Le Monde, 2016

Insurrection littéraire à La Havane

« Cuba, année zéro » est une anthologie d’auteurs cubains contemporains contre le « machisme-léninisme ».

Par Paulo A. Paranagua.

Publié le 28 avril 2016 à 15h33 – Mis à jour le 07 juillet 2016.

Cuba, année zéro, sous la direction de Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, traduit de l’espagnol (Cuba) par François Gaudry, Hoëbeke, 216 p., 18 €.

Ecrivain, blogueur, éditeur de revues numériques et photographe, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo est une ­figure de la scène culturelle alternative à La Havane. Harcelé, interpellé plusieurs fois, il a profité de l’autorisation accordée aux Cubains de voyager à l’étranger sans entraves bureaucratiques, en 2013, pour prendre le large et sillonner les universités américaines, avant de s’installer sur une autre île, l’Islande, grâce au réseau international des villes refuges (Icorn), qui accueillent les écrivains en délicatesse avec les pouvoirs. A Reykjavik, il écrit un roman.

Par son écriture, il se situe dans la lignée du Cubain Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929-2005), décidé à triturer le langage et à faire rendre gorge aux mots pour retrouver des sens submergés par les lieux communs. L’ironie, la parodie, tous les subterfuges lui semblent bons pour transgresser les normes. Il est à la fois un individualiste imbu de sa singularité et un organisateur de manifestations collectives, convaincu que les choses bougent si elles ont un effet d’entraînement. Aux Etats-Unis, il a parcouru les routes, sans doute à la recherche des mânes de la Beat generation.

Cet agitateur d’idées est le maître d’oeuvre d’une anthologie de nouvelles d’écrivains cubains appartenant à ce qu’il appelle la « génération année zéro », parce qu’ils ont commencé à publier à partir de l’an 2000. Ces auteurs ont pour la plupart entre 30 et 45 ans. Certains ont publié à Cuba, comme Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo lui-même, dans les maisons d’édition ou les publications ­contrôlées par l’appareil culturel officiel. Le Web – encore inaccessible par ailleurs à la plupart des Cubains – a ouvert leurs possi­bilités d’expression et élargi la ­palette de leur invention.

Nouveaux signes d’identité

Néanmoins, ces auteurs évoluent dans un univers littéraire entravé par les interdits et les compromis. Le castrisme n’a pas seulement mis en place une double monnaie et favorisé une forme de double morale. Le « machisme-léninisme » a provoqué une scission du langage, une véritable schizophrénie verbale. Les Cubains ont beau tous utiliser l’espagnol, ils ne parlent plus la même langue. La rhétorique de la pensée unique a contaminé les mots, qui n’ont plus le même sens parmi les privilégiés et dans les rues.

Les écrivains présents dans cette anthologie s’insurgent ­contre toute instrumentalisation et dévoilent la fiction du nationalisme, qui pèse comme une chape de plomb sur la création. Le sarcasme, la déterritorialisation, le travestisme, la fragmentation, le coloquialismo (langage familier), l’hybridation, l’aventure et l’imagination redessinent les signes d’identité, récupèrent leur capacité de subversion et resignifient l’utopie.

Certains explorent le « réalisme sordide », dans le sillon de Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (dont La Trilogie sale de La Havane a été traduite chez Albin Michel en 2001). D’autres se projettent dans la science-fiction en partant des vestiges d’un présent en ruines. La proximité idéo­logique avec l’Union soviétique a suscité des métissages, qui se traduisent par un curieux mélange de repères en perdition. La tradition, à force d’avoir été investie et pervertie, n’est plus une référence. Tous à leur manière, ces auteurs sont des résistants, des hérétiques, des indignés, des ­insurgés.

Cuba, année zéro, sous la direction de Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, traduit de l’espagnol (Cuba) par François Gaudry, Hoëbeke, 216 p., 18 €.


Titres de l’oeuvreCuba, année zéro
Genre(s)LIVRE
Auteur(s)Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The New York Times, April 2013

Blogging a Bridge From Havana

By David Gonzalez. Apr. 3, 2013.

Havana is a city of flags, says Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, a Cuban blogger whose photographs show them dangling from telephone wires, draped over headstones and reflected in windows and puddles. The tricolor standard is everywhere.

So, too, is Cuban state security.

They hauled him in one day in 2009 for questioning over a flag photo he never even published. Somehow, he said, they got their hands on a composition of his in which a nude appeared in the same frame as the remnants of a flag. They put him on warning, he said, saying he was at grave risk of committing a crime.

“They said I could get as much as four years for desecrating a national symbol,” he recalled. “I was being incriminated for a photograph that I hadn’t even circulated. I thought what I did in my own house was mine, but he was telling me it was defamatory. He said ‘If they found out in Miami, they’ll stone you. They’re counterrevolutionaries, but they love the flag.’ It was strange.”

He can relate to strange: he is a writer who relishes wordplay and a photographer who captures everyday abstractions and details along Havana’s streets. He is among the island’s small group of independent bloggers who have used the Internet to express themselves and confound both authorities and outsiders.

