Cuban authorities organizing Havana’s annual international book fair declined to invite, for the first time, a Puerto Rican publishing company owned by the daughter of a moderate Cuban dissident.
Maria Mederos, the director of the organizing committee, confirmed that Plaza Mayor, owned by Patricia Gutierrez-Menoyo, would not be attending this year’s event, despite participation in several previous fairs.
In an e-mail response to a query by The Associated Press, Gutierrez-Menoyo said organizers told her she was not welcome due to her activities at last year’s fair, when she read statements - some of which were critical of the island’s communist government - from Cuban authors not allowed to attend.
“It’s not my place to censor,” she said. “My place is to bring together quality works by Cuban authors in one collection.”
Plaza Mayor, based in San Juan, publishes a broad variety of books, including several works written by Cuban authors living both on the island and abroad.
Gutierrez-Menoyo is the daughter of Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo, a former rebel commander who fought in the Cuban revolution before falling out with Fidel Castro and spending 22 years in prison. After a long exile, the elder Gutierrez-Menoyo returned to Cuba in 2003 without government approval and remains here.
About 500 publishing companies from some 30 countries plan to participate in the book fair, to take place Feb. 3 to 13.