Cuba’s problems must be resolved among Cubans



Havana, Aug 1 (EFE) .- Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature (2015), considers his novels to be “one of the most radical documents that could have been written” about a Cuba today in turmoil whose problems “must be resolved among Cubans.”

“I believe that my novels written and many of them published in Cuba, such as ‘The man who loved dogs’, ‘Herejes’ or ‘The novel of my life’, are among the most radical documents that could have been written and said about this country. And that gives me a lot of peace of mind, “says the author in an interview with Efe.

At his family home in the Havana neighborhood of Mantilla, three weeks after thousands of people took to the streets of the country to protest the scarcity and demand freedom, Padura reflects on the extreme polarization that the island is experiencing, from which he hopes that ” it can be resolved between Cubans, “including those in exile.

“With certain frequency I receive attacks from one extreme and another, because I try to be fair and to speak of truths about which there is a certain consensus. It is already known that the truth is not absolute, what is absolute is the lie. And In none of my texts, or in my novels or journalistic works, do I need a lie to talk about Cuba, “he says.

And it is that the also academic of the Language considers that “when someone wants to criticize Cuba they do not have to exaggerate, they only have to tell the truth.”

“I am very calm with myself, I cannot satisfy all positions, I do not want to put myself in any extreme, I am very afraid of fundamentalisms and extremes because they start from the fact that their reason is the only possible reason, and I believe that there is always more than a reason and a dialogue between these reasons must be made, “he says.

Padura was surprised by the protests watching the Eurocup. “Suddenly they cut the transmission and the intervention of the president (Miguel Díaz-Canel) came and I found out what is happening”.

Shortly after, the authorities blocked access to the Internet and the information that came in was confusing and “very distorted, very partial, very aggressive in some cases and it was difficult to find out what was happening,” he recalls.

His first sensation, which he described the week after the demonstrations in a text published on the La Joven Cuba platform, “was that there had been a scream that came from the bowels of a society that demanded other ways of managing life in a meaningful way. general, and that is where the economic, the social, the political … “.

The unjustified delay in the economic reforms generated “something that is evident”: the growth of inequalities and poverty, reflected in the novel “The transparency of time.”

Thus, Padura mentions very poor settlements in Havana in which “you realize that this is not the country for which we have worked, for which we have dreamed, for which so many sacrifices have been made. We must find solutions to those people (…)”.

The demonstrations, in his opinion, channeled the weariness of waiting for a prosperity that never comes and evidenced the lack of communication between power and the feelings of the citizens.

“So much so that I think they were surprised by that demonstration because it was not that in a queue they started shouting something, it is that in many parts of the country there were people who came out to ask for things, to ask for freedom for example, and it is very serious when people scream for freedom “.

The writer is concerned that this feeling “is not understood and processed in the best way, because there is a social magma in which there are these intolerances and extremes of which we spoke at the beginning that may be the ones that prevail and it would be the worst”.

“The violent responses are not at all the cure that this country is needing, which is not the same as it was until 15 days ago. It is a different country and it must be handled in a different way,” he says.

It also specifies that what happened was already in the making, as demonstrated by the concentration of young creators on November 27 before the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

“There they spoke of the need for a dialogue that in the end was left in a few words and very few solutions, and when people ask for freedom of expression, thought, opinion, they are asking for something that belongs to them, something that I think they don’t. They can be denied in any system and not in any country “, emphasizes the author.

Regarding all those young people who protested on July 11, Padura warns that the “less desirable” alternative is for them to be marginalized or “even imprisoned for their social or political position” and that due to the prolonged “bleeding” suffered by the island many – among them the most prepared – they end up leaving.

The author, who in 1996 became the first “independent writer” in Cuba, believes that what happened now will be reflected in his literature, although “perhaps not directly.”

I have tried to practice my independence and my freedom for many years. I think that for any creator the need for freedom of expression and thought is fundamental “, although with limits regarding” homophobic, xenophobic attitudes, attitudes that are somehow fascist “.

“In addition, life is too short for us to be limiting ourselves in as many things as we have to limit ourselves by the social contract that exists,” he concludes.

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