Home > Miguel Iturria Savón > Bragado: A Literary Opus as a Spiritual Legacy

Bragado: A Literary Opus as a Spiritual Legacy

On June 22, to mark the death of the writer Reinaldo Bragado Bretaña (Havana 1953 – Miami 2005), the Civic Library Network which distributed his work in Cuba held a gathering to honor the writer and poet, author of stories (Around Zero, Under the Shade), novels (The Wrong Station, Death With No Sender, The Watchful Night, and The Haunted City), and poems (The Umbrella Tree, Curacao 24), works of undeniable clarity, satirical and scriptural courage, even though they appeared at the literary margin through personal circumstances that took him into exile in the United States, where he worked as a journalist, translator and writer for radio and television.

As a creator of imaginary worlds, Bragado approached with irony the aftermath of the abuse of power. The authenticity and strength of his writing offer a vision of reality the humanizes the characters of these alarming stories, alluding to Cuba, though they do not recreate the civic struggles for human rights on the island, nor express the tension of the years he was imprisoned in La Cabaña, which are present in his chronicles and opinion pieces, principally in the Diario de las Américas.

The poetry of this writer borders on fiction, becoming an intellectual exercise of catharsis and ending in the colloquialism that influenced so many practitioners of his generation. His poems restore the memory of the urban environments, the dreams, noise, insomnia, fears, searches and masks. The poem of the little street where he lived in Havana presents the times and the atmosphere of the city, “bestial and angelic… of cascades and hurricanes.”

From nostalgia, Bragado played with words, metaphors and other devices. He recreated in allusive form the tension that characterized his civic activism for democracy in Cuba, without falling into the existential traps and politicization that mars poetry.

Given that Reinaldo Bragado is barely known in his own country, the Civic Library Network that spread his literary and journalistic legacy arose as a communications platform with the aim of promoting reading without censorship. It already encompasses 43 small libraries on the island, whose readers include local artists, human rights activists and people with no political affiliation.

Among the Network’s options for spreading its works are the Messenger Service, Video Debates, lending of books, talk shows and other forms of cultural interactions, particularly among children in communities with limited resources.

Since late 2008 the Reinaldo Bragado Civic Library Network has offered public services on a non-profit basis and without exclusions, although it prioritizes the literary works censured on the island, such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Guillermo Rosales, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Reinaldo Arenas, Mario Vargas Llosa, Milán Kundera, Octavio Paz or Vaclav Havel.

Omaida Padrón Azcuy and Juan A. Madrazo Luna, executive coordinators of the Network, organize the business plan in accordance with the works received, circulated, returned and contacts with guest writers, journalists and artists.

The spiritual legacy of Reinaldo Bragado, like that of so many writers who continue their work in exile, belongs equally to the island’s readers and those residing in the provinces — mothers of the diaspora — emerged during the Kalends of the Castro regime.

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