Reinaldo Arenas was a Cuban writer who, despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and was later persecuted by the Cuban government. His significant body of work includes Pentagonia, a set of five novels on the "secret history" of post-revolutionary Cuba. Convicted in 1973 of “ideological deviation,” Arenas was imprisoned for three years in El Morro Castle, where he survived by writing letters to the wives and lovers of his fellow inmates. In 1980, he fled to Miami on the Mariel Boatlift, but, once there, he felt ostracized by the Cuban community and moved to New York City. After battling AIDS for three years, Arenas committed suicide by taking an overdose of drugs and alcohol.  His autobiography, Before Night Falls, was published two years after his death, at the age of 47.

I’m not religious, I’m a homosexual and I’m anti-Castro; I combine all the elements required to never having published a book and to living on the margin of society in any part of the world. – Reinaldo Arenas
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