Reinaldo Arenas

13 Oct Reinaldo Arenas

Imprisoned for “ideological deviation” for publishing abroad without permission, he escaped and tried to leave Cuba on an inner tube. The attempt failed and he was sent back to prison with murderers and rapists. He survived writing letters for inmates, thus collecting paper for his writings. In 1980 he was deported to the U.S. in the Mariel Boatlift. Among his most famous works is Hallucinations (El mundo alucinante). His autobiography, Before Night Falls was on the New York Times 10 weeks in 1993. In 2000 it was made into a film, where Arenas played by Javier Bardem.

Diagnosed with AIDS he committed suicide: “Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible depression that causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life… I want to encourage the Cuban people abroad as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom… Cuba will be free. I already am.”


Read more about Prominent Cubans in Cubans: An Epic Journey, The Struggle for Truth and Freedom available at

Lea más sobre cubanos prominentes en Cubanos: un viaje épico, la lucha del exilio por la verdad y la libertad en español en


Modesto Arocha
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