Carlos Alberto Montaner, a writer who fled Cuba shortly after the Communist revolution, then worked as one of the people who opposed the Castro government, died on June 29 at his home in Madrid. He was 80 years old.
His son, Carlos, confirmed the death, due to euthanasia. Mr. Montaner was suffering from neurodegenerative disease, a neurological disease similar to Parkinson’s.
In a published section Four days after his death, Mr. Montaner thanked Spain for allowing a person to take his own life if he suffered from an incurable disease. “I fulfill my wish to die in Madrid,” he wrote. “I still enjoy expressing my will.”
Throughout his career as a writer, columnist and political commentator, Mr. Montaner has been known as an outspoken critic of the Castro regime and a defender of traditional rights.
“He was the person who could articulate the hopes, aspirations, frustrations and feelings of the Cuban refugees better than anyone else,” Ricardo Herrero, director of the nonprofit Cuba Study Group, said in a phone interview.
Although Montaner considered himself a bit of a leftist in politics, he was embraced by anti-Communists in the United States and Europe. Like them, he saw the situation in Cuba as part of the international conflict between authoritarian regimes and democratic regimes.
“We must tell countries and democracies that we all share responsibility with countries and groups that are suffering from the consequences of brutality,” he said. 2011 interview and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
He regularly wrote for conservative think-tanks such as The Wall Street Journal, and was a close friend of Latin American intellectuals, such as the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. He was also a commentator for CNN en Español and a regular contributor to The Miami Herald.
He was frequently criticized by Cuban exiles to his right, especially in 2020, when he endorsed Joe Biden for president and wrote Spanish-language ads that refuted what many Cuban Americans said, that Mr. Biden was a socialist. .
Montaner was also disgusted by the left. Castro’s government has long accused him of being a tool of the CIA, a charge repeated by left-wing critics.
Mr. Montaner has written more than 25 books, including five books and a 2019 memoir, “Sin Ir Más Lejos,” which was published in English that year as “Without Passing.”
In books like “Perromundo” (1972), translated as “Dog Country,” he often talks about the themes of slavery and the choices people face in the web of brutal oppression. His groundbreaking work expressed opposition to the traditional Latin American leftist vision of a region under the thumb of the United States.
One of his most famous books is the “Manual of the Perfect Latin American Idiot,” written in 1996 by Alvaro Vargas Llosa and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza.
“A complete idiot,” the trio wrote, “leaving us in the poverty of the third world and behind with its vast array of doctrines presented as truth.”
Carlos Alberto Montaner Suris was born in Havana on April 3, 1943. His father, Ernesto, was a journalist; his mother, Manola (Suris) Montaner, was a teacher.
When Fidel Castro led the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista’s government in 1959, Carlos was initially a strong supporter. But soon he rebelled against Communism and joined the anti-Castro rebels.
He was arrested in 1960. Since he was 17 years old, the government put him in a juvenile detention center, from which he escaped in early 1961.
He fled to the Honduran embassy, where he stayed for several months, along with 125 other people who did not oppose him. Then, in September 1961, he boarded a plane to Miami.
Mr. Montaner studied Puerto Rican American literature at the University of Miami. After graduating in 1963, he taught American literature at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.
In 1970 he moved to Madrid, and in 1972 he founded a publishing house, Editorial Player. He kept his home in Spain but returned frequently and for long periods to Miami, especially when his career as a political writer began.
Mr. Montaner was not a bomber, which resulted what happened in 1990 is well known. After appearing on a Univision news program, she said that the reason why Puerto Ricans found poverty in the United States was that there were “many single women” who “try to escape poverty by getting help.”
More than a dozen Puerto Rican groups petitioned Univision to leaving Mr. Montaner, even after he apologized. The news did not please him, but El Diario, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, dropped the story.
He married Linda Periut in 1959. Along with his son, he is survived by his daughter, Gina; brother, Ernesto; and three grandchildren.
Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s main supporter, in 1991 and Castro’s death in 2016 failed to remove the country’s Communist government, Montaner continued to hold out hope for democratic change on the island.
At the same time, he realized that his many years of hope had left him homeless, unable to put down roots in Miami or Madrid while waiting to return to Havana.
“Don’t do what I did,” he said in an interview with the PanAm Post website in 2020. “In wanting to return to my country, because of the certainty that my return was close, I never tried to get used to the countries where I live.”