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Heberto Padilla (20 January 1932 – 25 September 2000) was a Cuban poet, and the center of the so-called "Padilla affair." He was born in Puerta de Golpe, Pinar del Río, Cuba. His first book of poetry, Las rosas audaces (The Audacious Roses), was published in 1949. After his first marriage to Bertha Hernandez with whom he had three children, Giselle, Maria and Carlos Padilla, he married poet Belkis Cuza Malé in 1972. His son, Ernesto Padilla, was born in 1972.
Although Padilla initially supported the revolution led by Fidel Castro, by the late 1960s he began to criticize it openly, and in 1971 he was imprisoned by the Castro regime. A number of prominent Latin American, North American, and European intellectuals, including Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar, Susan Sontag, and Jean-Paul Sartre, spoke out against Padilla's incarceration, and the resulting controversy came to be known as "the Padilla affair." The reaction of the international intellectual and literary community eventually led to Padilla's release from prison, but he was not allowed to leave the country until 1980. He lived in New York, Washington, D.C. and Madrid, before finally settling in Princeton, NJ. Padilla was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Farrar Straus & Giroux published several editions of his poetry, a novel, En mi jardín pastan los héroes (translated as Heroes Are Grazing in My Garden), and a book of memoirs, La mala memoria (translated as Self-Portrait of the Other).
He was the Elena Amos Distinguished Scholar in Latin American Studies at Columbus State University, Columbus GA, 1999-2000. He died on 25 September 2000 while teaching at Auburn University in Alabama.
- Las rosas audaces, 1949
- El justo tiempo humano, 1962
- La hora, Cuadernos de Poesía 10 (Sets of Poems 10), La Tertulia, La Habana, 1964
- Fuera del juego, 1968
- Provocaciones, 1973
- Poesía y política - Poetry and Politics, bilingual anthology, Playor, Madrid, Georgetown University Cuban series, 1974
- El hombre junto al mar, Seix Barral, Barcelona, 1981
- Un puente, una casa de piedra, 1998
- Puerta de Golpe, anthology created by Belkis Cuza Malé, Linden Lane Press, 2013
- Una época para hablar, anthology that contains all of Padilla's poetry, Luminarias / Letras Cubanas, 2013
- El buscavidas, novel, 1963
- En mi jardín pastan los héroes, novel, Editorial Argos Vergara, Barcelona, 1981
- La mala memoria, memoir, Plaza & Janés, Barcelona, 1989
- Prohibido el gato, political novel written in 1989