Leonardo Padura: “Political change in Cuba is inevitable,”


He is one of the most widely read authors in Cuba. In Germany, Leonardo Padura now presents his latest novel and tells the story of his obsessions, the Cuban presence and his hopes for the future.

Leonardo Paduras works have been translated into over 30 languages and also for the cinema and a Netflix series is adapted. In German, his books have been published since around two decades in the Swiss Union Verlag. Currently, the Cuban writer in Germany completed a reading tour for his latest novel, “The permeability of the time”.

The alter Egos of Padura: Conde and Lennon

Mario Conde, the fictional character, accompanied Leonardo Paduro for almost 30 years, was “lifted up as a headstrong investigative police officer”, as a kind of “Anti-COP” from the baptism: “a sensitive, cultured, and any violence-averse”. With these features, its police enough career only up to the fourth novel. In “the permeability of The time,” the ninth novel in the Conde series that sold the series hero for many years, used books and just so “on the edge of misery,” as Paduro the DW told.

But Conde was not only a criminal investigator or, in the recent time, someone, the secrets of tracking. He is also the “vehicle” that Padura from Cuba considered to be a niche reality and reflects. Conde and his Creator Padura share experiences of their common Generation. The writer and his fictional character went to the same schools and had similar friends. They are “part of a world that disintegrates around you”: this artificial country, this social utopia, which was economically think of the Soviet Union, and all were equally poor, whether they were Doctors, geologists, engineers, architects, dentists or philologists.

Conde, Padura were, just like John Lennon, 9. October, born. Wherein Conde is a year “older” than Padura and those 15 years younger than the founder of the Beatles: this mythic British Band that listened to his Generation in the 1970s, secretly.

Emigration and Diaspora

“The permeability of the time” is, like all works Paduras, a novel about the Cuban emigration and the relationship of the islanders to their Diaspora. “This topic is one of my obsessions that have followed me all these years,” says Paduro, although he knows that the world is full of migration movements in many places by Extreme events, such as war, epidemics or famines triggered.

In the case of Cuba “is the number of people that have returned since my Childhood in the country, is enormous,” says the writer. He could speak for his fictional character, Mario Conde, because both were born in the house in the 1954 and 1955 – in Mantilla, a suburb of Havana. Therefore, his coming, almost at the completion of the novel, “the phenomenon of the Cuban Diaspora, the Diaspora will treat my Generation but also that of our children,” said Padura, compared to the DW.

Cuba at the crossroads

“In the last 60 years, the political System and the economic structure of Cuba remained unchanged. On the other hand, has changed Cuban society in the last 20 to 30 years. These social changes will eventually trigger a inevitably economic and political change,” says Padura, published in 2009, “The man, the dogs loved”: a novel – this time without Mario Conde – about the Perversion of the socialist utopia in the 20th century. Century.

Padura explained that he had the slightest idea of how and when these changes take place or who will be your protagonist. However, he had the hope “that the Cubans at some point, after so many sacrifices and hardships, a better life,” says the writer.

“There are a lot of very important things to which Cubans are guaranteed access: health, education and social security. But still, you don’t know how you want the next day to make ends meet. No one starved and no one has to sleep on the street, but they are forced, nevertheless, to master strategies of Survival”, so Paduro.

Published in Cuba – somehow

He hopes that his novel “will be published in the permeability of The time,” next year in Cuba. The acute paper shortage on the island, however, was a major obstacle, says the author. It voice it sad that for many, German is much easier than it is for Cubans to buy one of his books. Paduro has an illustrative example: “My novel ‘The man who loved dogs’ has been translated in the Spanish edition of over 100 pads, and my books in 30 languages. But at the book fair in Havana two years ago, only a single book of mine was presented: It was a book for the Blind, in Braille.”