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.

jueves, 24 de abril de 2014

Gabriel García Márquez was a gifted writer but no hero

Statesmen eulogized Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who died at age 87 on April 17. “The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers — and one of my favorites from the time I was young,” President Obama said; he called the author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” “a representative and voice for the people of the Americas.” Juan Manuel Santos, president of García Márquez’s native country, hailed him as “the greatest Colombian of all time.”
The obituary of García Márquez that I would most like to read will never be written. That is because its author would have been the Cuban poet Heberto Padilla — who passed away 14 years ago. No one was better qualified to assess the weird blend of literary brilliance and political rottenness that characterized García Márquez’s long career.
Charles Lane
Lane is a Post editorial writer, specializing in economic policy, financial issues and trade, and a contributor to the PostPartisan blog.

In 1968, just as “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was propelling García Márquez to fame, Padilla published a collection of poems titled “Out of the Game.” Cuba’s cultural authorities initially permitted and even praised Padilla’s book, despite its between-the-lines protest against the official thought control that was already suffocating Cuba less than a decade after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
Then instructions changed: The Castro regime began a campaign against Padilla and like-minded intellectuals that culminated in March 1971, when state security agents arrested Padilla, seized his manuscripts and subjected him to a month of brutal interrogation.
The poet emerged to denounce himself before fellow writers for having “been unfair and ungrateful to Fidel, for which I will never tire of repenting.” He implicated colleagues and even his wife as counterrevolutionaries.
Intellectuals around the world, led by García Márquez’s fellow star of the Latin American literary “boom,” Mario Vargas Llosa, condemned this Stalinesque spectacle. Many cultural figures who had backed the Cuban revolution soured on it because of the Padilla affair.
For García Márquez, however, it was a different kind of turning point. When asked to sign his fellow writers’ open letter to Castro expressing “shame and anger” about the treatment of Padilla, García Márquez refused.
Thereafter, the Colombian gradually rose in Havana’s estimation, ultimately emerging as a de facto member of Castro’s inner circle.
Fidel would shower “Gabo” with perks, including a mansion, and established a film institute in Cuba under García Márquez’s personal direction.
The novelist, in turn, lent his celebrity and eloquence to the regime’s propaganda mill, describing the Cuban dictator in 1990 as a “man of austere habits and insatiable dreams, with an old-fashioned formal education, careful words and fine manners, and incapable of conceiving any idea that isn’t extraordinary.”
To rationalize this cozy relationship, García Márquez offered himself as an ostensible go-between when Castro occasionally released dissidents to appease the West.
What Gabo never did was raise his voice, or lift a finger, on behalf of Cubans’ right to express themselves freely in the first place.
Far from being “a representative and voice for the people of the Americas,” he served as a de facto spokesman for one of their oppressors.
García Márquez went so far as to defend death sentences Castro handed out to politically heterodox Cuban officials — one of whom had been personally close to the writer — after a 1989 show trial.
One can imagine many motivations for this shabby behavior, some more comprehensible than others. A youthful dabbler in Communist Party activity in the 1950s, García Márquez belonged to a generation of Latin American intellectuals for whom anti-imperialism was an ideological given, as well as a badge of sophistication; perhaps he never outgrew that.
“Friendship” with men like Fidel Castro is hard to escape — though, given the benefits he reaped from that relationship, tangible and otherwise, it’s doubtful García Márquez ever contemplated a break with Fidel, even secretly.
Whatever their causes, García Márquez’s Cuba apologetics will forever mar his legacy. True literary greatness is a function of not only narrative skill and linguistic creativity, which García Márquez possessed in abundance, but also moral courage, which he lacked. Against the multiple evils, social and political, that plagued his native region, he bore witness too selectively.
Castro finally let Heberto Padilla leave Cuba for the United States in 1980. In his 1989 memoir, “Self-Portrait of the Other,” the poet noted that he sought García Márquez’s aid for an exit visa but that the writer tried to dissuade him from going, saying that Cuba’s enemies might use his departure for propaganda purposes.
Apart from that book, Padilla produced little. He bounced from one college job to another before dying, a broken man, in Auburn, Ala. He was 68.
In truth, Heberto Padilla did not have half the talent Gabriel García Márquez had. Still, some of us admire him more.

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2:33 AM PST

I understand, Chuck, that the friend of your enemy is your enemy, but I always perceived wisdom and humanism in Garcia Marquez that escape your perception. Your most extreme accusation, and the most surprising to me, was that "García Márquez went so far as to defend death sentences Castro handed out to politically heterodox Cuban officials." I followed the link you helpfully provided to learn more, and I read the whole, long, five-year-old, critical review of Garcia Marquez's authorized biography. The "politically heterodox Cuban officials" were, according to your source, Cuban security operatives who had become drug traffickers. And far from defending the death sentences, Garcia Marquez explicitly criticized the death penalty. His wrong, in the judgment of Castro's enemies, was to remain Castro's friend.

You and I can agree, Chuck, that speech should be free, and Castro's Cuba is wrong to limit speech. But what is the point of free speech when it's used to tell lies? Does society benefit from your rewriting of history so that a harsh punishment for drug trafficking becomes a harsh punishment for political heterodoxy? A person, or a government, might make gravely consequential decisions based on false accusations like that one. Perhaps society would be better off without your freely false speech.

