Leon christened it, and in Coral Gables the streets have Spanish names. So we deserve the place. Whenever we had trouble in Havana, we went to Miami, and Miami is very, very important for us. We don't feel like immigrants." Padilla certainly does not. Cuba's best and most famous poet now talks as if he could be the proud father of all his 726,000 countrymen residing in South Florida. "The U.S. is the seventh-largest Spanish-speaking nation in terms of population," he says, "and I think that will enrich the country. The present and the future of the U.S. are here."

Padilla, a genial, garrulous man of 53, first came to the U.S. in the '50s to escape the oppression of Fulgencio Batista, the dictator of the day. When Fidel Castro overthrew Batista in 1959, Padilla returned home and put himself at the command of the new regime, which sent him to London and Moscow as a correspondent for Prensa Latina, the government press agency. Gradually he became disenchanted; he saw the future of his country in the repressive atmosphere of the East bloc. Poems such as this reflected his unhappy feelings:

Cuban poets dream no longer

(not even at night).

They close the door to write


Denounced as "counterrevolutionary and pessimistic," he was eventually jailed, tortured and held for a month in 1971, an event that inspired a worldwide protest: furious, his old friend Castro visited Padilla's cell to rail against him. "Abroad they are speaking against the Cuban revolution," he yelled, "and you are responsible for that." After his release, Padilla was officially a nonperson for the next decade and eked out a bare living as a translator. Only after Senator Edward Kennedy made a personal appeal to Castro was Padilla allowed to emigrate to the U.S. in 1981.

Hidden in his bag was precious cargo: the manuscript of his second novel, Heroes Are Grazing in My Garden, which was published in English last year (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $16.95). It is not an angry indictment of Cuba today but something more powerful: a sad but engrossing tale of the spiritual squalor that has settled over the island. Padilla's memoirs, Self-Portrait of Other -- the other being the man he left behind in Havana -- is scheduled to be published next year.

Padilla's three grown children by his first marriage live in Miami, which he visits frequently and where he talked to TIME. But the author and his second wife Belkis, who is also a poet and writer, live in Princeton with their son Ernesto, 13. "I've lost time," he says of the decade between his imprisonment and exile. "I spent ten years fighting and trying to remain alive." Now he is trying to make up those silent years. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, he turns out several columns a week for Latin newspapers, including the Spanish-language section of the Miami Herald. Unlike many other exiles -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn is his example -- he does not brood over the past or look wistfully toward the place of his birth. "I do not admire people who suffer professionally. I want to be a new man. I am eager to be alive. My duty is to write.

Communism has not taken hold in Cuba, he believes, and when Castro dies the island will move away from its alien ideology. At that moment, Padilla predicts, thousands of exiles will return home and start new businesses with the money they have made in the U.S. But they will not forsake their new home in Florida: they will shuttle between the two countries as easily as if they were going from New York to Washington. Cuba will become half American, and the great irony, Padilla concludes, is that Castro, who tried to expunge the American image from the island, will only have succeeded in painting it red, white and blue.

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