“He is giving us the poetics of the city that is not touristy, nostalgic or exotic,” said Ana M. Dopico, a professor at New York University who recently participated in a New York conference with Mr. Pardo Lazo and Yoani Sanchez, the island’s best-known blogger. “He is giving people a way to read the politics of daily occurrences, like he does in a picture of a man being arrested on the Malecón. He juxtaposes the eternal beauty of the city and the real political urgencies of the moment.”

Mr. Pardo Lazo’s route to photography — and the dissident blogosphere — was circuitous. Originally trained as a molecular biochemist, he worked in pharmaceutical research for five years before he “got bored” and decided to pursue writing. He had published four well-received books of short stories and started contributing columns to a friend’s blog.

“I had total independence,” he said. “That’s when the problems started.”

One piece — “La Muerte del Caballo,” or “The Horse’s Death” — started it, he said. It was his rumination on the sight of a dead horse that had fallen near a banner of Fidel Castro. But there is also a double meaning, since “Caballo” is also a popular reference to Castro.

After that, “Boring Home,” a fifth book that he was set to publish, never did. Friends of his relayed “Sicilian messages” — word from officials — that he would never publish again. Instead, he took to blogging, which led to him to posting photos online, too. He had long been shooting with an old Russian film camera and for a while worked as a photographer for movies and television. By 2009, he had set up two of his own blogs.

Cubans on the island have limited Internet access, but that’s not the case overseas. On his photo blog, “Boring Home Utopics,” Mr. Pardo Lazo has fielded “commissions” from Cubans living overseas who were aching to see old neighborhoods, parks and in one couple’s case, a church where they had been married before going into exile. Mr. Pardo Lazo said he did more than 40 of these assignments, each time trying to conjure the emotions that had been felt there decades earlier.

“I tried to feel in myself their feelings and what they had once seen there,” he said. “Here was a chance to capture that. But those letters broke my heart.”

“Here are the stones thrown at me when they left,” the old man said.

Mr. Pardo Lazo now sees his blog as a bridge, one built image by image, step by step. His images are often abstract, and there are only a few with people. In some cases, the vastness of the sea overwhelms the crowds that line the streets or plazas. Some have a sly humor, others an abstract beauty. Birds flit freely through the skies, while rafters bounce on a horizonless sea. He hopes the pictures start a conversation, especially when a reader sees something that he missed.

“I have my own interpretation but I don’t write it,” he said. “It can be read in different ways. Little by little, you create a new reader who understands the codes of silence, of nostalgia for Cuba. I’d like to get away from the black-and-white pictures of Cuba. I’m interested in art, not pamphleteering.”

Still, he and other independent bloggers have not escaped the scorn of Raul Castro’s government and its supporters. When he organized the country’s first independent photo festival, a pro-government blog accused him of wanting to present an image of the country that would make it ripe for a foreign intervention. The same blog ridiculed his and Ms. Sanchez’s participation in recent academic conferences in the United States, saying they had no academic credentials.

While the current generation of bloggers has mostly escaped the fate that befell independent journalists who were tried and given long sentences in 2003 (but since pardoned), their work brings routine harassment with short-term detentions. Mr. Pardo Lazo said that before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in March 2012, his cellphone was cut off and he was brought in to a police station for several days.

“Raul has found ways to repress and harass these people without leaving an illegal mark or any legal trace,” said Ted Henken, a Baruch College professor who has written about the Cuban blogosphere. “His policy is a constant wave of arrests and detentions often without any charges to prevent people from attending events or to terrorize people and have them re-evaluate the costs of being involved in this.”

Mr. Pardo Lazo resists any easy categorization. Rangy and longhaired, wrapped in an overcoat with a flowing scarf, he looks more like a hippie than a dissident. Like with his pictures, read into him what you will.

“Those pictures are like a probe,” he said. “You put it out there and the exiles know what it is, even if they don’t know what I’m saying. The politicians think it’s more of the same about dissidence and that the city is falling apart. Fine. But I’m beyond that. Maybe it’s just about the light and the shadow.”


Follow @dgbxny and @nytimesphoto on Twitter. Lens is also on Facebook.

Chess Life, Agosto 2017

CARO KHAN DEFENSE

White: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (1436)

Black: Matthew Manley (1525)

Missouri Open Championship, Sunday December 11th 2016,

Saint Louis Chess Club, Missouri.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3

Inaccurate. This early move of King’s Knight only favors the development of Black’s Bishop to g4. It is better 5. Be3.

5. … cd 6. cd Bf5

Second best. 6. … Bg4 is preferable.

7. Qb3 Rb8

The development of Black’s Queen to d7 seems more natural here.

8. Nc3 e6 9. Be2 Nge7 10. Bg5

White’s reluctance to position his Queen’s Bishop on e3 soon will turn it into a “piece of driftwood” for a long stretch of moves. GM Yasser Seraiwan was critical of my choice, insisting that 10. Be3, reinforcing the d4-Pawn, was the right square for this Bishop.

10. … h6 11. Bh4?

Misplacing the Bishop. Again, best was 11. Be3.

11. … a6

Black hesitates too much about launching the initiative right away on the King’s side. With 11. … g5 12 Bg3 Bg7, Black pieces stand well on the board.

