Censoring ‘The Worst Generation’ Thwarts a Dialogue with Cuba’s Youngest Writers

The poster for “The Worst Generation, canceled by the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 October 2022 — The Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS), the radical youth arm of the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists, was not enthusiastic about La peor generación [The Worst Generation] conversation, an event where a group of novice writers were to debate literature, culture, politics, and society.

The debate, scheduled to take place in La Madriguera in Central Havana on October 15th was canceled on Tuesday under the pretense that several members had, on several occasions, repudiated AHS, its directors, and thus they did not see a reason for the “unworthy” to participate in its space.

Alejandro Mainegra, one of the organizers of La peor generación, told 14ymedio that the event would have served to introduce a book by the creators “who have a voice right now, they are writing and being read.”

“We naively thought we could all coexist one afternoon to talk about literature, within the AHS space, and it didn’t happen. It is very sad,” he added.

La peor generación was conceived with the goal of bringing together in the same space some of the most notable names in cutting-edge literature of the current generation,” explained its coordinator, Raymar Aguado Hernández, in a Facebook message.

Mel Herrera, Julio Llópiz Casal, Alexander Hall, Lisbeth Moya, Jairo Aróstegui, Ricardo Acostarana, Hamed Toledo and Manuel de la Cruz were invited to the dialogue to be moderated by Aguado and Mainegra, among others. The group was characterized by its ideological diversity, rejection of political monolithism, and its customary collaboration with independent newspapers and magazines.

This heterogeneity is precisely what sparked the censorship and “brought down the verdict” of AHS, denounced Aguado. Its objective, which was to “generate debates around the Cuban literary panorama and achieve a closeness among the public, the authors, and the home of youth creators in the capital,” was curtailed by the association.

In his message, the coordinator of La peor generación attached his resignation from the position of Specialist in Visual Arts and Critique and Research of the Havana-based AHS, as well as his resignation as an employee of La Madriguera. He maintains, however, his membership in that organization.

In what he wishes to be a moderate position, Aguado argues that AHS should, “represent all the values of national culture and youth art and not political differences with creators, nor positions tangential to the institutional aspirations, nor episodes of misunderstanding.”

“I work for conviction, commitment with my generation, and with the culture of my country, as a result, I cannot continue on the margins of this episode of censorship,” lamented the young man.

With support from two initiatives — La Tertulia Literaria and Cubao — they chose La Madriguera for their meeting, as the venue represented “an example of artistic resistance” at the margins of the “terrible management of Cuban institutions.”

For her part, one of the invitees, Lisbeth Moya, alluded to the venue as a “free space” for “diverse voices.” The young lady, who collaborates on the Communist platform, made it clear that she would not abandon AHS despite the institutional pressure. “When you want to talk, I’ll be here,” she quipped.

Meanwhile, artist and critic Julio Llópiz Casal, in a comment on Aguado’s publication, explained that “many Cubans will continue to pay the enormous price of living in a country subjected to sadness and despair,” at the mercy of institutions such as AHS, “without autonomy or steadiness.”

With the censoring of La peor generación, the Island’s bureaucracy looks down upon an entire pool of recent and talented writers and, as it did after that hopeful November 27, 2020 encounter, shuts the door on a dialogue and a consensus through culture.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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