Lynn Cruz, Havana Times, 20 June 2018 — Yesterday, on June 19, 2018, in the afternoon, 85-year-old Rafael Alcides passed away. The sensualist poet, friend and main character in “Nadie”managed to do what very few can: “Live in keeping with his ideals.”
He spent his last days resting at his home in Nuevo Vedado, after having fought a long battle against cancer.
The end of his journey has left a deep abyss in not only the people who knew and admired him, but in everyone who has fought for their ideas.
He was ostracized because of his critical thinking. He was such a grand figure that he would always say that he hadn’t been censored, despite his novel “Contra Castro” and poetry collection “Nadie” being banned.
Alcides chose to distance himself from social and cultural life because he didn’t agree with the direction national politics were taking. He was referring to Fidel Castro’s treachery, to the ideas he himself had fought for as part of the underground movement before the 1959 revolution.
He inspired filmmaker Miguel Coyula with his eloquence and gift for speaking leading Coyula to make his first documentary “Nadie” (Nobody) about him. Coyula always says he will keep the film showing (in private in Cuba) for as long as possible, in the face of the poet’s brilliant personality.
Being a free man living in a totalitarian system has meant that this film is still banned, even today. Nobody on the island is talking about it. Not critics, or poets from his own generation, or pro-government press or the news.
However, the poet has had a taste of eternity. Governments and politicians come and go. Those of us who love him will always be “grateful like dogs” for having his work among our literature.
Alcides didn’t have an age. He was brimming with so much passion that he seemed more like a child who was stunned by a world unknown to him.
For those of us who were close to him, we also have the priestly example of how he treated his writings, unwilling to sell out.
As a friend, I know that I will always miss him and that I will have to get used to thinking, what would Alcides have had to say about this?
The poet from Bayamo asked that his ashes be scattered in Barrancas, his hometown.
Note: Translation from Havana Times