Cuban author, 1943-1990

Reinaldo Arenas was born in Holguin, Cuba on July 16, 1943. While his childhood was spent living in the rural province of Oriente, he moved to Havana at the age of nineteen to study at the Universidad de La Habana. During ths early part of his life, he worked at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. However, after having one of his novels (Celestino antes del alba) win an honourable mention in a national competition, Arenas was jailed, partially under the accusation of having written and spread counter-revolutionary materials, partially for having one of his novels published abroad without the consent of the government and the writer's union, and partially because he was gay. Despite this, he managed to smuggle another of his books out of prison to be published abroad before his term ended.

Arenas ultimately left Cuba during the Port of Mariel mass deportations. He eventually settled in New York City. Eventually, however, Arenas contracted AIDS. Arenas ultimately committed assisted suicide on December 7, 1990. His autobiography, Antes que anochezca (Before Night Falls,) was made into an excellent film starring Javier Bardem.

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