Leonardo Padura’s recent visit to Curitiba (Brazil) yielded at least two truly symbolic images. In one of them, the Cuban writer is shaking hands with former president Lula de Silva, now in prison; and in the other he appears with a bullhorn in a street protesting, insisting that his friend is innocent.
Each of these images is rife with symbolism, for two reasons.
In the first place, Padura has explicitly refused to talk about politics on his literary tours around the world. And, in this case, when visiting Brazil precisely to promote his new book The Transparency of Time, he finally plunged into the pool of Brazilian politics.
The cagey discretion of the author of The Man Who Loved Dogs has been ended of his own volition, but he has now become a writer with public political opinions. And there is no going back after the partisan line that he has so openly crossed.
We all have political opinions, some thorny, and with partial or incomplete views. The writer, as an intellectual, is no exception. Being a writer is no carte blanche in the tower of Babel that is the Latin American political world.
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