Two friends who passed away: Enrique Saínz and Jorge Lozano

Two friends who passed away: Enrique Saínz and Jorge Lozano
Fecha de publicación: 
25 May 2022
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Perhaps they were never introduced to each other. No doubts, both were different and their intellectual interests did not match. But their Cuban roots (not Cuban identity) is wide and both were passionate defenders of the Cuban culture.

They were exceptional conversationalists, learned people in their field. But Enrique Saínz was more personal and ironic (his field of action was poetry), unable to improvise a public speech. When I went to work at the Institute of Literature and Linguistic back in 1985, right after I concluded my social service, he became one of my mentors; at least that is the way I saw him. He was already a master, a renowned critic and researcher. Ten years of permanent learning in the preparation of a monumental History of Cuban Literature whose volume devoted to the neocolonial republic was under his guidance. But I loved listening to him talking about worldly things. I even liked to provoke him; his skeptical, quizzical, but wise and harmless look (he was a kind man) was like a magnet. When he smiled, his ablaze eyes caught the attention of every conversational partner.

Our paths later diverged, but we used to meet each, luckily for me, on the streets of Vedado, where he lived for most of his life. So, we stopped our plans and standing on the sidewalk, we used to talk about the human and the divine, we would tell each other gossip and we would also talk about love —he was in love with love—, in its most sublime and carnal forms.

The last time I saw him was near H Park, about a month ago; I last saw him near H Park, about a month ago; he told me that he had been admitted to a Catholic Nursing Home, where he was treated wonderfully and he did not have to buy or cook food for him.

Jorge Juan Lozano Ross was also a born conversationalist, but when he lowered his voice, it meant he was conspiring: he grabbed my arm tightly, and stared at me with his eyes, making me an accomplice, a participant, in his imaginary and real «secret society» of Martians committed to the salvation of the nation. He was an overwhelming speaker, capable of drawing the attention of multitudes with his verb, but he did not play with words, he built concepts; his philosophical training and his intelligence bequeathed us surprising insights into the subject matter, which he later did not know how to put on paper.

Lozano, like Leal, was a public speaker, not a writer. His passion made him look excessive; he was a Quixote of the word, and just like the Cervantes’ character, some unbelievers judged him sarcastically. They were not tall enough to see. He left a deep mark on his students, on his friends. Hopefully some of his interventions can be transcribed and collected in a book. We owe it to each other. He was also in love with love.

On May 20th and 21st, these friends passed away. We just got a little distracted, and they are gone. May posterity welcomes you two.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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