By Ivette Leyva Martinez (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — One of the most merciless indictments against totalitarian societies and the lack of freedoms under socialist systems, the novel 1984 by George Orwell, will be published shortly in Cuba by a government publisher.
Editorial Arte y Literatura publishers, under the Ministry of Culture, announced that the classic novel will be part a catalog of over 40 titles that will be presented at the XXV International Book Fair of Havana, scheduled from 11 to 21 February.
Sources told Café Fuerte that the presentation of the Cuban edition of 1984 will take place on February 16th at 2:30 pm at the Alejo Carpentier hall of the La Cabaña fortress, headquarters of the annual International Book Fair.
The decision is a true publishing event after decades of bans on literature by Orwell for his poignant ironies against the indoctrination under socialist regimes.
A news item on Radio Encyclopedia mentioned the imminent release of the novel as “a wise decision.”
George Orwell (1903-1950) is the pseudonym of British writer and journalist Eric Arthur Blair. He is known worldwide for his two novels critical of totalitarianism: Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949), written in his last years of life and published shortly before his death.
A man forged among leftwing movements, Orwell fought on the anti-fascist side during the Spanish Civil War, an experience that forever marked his worldview. His criticism of Western societies did not negate his recognition that Stalinism was a potential threat to the communist parties and freedoms intended by the socialist system. “I am convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted the resurrection of the socialist movement,” he wrote on his return from Spain.
In 1984, Orwell created the notion of Big Brother, identified as a symbol of permanent surveillance in totalitarian societies.
For decades under the regime of Fidel Castro, the works of anti-communist writers like Orwell or others openly critical of the Cuban revolution, were prohibited de facto as well as those by Cuban authors who decided to leave the country.
Limited readers of censored or banned books on the island would circulate copies quietly passing them through chains of followers. Until the early eighties, being caught with a book of a banned author could lead to the ostracism of the person as an individual with “ideological problems.”
In its 25th year, the Havana Book Fair will have Uruguay as the guest country and is dedicated to Cuban writers Lina de Feria and Rogelio Martinez Fure.