Your distortion of history is worse for its amplification in the Washington Post. You should be more responsible. This isn't the after-dinner talk at a Marco Rubio fundraiser. I guess you figured you could have the last word against GGM by waiting until he died before you slandered him.
2:41 AM PST

I hope you're just a political naif rather than a fellow traveler. The general that Castro sent to a firing squad in 1989 made the mistake of becoming a popular possible alternative to Castro in Cuba, and thus was tried on drug charges, which you open your mouth and swallow whole. This isn't to say he didn't help the Cuban regime provide safe haven to Columbian drug lords, but that was Castro himself who promoted it. After all, the "poison" was only going to the North American Yankee devils.
3:45 AM PST

He was a writer. A good one.

Using his death to write (poorly) a capitalist propaganda piece reflects more on the articles' writer than it does on Marquez, the articles subject.

Nice to see the Miami/Cuban block is still alive, though. Dying off but trying to stay relevant, I see.

CULTURA Su trabajo de los años 1959 y 1960 desapareció como represalia al posicionamiento del Che

Cuba pudo destruir parte de la obra periodística de García Márquez

Castro y el escritor, en la clausura del II  Festival del Habano...
Castro y el escritor, en la clausura del II Festival del Habano celebrado en la capital cubana en el año 2000. Afp
La obra periodística que Gabriel García Márquez escribió y publicó de 1959 a 1960 en Prensa Latina -la agencia informativa de la revolución cubana, que el escritor colombiano cofundó- terminó destruida "bajo sospecha ideológica" por el Gobierno de Fidel Castro.
La revelación ha salido a luz este lunes por boca de Rogelio García Lupo, de 82 años y el más afamado periodista argentino vivo de investigación. García Lupo fue compañero de Gabo en Prensa Latina, ideada por Ernesto Che Guevara como voz de la revolución e integrada, además, por otros dos argentinos, Jorge Masetti y Rodolfo Walsh.
Tanto el Che como Masetti y Walsh pasarían aquella etapa y, años más tarde, morirían combatiendo en otras experiencias guerrilleras latinoamericanas que pretendieron emular sin éxito a la revolución cubana en La Higuera (Bolivia), Salta (Argentina) y Buenos Aires (Argentina), respectivamente.

Presiones al núcleo argentino

García Lupo ha recordado al diario porteño 'Clarín' que fue llamado a trabajar en Prensa Latina y que llegó a La Habana en agosto de 1959, cuando la revolución ya había vencido a la dictadura de Fulgencio Batista y aún no se había proclamado comunista. García Márquez era corresponsal, primero en Bogotá y luego en Nueva York.
"Masetti había estado en Sierra Maestra en el 1958 -le había hecho la primera gran entrevista a Fidel ahí- y había traído una serie de certezas. Él nos decía: '(Los castristas) No son comunistas, quieren hacer una cosa democrática, son nacionalistas, antiimperialistas'", ha evocado García Lupo.
García Márquez y García Lupo, en México en 2007. Clarín
Según el relato del octogenario, los periodistas que trabajaban en aquella redacción en la capital de la isla "ideológicamente no éramos más que eso", es decir, antiimperialistas. ¡No éramos nada comunistas! Estábamos estancados ideológicamente, según decían los comunistas".
Hacia finales de 1960, un sector del gobierno empezó a tildar a Guevara de troskista. "Era un estigma, le estaban serruchando el piso. El Che era difícil de serruchar, pero Masetti era más fácil. Y si lo serruchaban a él, caía yo, caía Walsh, caía Heberto Padilla. Me fui -ha sostenido- porque había una enorme presión para que el grupo de argentinos perdiera poder".

Comunista no, pero sí amigo de Fidel

Con la proclamación en 1961 del Gobierno de Cuba como régimen socialista aliado a la URSS "los comunistas cubanos -explicó- ocuparon posiciones y quienes pasaron a dirigir la agencia Prensa Latina eran del más cerrado estalinismo".
Y entonces, ha proseguido el veterano profesional, "el trabajo de Gabo, nuestro trabajo, todo el periodismo de los años 59 y 60 fue destruido. Ese material no está en ningún lado". Tan es así, ha acotado García Lupo, que "muchos años después, Gabo reunió sus escritos de prensa y no hay entre ellos un solo despacho de la agencia. Fueron destruidos".
"Cuando la agencia cumplió 40 ó 50 años nos invitaron a una fiesta de conmemoración. Gabo me dijo: 'No voy a esa fiesta mientras no me den una explicación de por qué destruyeron mis crónicas'", ha revelado.
Para García Lupo su recién fallecido colega nunca mantuvo vinculación con los comunistas cubanos, sino una relación personal con Fidel Castro. Por eso, a su juicio, no firmó la petición de liberación en 1971 del entonces encarcelado poeta Heberto Padilla. "Fue un sacrificio por la unidad ideológica de la revolución", ha dicho.
Al autor de 'Cien años de soledad' no le convencía el comunismo soviético. "Había hecho un viaje para una revista a los países del Este y decía: '¿Sabes una cosa? Lo que no puedo olvidar del mundo socialista es el dentífrico. ¿Dentífrico? Duro como el cemento'. Nos divertíamos con sus relatos, siempre fue un gran narrador oral", ha concluido.