The Miami Herald
March 23, 2000
President of Cuba's film institute retiring

 From Herald Wire Services

 HAVANA -- Alfredo Guevara, a leading figure in Cuban culture, resigned his post
 as head of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry (ICAIC), to
 take up ``international tasks related to culture,'' the Cuban government announced

 A two-paragraph note in the Communist Party daily Granma said that, at
 Guevara's request, President Fidel Castro ``has relieved him of his duties.''

 Replacing Guevara, 74, will be poet Omar Gonzalez, president of the Cuban Book
 Institute. Gonzalez, in turn, will be replaced by Iroel Sanchez Espinoza, director
 of the Abril publishing house.

 At a press conference, Guevara said he is resigning to engage in ``activities of a
 practical and intellectual nature. I need to express myself and find ways to tell my

 He said he is working on a book and several other literary projects about the
 history of the Cuban Revolution.

 Among the first well-known Cuban intellectuals to embrace socialism after the
 1959 revolution, Guevara was a defender of the country's artists who criticized
 Cuban society while still remaining respectful of its Communist system.

 Guantanamera, a 1995 Cuban film that poked fun at the absurdities suffered by a
 family arranging a relative's funeral, typified that philosophy. The film was
 criticized three years later in a lengthy speech by Castro.

 Guevara was president of ICAIC for 22 years after the institute's creation in 1959
 but left to serve as Cuba's delegate to UNESCO for 10 years. Then Castro
 summoned him back to ICAIC's helm for the next nine years.

                     Copyright 2000 Miami Herald