At the time of transition that Cuba lives after more than five decades of Revolution, the dissident writer Wendy Guerra exposes through a fiction novel the situation of several Cuban artists victims of ostracism, exile, and censorship.
Cover of the book "Sunday of Revolution" by Wendy Guerra. / Taken from: anagrama-ed.es
LatinAmerican Post | Alejandra Guijo
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Wendy Guerra is a Cuban writer and poet born in 1970 in Havana. From a very young age, she had a very close relationship with the art world thanks to her mother Albis Torres, a poet known by large minorities of Cuban culture who enjoyed her position against the regime and her stimulating writing.
'Revolution Sunday', written by Guerra in 2016, can be considered her work with greater critical content against the Castro regime, which has not yet been published in the country. This novel, like most of her works, has several autobiographical elements; she has pointed out that her literature comes from the fictionalization of newspapers she has written since childhood.
Because of her transgressive and critical position, Guerra is considered by many to be one of the dissident writers of Castroism who still lives on the island, she says that in order to chronicle Cuba in her books she must remain in the country.
Guerra builds a nation story from the island through the changes that are currently taking place and the results of more than fifty years of Revolution, showing the Cuban community that it has a common past and that after a revolutionary process is in a transformation moment
'Revolution Sunday' tells a fictional story that highlights the hostilities of the relationship between Cuba and the United States and shows how the current context is a depository of the hostilities that occurred during the Cold War between the two countries. The narrative shows how the Soviet influence continues through the Cuban nation, even after almost three decades of the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The book exposes the way in which the Cuban nation entered into a kind of a timeless mystery since the Revolution because Castroism caused Cuba to stop in time, thus resignifying many spaces. Guerra tells how the government sought that many of the places take on a different meaning since the 1960s, examples of this are the houses of the upper class, which were left to the revolutionary leaders.
In addition, the author states that although the government sought to break the idea of social classes, what was achieved was to continue benefiting the great circles of power on the island.
Throughout history, it is possible to perceive that in Cuba the national space has been transformed by the nationalization of the private, not only in the economic sphere but also in the intimate life. The government became the agent that decided on the lives of citizens and has been responsible for creating certain parameters to judge and accuse them of their actions, based on a binary discourse highly influenced by the idea of the American common enemy.
Wendy Guerra centers the novel in the Havana space, without making greater reference to the nation's rural space, although she acknowledges that the situation in Havana is very different from the countryside. It is worth highlighting this aspect, since, for much of foreign tourism, Havana has become a kind of metonymy throughout Cuba. This has led to forget other spaces that are inhabited on the island, which have specific realities of oppression and resistance beyond those that are lived in the Cuban capital.
On 'Revolution Sunday', the military features of the regime emerge in a repetitive manner, which shows how Cuban politics, economy, and society have been built under a shadow of military violence. Cuba became a militarized nation that shares a past full of injustices, in many cases the military played the role of perpetrators, but also of victims of a system they feared to oppose.
The author points out that the objective of many of the actions carried out by the government was to eliminate any trace of a heterogeneous community, to build national unity, a uniformed people.
The features of this militarization today even impact Cuban aesthetics, strongly marked by the Soviet heritage that sought to abolish any type of eccentricity. However, Guerra focuses on describing how the Revolution wanted to build a nation absent from beauty, in which it sought to generate unity through equality, ending individuality and stripping Cubans of freedom over their body and aesthetics.
In this novel, Wendy Guerra evokes the censorship experienced by Cuban writers in the sixties and seventies. The author intends to break with that nation condemned to anonymity and repression, honoring the silenced intellectuals in her country such as Reinaldo Arenas, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Heberto Padilla, and José Lezama Lima.
Although violence against some dissident writers has diminished in terms of physical aggression, some persecution methods are still implemented. In this novel Wendy Guerra denounces how even today intellectuals and writers continue to be affected by the speeches that the government built, leaving them on the margins and leading them to anonymity.
Through the character, Cleo, the author manages to reflect the features of her experience as a writer who is not recognized in Cuba and the way in which the government has been responsible for making invisible intellectuals uncomfortable for the regime.
On the other hand, in the book, it is possible to perceive the features of a government that caused suffering to a large part of the population, deaths and violent acts committed in order to homogenize society. This situation is not only seen in Cuba but also in different Latin American countries today, where segregation, attacks on diversity and freedom of expression have generated countless forced migrations and have claimed the lives of many people.
Finally, through 'Revolution Sunday', Wendy Guerra shows how decisive Cuba's relationship with the USSR was in society and how this continues to impact Cuban intellectuals and writers. This novel exposes the author's situated experience and the reality that she perceives when living in the in-xile, a term that she uses to refer to her political and migratory situation as a dissident writer in the country, who does not have the possibility of publishing His works freely.
"My soul would not withstand an exile although the in-xile has not been easy, I have survived and that is what my literature talks about, my resistance. Here I am, despite Cuba, despite my Cuban diatribe, despite me same. "