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Homosexuality and Invisibility in Revolutionary Cuba: Reinaldo Arenas and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Homosexuality and Invisibility in Revolutionary Cuba
    Book Description:

    This work offers an alternative insight into the longstanding and conflicting relationship between politics and the (gay) intelligentsia in Cuba by looking closely at political texts, film, documentaries and literature from prior to Fidel Castro's regime until the present day. The book offers new readings of the work, letters and interviews of two influential voices, Reinaldo Arenas and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Arenas's material reveals a new account of the nature of 'the voice of the invisibles' and the key elements of the construction of a Cuban national rhetoric that looks at (governmental) power and (gay) resistance as being in perpetual tension, which often increases the feeling of moral panic and even social exclusion and displacement among citizens. The book also offers a new interpretation of Gutiérrez Alea's renowned film Fresa y Chocolate (1994), resulting from the use of unpublished and revealing testimonies of the Cuban dance critic and writer Roger Salas and the secret messages inferred in his short story 'Helados de pasión: El cordero, la lluvia y el hombre desnudo' (1998). Dr MARIA E. LPEZ is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Sociology at London Metropolitan University and an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-527-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology, Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    It is difficult to determine the origin of homophobia in Cuba. Homophobic attitudes had been entrenched in Cuban political life for decades before the departure of the Spanish and were a central part of the morality of the Cuban Revolution. For Cuban homosexuals, defending their identity has been a challenge that has led to censorship, exile and invisibility, especially during the first three decades of the revolutionary government. Fear and stereotyping were essential in turning this group into a social problem in the eyes of the population. Using social constructionism as a methodology, the authorities dictated that homosexuality was a...

  6. 1 Beyond the Margins of Visibility: Contextualising Homophobia in Cuba
    (pp. 15-64)

    In the contemporary world, everybody is expected to have a nationality, just as everybody is expected to have a gender. However, defining the national identity has been, and still is, a challenge in Cuba.¹ The excessive preoccupation of the leaders and the population in Cuba with defining and redefining their national identity from all possible perspectives has survived all ideologies – socialist, revolutionary, communist and, above all, Cuban heterosexual – but with no success until recently in integrating the homosexual community into the portrait of the nation. As in the rest of the world, though, homosexuals have long existed in...

  7. 2 Reinaldo Arenas and His Struggle against Invisibility
    (pp. 65-134)

    Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990) is considered to be one of the most extreme nonconformist authors in Cuban literature. It is particularly relevant to approach his novels, articles and short stories in the light of the circumstances of his life.¹ His creative life was dominated by tension with the Cuban authorities and the struggle to preserve his sexual and intellectual identities. Arenas often fused autobiographical material with a political denunciation of Fidel Castro’s regime in his fictional works, articles and personal letters. An extraordinary writer, Arenas managed to leave behind a legacy describing his personal struggle to overcome his invisibility in...

  8. 3 Tomás Gutiérrez Alea: A Failed Attempt to Portray the Reconciliation with the Marginal
    (pp. 135-184)

    Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is widely regarded as the best film-maker in the Cuban film industry. Without overlooking the collective nature of film production in Cuba, as well as the extraordinary contributions of other talented directors, the national and international success of Gutiérrez Alea’s films has increased his reputation within Cuba and abroad. Gutiérrez Alea was one of the founders of ICAIC, director of the first cinematographic production of the revolution (the documentaryEsta tierra es nuestra, 1959) and co-ordinator of one of three Grupos de Creación launched by ICAIC in 1988 to support young Cuban writers and film-makers. In 1993...

  9. Conclusion and Looking Forward
    (pp. 185-196)
    Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and Leonardo Padura Fuentes

    This book demonstrates the relevance of homosexuality and homophobia in the development of a social ethos in Cuba through the twentieth century until the mid-1990s. The issue of homosexuality and homophobia was central to the design of a Cuban national identity after the departure of the Spanish, as the discussions about the Cuban male by Enrique José Varona, Benjamín Céspedes, Pedro Guiralt and José Martí show. The issue was equally central to the portrait of the Cuban nation after Fidel Castro came to power, as the number of laws created from the mid-1960s to prevent homosexuality and control homosexuals in...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-212)
  11. Index
    (pp. 213-216)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-217)