Reinaldo Arenas, traitor forever
Reinaldo Arenas was born in the Cuban countryside and as a teenager took part in the Cuban Revolution. Within three years of outsting Batista, Castro outlawed homosexuality and Arenas and others were put in re-education camps. Despite this, according to Arenas, queer culture blossomed, and Arenas became equal parts poet, Castro-critique, and cruiser.
After years in and out of Castro’s prisons (and his work being published outside of Cuba, often without him being able to see it), Arenas was able to leave Cuba. He died of AIDS in New York City in 1990. Arenas’s memoirs, Before Night Falls, are amazing.
“Traitor yesterday, traitor today, traitor… forever!”