Vincent Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — When there’s a lot to say, it’s better to write little. When it comes to the award-winning Uruguayan writer Daniel Chavarria, who has lived among us for so long, it was unfortunate to hear about the slip he made by denying proven facts concerning the repression of homosexuals in Cuba, something that must be eradicated.
His disavowal was notable because the matter reverberated here in Cuba, especially among intellectuals. Ethically, what the author of the popular novel Joy said was very wrong.
But I’m taking this opportunity to comment on the National Literature Award, which was presented to this imaginative writer. On several occasions he has addressed national issues with the perspective of a well-educated person, though undeniably his is the view of an outsider – because it’s impossible to appreciate things with the naturalness of Cubans ourselves.
I never try to belittle awards given to others out of the desire for mine to be respected, however modest they might be. Making such judgments is the responsibility of a literary jury. This being the case, what makes me upset is that his Chavarria’s work is considered “national.”
From my point of view, Daniel Chavarria’s literature expresses an approach to our reality from the experience of a Rio Platense [someone from Uruguay’s Rio de la Plata area].
I’ve read several of his many stories, which are certainly of great publishing successes – both here in Cuba and abroad.
One only has to point out his short novel Priapos to get an idea of his limited understanding of the abakuas, something particular to someone who is not culturally Cuban. In short, the decision to award him a national prize is ethically and aesthetically questionable.
I join the justified outrage over the unfortunate statements by the Uruguayan writer, but I protest the use of offensive phrases and epithets against him because they don’t contribute to the debate.
To contact Vincent Morin Aguado, write to: [email protected]