Lisbon, August 28 (EFE). – The Cuban writer Leonardo Padura predicted a new wave of immigration in his country due to the current situation, in an interview with Efe in Lisbon, where he reflects on the lessons learned from the pandemic and considers that we have been ceded to energy control spaces that will be difficult to restore later.
Padura (Havana, 1955), Princess of Asturias Prize for Literature in 2015, speaks from the Lisbon Book Fair, providing a Portuguese-language reissue of the first novels by his famous detective Mario Conde, published in the 1990s.
His last novel, Como dust en el viento, which deals with a theme so present in his literature, has not yet reached Portugal, exile.
And it is a topic, he asserts, that will continue to resurface in his work, because he believes that many young people “who have become completely disillusioned with the Cuban process” will choose this path given the situation in the country.
“We expect that there will be another wave of migration,” says the journalist and screenwriter, who says Cuba has “many shortcomings and a rather complex social tension, in which there are few ways in which it can be resolved in a short time.” The term for the country’s economic, social and political situation.
The problem, he says, is that they have nowhere to go. “In the case of Spain, the granting of visas to Cubans was very generous and now there are practically no visas at the moment.”
He is not thinking of leaving. “I want Cuba to write,” he insists, because he considers she can’t be “anything but a Cuban writer.”
Fear of the basics
The novelist believes that given the polarization that exists in Cuba, “an open and inclusive dialogue” is needed to find solutions, not to impose an absolute truth. “This fundamentalism scares me a lot,” he says.
On other occasions, he emphasized that Cuba’s problems between Cubans must be resolved. Now, with Afghanistan in mind, he insists, each country must try to find solutions to its own problems.
“What happened in Afghanistan shows that solutions that go through interventions, through the implementation of policies from military or economic power, can ultimately cause great disasters,” he lamented.
He uses a joke he just read to sum it up: “He said it cost me I don’t know how many millions of dollars and 20 years for some Taliban to replace the other Taliban, which unfortunately happened in Afghanistan.. It was a sample of how it is necessary for every country to try to find, I know It is very difficult, to find solutions to its own disputes.”
Lessons from the epidemic
Padura has begun to restore “normality” at fairs such as Lisbon, although he believes the use of digital media should continue as part of promoting culture to reach more audiences.
But the pandemic has left deeper lessons for the author of The Man Who Loved Dogs. As well as concerns.
“Because of the fear of death, governments have given us, many powers, some spaces of control which later recover as forms of freedom which can be complex. It is already known that when power grants the possibility of controlling you, it is difficult to return later.”
And remember: “A long time ago, Lenin said that democracy is beautiful, but control is better.”
Although he does not know if the epidemic will be reflected in his work, the Cuban writer believes that more literature will be produced about “the decisive moments of humanity”, but with an idea that is sometimes forgotten “in a very absurd way”: the smallness of the human being.
“A sick ugly little molecule that threatens the global economy and the stability of everything we’ve achieved,” he recalls.
It’s literature that, when you’re living through one of those “critical moments” for humanity, can be hard to digest.
Padura admits that he started re-reading José Saramago’s “Essay on Blindness” and had to stop halfway. “What I was reading affected me a lot in relation to what we were seeing,” he explains.
Back to the beginnings of Mario Conde
Coming to Portugal to talk about the reissue of the Four Seasons Quartet starring Mario Conde – published in two volumes by Porto Editora under the title “Quarteto de Havana” – presents a challenge to Padura.
“It forces me to put myself in the role of writer I was 25 years ago,” he says, although it is “very satisfying.”
The novels gained renewed success when they were featured on the small screen in the miniseries Four Seasons in Havana, with script adapted from his wife Lucia López Cole, and Padura himself.
A post that assumes a “tremendous challenge”: “It’s a somersault without a grid under it, because you have to change not only the language, but the artistic expression”.
With a new novel project in hand, set for 2016, Padura hopes to return to Portugal next year to present his latest release, Como dust en el viento.
“Travel junkie. Coffee lover. Incurable social media evangelist. Zombie maven.”