The Miami Herald
September 29, 2000

Final farewell to Cuban poet

 El Nuevo Herald

 Relatives and friends of Heberto Padilla bade farewell to the Cuban poet, praising
 the social and literary contributions of ``his impatience and his song.''

 The words, by Padilla himself, appeared in Out of the Game, the collection of
 poems that earned him the wrath of the Cuban government in 1968.

 Under a torrential rain, Padilla, who died this week at age 68, was buried at noon
 Thursday at Miami Memorial Park in the presence of about 40 people, including
 his children and siblings.

 One of the numerous flower arrangements outlined the island of Cuba in white
 roses, a reminder that the exiled poet once wrote that ``I live in Cuba. I've always
 lived in Cuba. Those years of wandering throughout the world are my lies, my

 ``Heberto Padilla always has been the most lucid voice of our generation,''
 journalist Carlos Verdecia, a close friend of the poet since their days in Cuba, told
 the mourners.

 Without intending to make history, ``Padilla's talent and voice shook the
 foundations of a merciless regime,'' Verdecia said, alluding to the repercussions
 of Out of the Game.

 The book, which won the 1968 National Award for Poetry, was harshly criticized
 by the regime of Fidel Castro. Padilla then became the target of official
 harassment and was imprisoned in 1971. He came to the United States in 1980.

 ``His name entered the universal conscience as the expression of freedom that
 every honest man carries within himself,'' Verdecia said.

 Paraphrasing the poem The Hour, which appears in Out of the Game, Verdecia
 said that ``not everything was futile'' in Padilla's challenge to the revolution and
 that ``his impatience and his song made sense.''

 Before the burial, a Mass was said in Padilla's memory at the Church of the Little
 Flower in Coral Gables.

 Thursday in Cuba, the official press published the government's first reaction to
 Padilla's death. ``Although his work as a poet is important, he gained international
 notoriety through the propaganda-laden manipulation of his counterrevolutionary
 position,'' said the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth).