A major figure in Cuban exile culture has passed away. He wrote eloquently and tirelessly against Castro, Inc. for six decades, until a rare neurological disorder made it impossible for him to continue doing so.
After escaping from Castro, Inc.’s gulag, he went into exile and fought the good fight until the bitter end. As one obituary has put it, “Montaner faced criticism and opposition from those who disagreed with his conservative ideology. However, his impact on Latin American political thought cannot be denied. He played a pivotal role in shaping public discourse, challenging prevailing narratives, and promoting the values of freedom and democracy.”
May he rest in peace.
Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba
Cuban writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner died in Madrid on June 29 at the age of 80, Firmas Press reported in a press release sent to this newsroom.
According to the text, Montaner died at his home and surrounded by his loved ones, after facing a neurodegenerative disease.
On his behalf, his wife, Linda, their children Gina and Carlos, and their granddaughters Paola, Gabriela and Claudia “thanked the Spanish public health professionals and the Right to Die with Dignity Association,” the statement said. “They also thanked all the family and friends who have shown him so much affection in the final stretch of a prolific life marked by the defense of individual liberties. His farewell will be an intimate and private act,” he added.
Tony Guedes, an exiled doctor who founded the Unión Liberal de Cuba party with Montaner, confirmed to DIARIO DE CUBA that it was an assisted death. Montaner made that decision, protected by the Euthanasia Law approved in Spain, due to the disease that he suffered from and that substantially limited his life, he explained.
“He was aware of the decision he made and read that press release before beginning the process,” said Guedes, who in addition to being a friend and fellow fighter of Montaner was his family doctor.
“One of the great Cuban thinkers has been lost, not only from exile, but from inside and outside Cuba, a great fighter for democracy. He fought when many did not and tried to achieve democracy for Cuba in many ways. That’s it. his work, there are his books and his lectures,” said the exiled doctor
At the beginning of last May, Montaner said goodbye to the practice of journalism with an article published in DIARIO DE CUBA, which had the honor of being among his columnists.
In the text, the writer revealed that he suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).
“It is a rare brain disease. I was diagnosed at the Gregorio Marañón hospital —one of the best in Spain— after an MRI. Three people out of 100,000 suffer from it. It is not contagious or inherited. There is no cure for it. It is not known how it starts or why it originates. It belongs to the parkinsonism family, but without tremors. Hence the confusion in the diagnosis. It is characterized by preventing me from conversing well and reading, beyond the headlines (Linda, my wife, and our daughter, Gina, read the newspapers to me), not so writing everything “well” that has allowed me to spend more than half a century writing —among other things— a syndicated column a week,” Montaner wrote then.