Arthur Miller, William Styron meet with Cuban opposition leader
HAVANA (AP) – American literary giants Arthur Miller and William Styron met Friday with a leading Cuban human rights activist to hear his views on civil liberties in the communist country and to discuss simmering Cold War hostilities that keep their countries apart.
”The most relevant thing about their visit was that it signified human support for what we are doing here,” Elizardo Sanchez, president of the non-governmental Cuban Commission of Human Rights and Reconciliation, told Associated Press Television News.
Sanchez said he gave Miller, Styron and other members of their group his view of human rights in Cuba, including what he says is an increase in politically motivated arrests.
Sanchez, among Cuba’s best known government opponents, said he and his visitors agreed that a normalization of relations between Havana and Washington could ultimately help ease the pressure the government here places on its opponents.
The Americans did not comment on their visit with Sanchez.
However, earlier in the day, Miller told APTN during a stroll through Old Havana that he thought an end to the four-decade U.S. trade embargo against the island nation could help open Cuban society.
”I do think it’s time,” said Miller. ”We would help them regain their standing in the world and it could lead to a freer society if we just didn’t cut them off this way.”
Styron expressed similar views, saying that he hoped the trade embargo would be dropped in the next four or five years.
During the trip, which began Wednesday, the writers are to meet Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly. They also are meeting with Cuban writers, playwrights and actors before returning to the United States on Sunday.
On Thursday night they dined with Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Miller was accompanied by his wife, photographer Inge Morath.
The 85-year-old playwright is probably best known for the Pulitzer-Prize winning ”Death of a Salesman” and Tony-Award winning ”The Crucible,” which looked at anti-Communist witchhunts in the United States during the Cold War.
Cubans especially remember Miller as a former husband of the late actress Marilyn Monroe.
Styron came with his wife, poet Rosa Styron. The 75-year-old novelist is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ”The Confessions of Nat Turner,” as well as ”Sophie’s Choice.”