14ymedio, Havana, 2 March 2016 — The US Embassy in Havana denied the poet Rafael Alcides a visa to travel to Miami, this morning, believing he might be intending to emigrate, as reported by his wife, the blogger Regina Coyula. Alcides had been invited by the Vista Foundation, which organized a tribute to him and to the writer Manual Diaz Martinez, living in Spain; both writers were awarded the Gaston Baquero National Independent Literature Prize this last December.
In a very brief interview, the embassy official who met with Alcides classified him as a possible emigrant because he has a son in the United States and, in consequence, denied the visa.
“Come back in a year,” the official said at the close of the meeting. The poet has declined to comment on his reaction to what occurred.
Now 82, Alcides was born in Bayamo in 1933 and began his literary career at Cyclone magazine, and is considered one of the greatest Cuban poets of the so-called “50’s Generation.” He has published poetry collections such as Mountain Hymn (1961); Gypsy (1962) and his well-known Wooden Leg (1967). In 1983 his poetry collection Thanked Like a Dog was released, but by that time the author already suffered from the institutional silence that had marked decades of his work, due to his openly critical positions with regards to the Cuban government.
In 1993, he withdrew from all editorial collaboration on the island and subsequently resigned from the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) in an open letter. In 2011, he won the Café Breton & Bodegas Olarra of Spanish Prose Prize.
At a meeting of members of the Club of Independent Cuba Writers (CEIC), held in Havana in late January this year, the group’s coordinator, Victor Manuel Dominguez stressed that in “the official exclusion and manipulation of his work” it is recognized that “the censors, the ideological tattletales, and the political commissars who have tried to silence Rafael Alcides… have failed.”