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Persona Non Grata: A Memoir of Disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution (Nation Books)

ISBN: 9781560256076
Publisher: Nation Books
Publication Date: 2004-03-31
Number of pages: 304
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In 1970 Jorge Edwards was sent by socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende as his country’s first envoy to break the diplomatic blockade that had sealed Cuba for over a decade. His arrival coincided with the turning point of the revolution, when Castro began to repress the very intellectuals he once courted. In Kafkaesque detail, Edwards records the four explosive months he spent in Havana trying to open a Chilean embassy and his disenchantment with the revolution. His stay culminated in the arrest of his friend Heberto Padilla—the first imprisonment of a well-known writer by the regime—for giving Edwards a “negative view of the revolution.” In a menacing midnight political debate with Edwards immediately after Padilla’s arrest, Castro argued that in this phase of the revolution, bourgeois writers would no longer have “anything to do in Cuba.” Castro accused Edwards of “conduct hostile to the revolution” and declared him “persona non grata.” The winner of the Cervantes prize—the Spanish language equivalent to the Nobel Prize for literature—Jorge Edwards' memoir splendidly recounts this time and the wrath of Castro.

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