Artist: Heberto Padilla|
Confronting Bodies: Fidel Castro
Date of Action: 1967-1980
Specific Location: Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Description of Artwork: Padilla is Cuba's foremost living poet. He was exiled under President Fulgencio Batista and lived in New York. A childhood friend of Fidel Castro, he was an eloquent supporter of the Cuban revolution. He joined the editorial board of the magazine Lunes de Revolucion while writing internationally renowned poetry.
Description of Incident: In 1967, Padilla wrote a letter to the periodical El Caiman Barbudo, in which he praised the novel Tres Tristes Tigres by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. In August 1968, Cabrera Infante who was then living abroad, publicly denounced the condition of writers in Cuba and attacked the Cuban Revolution, in an interview in the Argentine newspaper Primera Plana. As a result, Padilla now was seen as siding with a "public traitor to the Revolution."
Results of Incident: On April 26, 1971 he was released from prison. He shocked the world when - acting under severe pressure - he performed a public act of self-criticism, denouncing his own work. He was forbidden to leave the country until 1980. He now resides in Princeton, New Jersey with his family.
Source: from Hebert Padilla's book Self Portrait of the Other