Saturday, April 17, 2010

Carlos Franqui, 1921-2010. R.I.P.

Carlos Franqui, a one time ally turned bitter foe of Fidel Castro, died on April 15th in Puerto Rico of bronchial and heart problems. He was 89.

Franqui was part of the July 26th Movement along with Castro and Che Guevara that would overthrow the Batista government in 1959. Castro put Franqui in charge of editing the official Communist Party newspaper, Revolucion. In addition to politics, Franqui was a writer, poet and art critic. Over time Franqui began to have strong disagreements with Castro over the direction of the revolution and would eventually resign from the paper.

In 1968, Franqui became persona non grata in Cuba after he broke with Castro over the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Castro literally expunged Franqui out of existence. Franqui responded to this by writing a poem:

I discover my photographic death.
Do I exist?
I am a little black,
I am a little white,
I am a little shit,
On Fidel's vest.

Franqui wrote several books critiquing both Fidel and the Cuban Revolution. He also wrote, "Culture is liberty and the revolution is the negation of liberty."

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