Heberto Padilla

Heberto Padilla was a Cuban poet who gained international fame, unfortunately, as the protagonist of the notorious "caso Padilla", a series of events between 1968 and 1971 that led to Padilla being briefly incarcerated in Cuba along with his wife, Belkis Cuza Male. After a few weeks of prison, during which time he was tortured, Padilla was released, but forced to make a grotesque, Stalinesque "act of contrition", confessing to his "counterrevolutinary" attitudes and writing. These events led many leftist intellectuals to break with the revolution. He left Cuba in 1979, taught briefly at Princeton, then ended up at Auburn University. He died in 2000. I've been reading a good deal about Padilla and these events in the past few days in preparation for one of the classes I'll be teaching this semester. (If anyone who happens to read this feels sympathy towards the Cuban Revolution, please see the film Improper Conduct, a documentary that focuses on the repression of homosexuals and other "undesirables" in Cuba.) Yesterday I came across Belkis Cuza's blog, where I found her detailed account of the morning when the Security Police came to arrest her husband. I was reminded of the experience suffered just months ago by renowned blogger Yoani Sánchez. Yoani was briefly detained and intimidated by Castro's thugs. She is repeatedly denied visas so she can travel.