Heberto Padilla was a Cuban poet, and the center of the so-called "Padilla affair.". He was born in Puerta de Golpe, Pinar del RÃo, Cuba. His first book of poetry, Las rosas audaces, was published in 1949. After a failed first marriage and three children, he married poet Belkis Cuza MalÃ© 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 CortÃ¡zar, 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 jardÃn pastan los hÃ©roes, and a book of memoirs, La mala memoria.