Publicado: Tue, 28 Jul, 2015

Gastón Baquero

This entry is also avaliable in: Spanish

Foto tomada de EcuRed200px-Baquerok Havana. José Gastón Eduardo Baquero Díaz was born on May 4, 1914 in Banes, Holguín. He was one of the famous journalists of the Republic when through his articles in the “Diario de la Marina” achieved with his prose, poetry, and thoughts to reach an intellectual  status.

He was not born in a golden cradle. On the contrary, his tenderest childhood was surrounded by an extreme poverty. Up to the extent of only attending night schools for the poor, because during the day he sold in the road public candies of homemade desserts made by his mother.

It was his father who brought him to Havana at the age of thirteen years where he finished the primary school, the high school and he entered the University of Havana where he obtained an agricultural engineer’s and sugar chemist degree. But, quite determined, he abandoned these professions to be devoted entirely to the literature and journalism.

As a professional of journalism he began to work in the daily “Information” starting from 1944. Later on, he passed to El Diario de La Marina from 1945 up to 1958 acting as editor in chief and cultural commentator of that publication through two fixed sections: “Panorama” and “Aguja de marear.”

Next to authors of fame as José Lezama Lima, Eliseo Diego, Virgilio Piñera, Vitier, Fina and Lorenzo García Vega, he was a member of the Group “Origins”, homonymous title of the magazine.

Late at the 40´s and during the 50´s he played an intense activity linked to the Cuban culture, and as a representative of this in the exterior. In this period he stood out his work as a journalist. His journalistic tests and editorials place him among the most outstanding journalists in the Cuban press.

Baquero fue miembro correspondiente de la Academia Nacional de Artes y Letras. Baquero ganó reputación como intelectual, a causa no solo de su poesía, sino también por los trabajos suyos que aparecían con regularidad en la prensa.

Baquero was a member corresponding of the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Baquero won reputation as an intellectual, not only because of his poetry, but also for his works that appeared regularly in the press.

He was also a member of the Association of the Press. He obtained several journalistic prizes, among them El Justo de Lara. In 1948 he was granted the First PrizeReward Juan Gualberto Gómez, in the category of Article or Chronicle.

But also Gastón Baquero participated in the political life of Cuba supporting the coup d’etat of Fulgencio Batista and accepting senator’s position in the Advisory Council created by Batista after the coup d’etat of March 10 of 1952. That position was subsidized by the tyranny with 16 thousand monthly pesos.

But our current Dictatorship could not leave Gastón Baquero aside. Not somebody could be forgotten after being able to write a poem like “Testament of the Fish.”

On the last May 4 the centennial of its birthday was completed and the high control of the Cuban culture had to take him out of the basket of the garbage (to recycle it) and to carry out an excellent compilation of some of his writings to the heat of the cultural journalism also considered as essays. The book takes for title “A small sign on the chest of the star” and in these moments he/she iit is sold in all the bookstores of Havana.

I do not believe that such an enormous encyclopedic work  has been made up to now as this book where we can traffic next to Gastón for the whole chronology of his life, date by date. I only have left to congratulate the prologue writer and the chronologist of this book, Mr. Remigio Ricardo Pavón, and the team of people that helped him.

This book is already like a forced source of consultation on the life and  work of Gastón Baquero, without too much importance on the fact that he was threw away from Cuba. Times change, and the governments do it as well.

Gastón had to leave Cuba in the year 1959 escorted by three ambassadors accredited in Havana and to take a flight heading for Madrid, where Francisco Franco ‘s régime welcomed him and provided him with an employment.

In Spain he was welcomed by Franco’s régime that gave him  employment. He worked during some time in the Institute of Ibero-American Cooperation and  imparted history courses and literature of Latin America in the International University Menéndez Pelayo, of Santander, and in the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Madrid. He worked for decades in the radio station External Radio of Spain. Then he returned to the poetry and literary thought.

The Revolutionary Tribunal of the Cuban incipient dictatorship expelled him in 1960 from the National School of Journalists for his collaboration with the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista.

His work has been translated to diverse languages like English, French, Italian, Polish, German and Greek.

He died in Madrid, on May 15 1997at the age of 81 years.

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