Cuban Writer: Reinaldo Arenas

1499 WordsJun 24, 20186 Pages
During an interview in 1983, printed in the New Yorker just last year, Reinaldo Arenas was asked, “Does a writer have a duty to himself and to society?” Arenas replies that it is indeed the job of the writer to write their best, but defines that as “when a writer writes, he’s always referring to a social and historical context.” Arenas was a Cuban writer, exiled for being openly homosexual and rebelling against the Cuban government through his written works. He was also very autobiographical in his work, and as it would appear in his New Yorker interview, this is where his passion and writing flourished. Reinaldo Arenas used his own marginalized voice as openly homosexual man in Cuba and commentary on Castro’s regime to challenge the…show more content…
Castro’s revolution placed the utmost importance on the society and called for a surrender of the individual. By 1965, Castro created UMAP camps (Military Units to Assist Production), which were agricultural labor camps operated by the Cuban government. The camp’s inmates consisted of gay men and any other “counterrevolutionary” kind of people. It was in one of these camps where Arenas placed his fictional character, Arturo, in his story “The Brightest Star.” This is a fictional story of Arturo’s experience in one of these labor camps. Arenas’ motivation for writing is very apparent in this work as he, as opposed to the Cuban regime, is in full support of the individual and their right to express themselves even in a very oppressed state, in this specific case a labor camp. Arturo is a dreamer and uses his writing to create and alternative world to rise above the real world oppression. When Arturo was first selected to be taken to the camp, Arenas employs the use of gay stereotypes by the officials in choosing who to arrest, “young men being carried out these days under the absurd pretext that one young mans hair was too long, or that another wore clothes of a certain cut or (most fatal) exhibited certain telling traits, had certain ‘mannerisms’” (65). The guards in the labor camp, as most

More about Cuban Writer: Reinaldo Arenas

Open Document