14ymedio, Havana, 30 November 2022 — Cuban writer and journalist Carlos Manuel Álvarez won the Sergio González Rodríguez Anagrama/UANL Chronicle Award this Tuesday in Mexico with his unpublished book Los intrusos [The Intruders]. According to the author, the text addresses his “long quartering” with the San Isidro Movement, in November 2020.
The award jury was made up of the writers Juan Villoro, Leila Guerriero and Martín Caparrós, the editor Silvia Sesé and the Secretary of Extension and Culture of the University of Nuevo León, José Javier Villareal, who made the decision public during the Fair International Book of Guadalajara, Mexico
Los intrusos – presented under the pseudonym Yorik – won among the forty manuscripts submitted to the contest, which celebrates its fourth edition this year. The endowment of the prize, offered by the Anagrama Chair of the University of Nuevo León, is 10,000 euros.
After learning of the ruling, Álvarez thanked the jury in a Facebook post and defined his text as a “mixture of reporting, testimony, profile and memory,” and attributed to the protest in San Isidro an irreversible change in the “political-sentimental map of the Island”.
The book, in the words of its author, constitutes an intimate account of his experience with State Security, and a theoretical exploration of the terms “revolution, dictatorship, language, and totalitarianism.”
“We are not victims who suffer Orwellian customary repression, nor are we actors subject to the closed framework of the Cold War, but individuals who fight and lead another possible conflict of modernity and its truncated horizons,” Álvarez points out, referring to the new generation of opponents. inside and outside Cuba.
The writer adds that his work is a review of Castroism not only as an expression of state power, but also as “a habit, a culture, a doctrine that shapes you emotionally and intellectually.” In short, it is a question of describing the “aesthetics of militancy at risk,” Álvarez emphasizes.
As for his companions from the San Isidro Movement – most of them in exile or suffering prison, such as Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo ’Osorbo’ – Álvarez defines his chronicle as “a dizzying operation” for the San Isidro strikers, whom he thanks “the treasure of being able to belong.”
The violent eviction of the strikers from San Isidro, on November 26, by State Security agents dressed in protective suits (the excuse was that the activists had violated the covid protocols), in turn provoked the solidarity of more than 300 artists gathered the next day in front of the Ministry of Culture to request dialogue with the authorities. Álvarez is interested in leaving a record of those days through an artistically worked story, even if it refers to real events and characters.
Carlos Manuel Álvarez was born in Cárdenas, Matanzas, in 1989, and lives in New York. For his report Tres niñas cubanas, [account of event in English] published in the magazine El Estornudo – of which he is the founder – he was awarded the Don Quixote Prize for Journalism, in 2021. He has published the novels Los caídos (2018) and Falsa Guerra (2021), in addition to the book of stories La tarde de los sucesos definitivos (2013).
Recently, Álvarez denounced that the Cuban regime prevented him from traveling to the island, when he was denied “from Havana” to board an American Airlines flight. The journalist then assured that he was willing to return to Cuba “by any other means.”
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