12. 0-0 Qc7

Certainly 12. … g5 13. Bg3 g4 could lead to complications of the kind 14. Nh4 Nd4 15. Qa4+ Nec6 16. Nf5 Nf5 17. Qg4 h5, with sharp play.

13. Qd1 Ng6 14. Bg3

White’s Bishop has been finally forced to a passive position where it is ineffective. It’s the price of White’s arbitrary playing this opening.

14. … Be7 15. Rc1 Qd8

Probably motivated by a concern about the imminent advance of White Pawn to h4 and then h5, rather than with the presence of White’s Rook in the open c file.

16. Bd3 Bd3

Black could have decided to finally pin my King’s Knight with 16. … Bg4.

17. Qd3 0-0 18. Ne2 Nb4

A untimely maneuver. It was better to play the Queen to b6 first.

19. Qb1 Qd7 20. a3 Nc6 21. Rc3

Too slow and lacking an effective plan, beyond doubling the rooks. A superior option was 21. h4 h5 22. Nf4, bringing White’s pieces into life.

21. … Rfc8 22. Rfc1 Na5 23. b4?

Anything but this pawn weakening, giving away a very strong outpost for Black’s Knight. Both 23. Nd2 or 23. h4 were better by far.

23. … Nc4 24. R1c2 b5

This good move could have waited. Instead, 24. … a5 at once puts pressure on White’s Queen side.

25. Qc1 Rc6

At this point 25. … a5 is stronger. And then White would be very uncomfortable after 26. Rb3 Qa7 27. Nc3 a4 28. Rb1 Bg5, when Black is for choice.

26. h4

At last!

26. … Qd8

Better was 26. … h5.

27. h5 Nh4 28. Qf4?!

White insists on keeping his septic Bishop bored on g3. Surprisingly enough, this very Bishop is about to become the protagonist of White’s resurrection in the King’s side.

28. … Nf3+ 29. Rf3 Qe8

29. … Qf8 was more precise.

30. Qc1

White should have rather played 30. Rcc3 in order to keep pressure on the King’s side, while avoiding Black’s potential strike of Ne5.

30. … Rbc8 31. Rfc3 f5?

A serious misunderstanding of the position. Still 31. … a5 was the best choice.

32. Bf4

Tempting the Black Queen to…

32. … Qh5

…accept White’s Pawn sacrifice.

33. Rh3 Qf7 34. Bh6!

This is the same Bishop that was ostracized until a couple of moves ago! Black most likely was not expecting a second sacrifice. He reacted without exploiting the best resources of the sudden new scenario.

34. … Bf8

Black’s tactical strike of 34. … Ne5! was now a must, in order to stop White’s pressure. A likely continuation could be 35. Rc6 Rc6 36. Qf4 Ng6 37. Qb8+ Qf8 38. Qg3, when White has some compensation for the lost Pawn. (Confession: during the game I missed this tactic but, luckily for me, my opponent missed it too.)

35. Qg5 R6c7?

It was Black’s last opportunity to counterplay with 35. … Ne5, followed by 36. Rxc6 Nxc6 37. Qg3 Be7 38. Bg5 Bxg5 39. Qxg5 Qf6 40. Qh5, once again with some compensation for my lost Pawn.

36. Nf4 Be7?

This can only makes matters worse for Black.

37. Qg7+

Taking advantage of Black’s now unprotected Pawn on e6.

37. … Qg7 38. Bg7 Rc6

Too passive for the storm that is approaching. I expected Black to capture at once with the King: 38. … Kg7 39. Ne6+ Kg8 40. Nc7 Rc7. 41. Rf3, with advantage for White.

39. Rcc3!

A prosaic line was 39. Ng6 Bd8 40. Bf6, rescuing my Bishop and continuing the initiative. However, I chose the text because I was attracted to the idea of launching my rooks into a mating attack.

39. … Kg7

Accepting White’s Bishop at this point is suicidal for the Black King. The correct move was 39. … Bg5!, after which I intended the wild variant 40. Ne6+ Re6 41. Rh8+ Kg7 42. Rc8, where I quite fancy my chances.

40. Rcg3+ Kf7 41. Rh7+ Ke8 42. Rg8+ Kd7 43. Rgg7

Nearly ten moves later, I have achieved the ideal position I had hoped with the Bishop sacrifice on h6. We were both now in time trouble.

43. … Re8 44. Ng6! Na3 

The alternative for Black was 44. … Nd2 45. Nxe7 Rc1+ 46. Kh2 Kd8 47. Ng8 Nf1+ 48. Kh3 and then Nf6, which will secure White’s victory anyway. The option 44. … Kd8 can be met with 45. Nd7 Rc7 46. Nf5! Rg7 47. Ng7.

45. Ne7

Black’s position is already hopeless.

45. … Re7

If 45. … Rc1+, then 46. Kh2 Kd8 47. Ng8 Kc8 48. Ra7 Kb8 49. Rhb7+ Kc8 50. Ne7+, where Black is forced to give the exchange anyway.

46. Re7+ Kd8 47. Reg7

Black resigns. Checkmate cannot be stopped.