Footage including much of the original film adaptation of Cuban poet Heberto Padilla’s infamous self-incriminationone of the cruelest episodes of repression of the arts and free thought under the regime of Fidel Castro, It was broadcast on YouTube.
Cuban writer Jorge Ferrer published most of this material in four parts.kept secret until filmmaker Pavel Giroud partially unearthed it in his documentary The Padilla Case (2022).
“I share them because the hands they sent me empower me to do so,” Ferrer commented on his blog El tono de la voz. “And because I am compelled to do so by the shared history, which is both mine and everyone else’s.”
The release comes after several Cuban filmmakers, writers and journalists urged Giroud to disseminate the material he used for his film.and which is the almost complete record of what happened on the night of April 27, 1971 at the headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
Filming was directed by a team led by documentary filmmaker Santiago Álvarez, and it would have served Fidel Castro to witness what happened next. Only fragments of this material had come to light as part of the poet’s character assassination campaign.whose crime consisted of writing the book Fuera del Juego and expressing opinions critical of the regime.
Referring to the commitment to release the footage, Giroud commented on writer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo’s Facebook wall: “It should have been from minute zero. And you will see. It happens that to make films seriously, contracts are signed, agreements are made and guarantees are given to those who bet on a project (a project that is rejected by every international fund to which we apply, you will already know why)”.
“One of the guarantees I gave to the few who contributed the money from their pockets and resources was that the material we anticipated would be released after the film was circulated., which has also agreed on a route of commitments and firsts. (…) Also, I inform you that there are more copies than the one I have, which is incomplete (it is missing more than half an hour). There are people who have seen another,” he added.
The footage broadcast by Ferrer totaled 85 minutes, about half of what was filmed and hidden for more than half a century.
During the session at UNEAC, Padilla accused himself, along with other famous purges that have taken place in totalitarian regimes, and also pointed out to other of his colleagues and his own wife their doubts and criticisms of the Castro regime.
After his arrest on March 20, 1971, the poet was imprisoned in the Villa Marista, a torture center run by the Cuban State Security. The political police offered to release him in exchange for his confession, a method he uses today against opponents, activists and independent journalists, whom he blackmails and threatens with jail if they do not publicly express their remorse.
What is now known as the “Padilla case” marked the definitive end of the honeymoon between the international advanced intelligentsia and Fidel Castro’s regime. After learning of the Padilla trial, in various letters signed by prominent figures in art, including Italo Calvino, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Monsiváis, Juan Goytisolo, Alberto Moravia, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alain Resnais, Juan Rulfo, Susan Sontag and Jean-Paul Sartre, showed his break with Castroism.
Commemorating half a century of these events in 2021 The pro-government Casa de las Americas published a “reinterpretation” of the case in which the former Minister of Culture and former adviser to Raúl Castro, Abel Prieto and the writer Jaime Gómez Triana attacked the poet again and offered a version in which they ensured that the “confession responded to a plan devised by Padilla himself” and described it as a “magnificent publicity stunt” that “had the enthusiastic support of the mainstream press and the swollen egos of many foreigners.” . involved intellectuals”.
“To this must be added the ingenuity and clumsiness of MININT, National Council of Culture and UNEAC officials at the time, who believed the ‘self-criticism’ was honest and that its dissemination would be favorable to the revolution,” they pointed out .
However, Both officials ignore the controversy in their revictimization of the poet grew up as a result of the phenomenon, which has reached international proportions served as a pretext and context for the previously planned sovietization of the Castro regime’s cultural policiesthe consequences of which are still in force.