Cuban writer, activist Carlos Franqui dies at 89

Danica Coto
Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Cuban writer and political activist Carlos Franqui, an important figure in the Cuban revolution who later became one of the most outspoken critics of Fidel Castro, has died. He was 89.

Franqui died late Thursday in Puerto Rico after a brief hospitalization for bronchial and heart problems, according to family friend Andres Candelario.

The son of a poor farmer, Franqui entered leftist political movements as a youth, joined and left the Communist Party and became a journalist who eventually joined Castro’s rebellion against dictator Fulgencio Batista.

He edited the movement newspaper “Revolucion before and after Castro’s insurgents defeated Batista, but increasingly clashed with hard-liners who were restricting cultural and political dissent.

Franqui moved abroad in 1963 and openly broke with the communist government in 1968 when he denounced the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

“For him, the experience of having helped build a revolution that destroyed his country was extraordinarily bitter,” Calendario said. “He was immensely affected by having forced a system that in the end he had to confront and fight against.”…

…”What I wanted to create was a cultural revolution, not a bureaucratic one, and invite the whole world to get to know Cuba and its Revolution,” he said.

In the end, he said he decided that freedom of expression was incompatible with revolutionary thought: “Culture is liberty and the revolution is the negation of liberty.”…

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