Publicado: Fri, 20 Nov, 2015

BELKIS, A JOURNALIST EXAMPLE OF COURAGE

This entry is also avaliable in: Spanish

Belkis junto a su hijo Ernesto Padilla y Heberto Padilla, su esposoIn the history of the Cuban culture she has insured a mention, my hometown colleague from Guantanamo Belkis Cuza Malé, residing at the moment in the United States has devoted to journalism during all her life and she is still active in a journalistic-cultural magazine of great acceptance also in Cuba: Line Lane Magazine.

Descending from the first Malé that inhabited The tagua and then Majimiana, to finally be integrated to ¨ the village ¨, as Boti used to call Guantánamo, Belkis was born in the most oriental province of the country in 1942. She studied Letters in Santiago de Cuba and graduated later on in the University of Havana, where she debuted as a poet with the book El viento en la pared (The wind in the wall). In 1962 she obtained a mention in the prize Casas de las Américas with the poems collection Tiempos de sol. In 1963 she was additionally granted a mention in the same with Cartas a Ana Frank.

She began to work as a journalist in the periodic Hoy and then she passed to the daily newspaper Granma, from which she was fired in 1967:

¨ Never I had a revolutionary enthusiasm. She made cultural journalism, she went to the newspaper to do nothing else but to give my articles and I was the whole time interviewing writers and foreign artists that arrived in Cuba. I believe that I have interviewed everybody, from Alberto Moravia until Nicanor Parra, including Traba, Vargas Llosa, and most of the poets and Spanish novelists. Neither the painters nor the theater were put aside. With some, as Julio Cortázar, I had the privilege to speak and to converse on literature several times¨.

Belkis was arrested on March 20, 1971 soon after the recital offered by Heberto Padilla in the Unión de Escritores, where she read Provocaciones . Both were accused of ¨ subversive activities ¨ against the government. She was isolated during several days in the barracks of the Security of the State, well-known as Villa Marista and she participated in the historical meeting controlled by the Political Police taken place in the Unión de Escritores, when her husband was released and forced to make a “self-critic”, in which nobody believed.

Her book Juego de damas was the third to obtain a mention in the Prize Casa de las Américas in 1968, which was disappeared from the libraries and bookstores, soon after the detention of Belkis and Heberto Padilla, not only for the content of its verses, but also, for its polemic position. (Juego de damas would be reissued 31 years later by the editorial Término de Cincinnati).

In 1970 Belkis Cuza Malé goes to the exile and one year later, due to the international pressure and particularly to the senator Edward Kennedy ‘s managements, his husband could meet with her on a free land.

In 1982 they founded in Princeton the magazine Linden Lane Magazine, specialized in literature and the art of the Cubans in the exile. In 1986 she founded La casa Azul, a cultural center and gallery of Cuban art, in Fort Worth, Texas, where she had settled. After Padilla’s death in 2000, this institution takes his name in honor to the celebrated poet’s memory that wrote the celebrated book of poems Fuera de juego.

In the newspaper The New Herald, Belkis has written journalistic memorable writings during long years that could be luckily read in Cuba, in spite of the strong censorship from Fidel Castro régime.

A great friend of Belkis, the poet and journalist Tania Díaz Castro, residing in Santa Fe, Havana, whenever she talks about Belkis she does in a very respectful way with a great deal of affection:

–Belkis is one of the best journalists in the last four decades of the XX century and the dawn of the XXI one and a great fighter for the civic rights of the Cuban people. Her whole life has not only be dedicated to the development of culture of our country, but rather she always made a worthy journalism setting an example of tenacity and courage, in these gusty years of a Castro´s dictatorship¨.

Frank Correa

Frank Correa es periodista independiente y miembro de APLP

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