Enrique and a certain Jape

We already know that these days the centenary of the birth of the illustrious son of Quemado de Guines is being celebrated. From the popular, authentic and famous Cuban named Enrique Nunez Rodriguez. To be more precise, Enrique was born on May 13, 1923, that is, several days have passed since that date passed, but, as the president of Casa de las Americas, Abel Prieto, a colleague who fought a thousand battles and dear friend, points out the famous humorist: “This is not just a day, this is a day of memory and reverence.”

For the youngest, those who, for many reasons, do not know who Nunez Rodriguez was, in a few words and in the way that some summaries of his track record show, I will tell you that: “He was a natural communicator, a genuine Creole , deep intellectual and talented artist. Writer, screenwriter for radio and television, playwright and comedian. 2001 National Humor Award, People’s Hero of Labor. Member of the National Assembly of People’s Power and Vice President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, among many other awards and distinctions.

But these are only words and data, because for those who knew Enrique personally, it was incalculable. Maybe that’s why in these days of endless wanderings (as it should be) hundreds of fairy tales, stories, incredible anecdotes, full of jokes and inevitable laughter are heard … with this modest and gentle person who unconsciously influenced my professional development, like others great figures of Cuban culture.

Some time ago I worked as a cultural journalist for a daily rebellious youthwithout losing touch with the Center for the Promotion of Humor and its famous Aquelarre National Festival. By the way, Enrique was one of the most important intellectuals who supported the creation and existence of this institute of humorists.

These were the days when the 2001 National Humor Award was being prepared. Enrique was among the nominees and I went to interview him for a little newspaper and take some pictures overlooking the spots announcement of the expected prize.

I waited for a long time at the entrance to his office until he let me in. With all the kindness in the world, he apologized and told me that he was reviewing some book projects for Unión by Uneac. I’ve posted files with some of my texts of that time, published in I stopped and Pallas, and asked:

– A lot of humor? and he answered almost casually:

“Not much, but I saw something there that could be salvaged from a certain Jape.”

I didn’t comment on anything out of respect, ethics, modesty… I don’t know. The truth is that I felt great joy and pride when I heard this comment about my lyrics, delivered by none other than the voice of Enrique Nunez Rodriguez, one of the most knowledgeable and authoritative people on the subject in Cuba.

I did my job, which I enjoyed very much between revelry and revelations, since I did not consider myself the winner of the said award, and I left the house of Cuban artists and writers happier than a worm. A few days later, when my journalistic note had already come out and spots On TV, I meet Enrique at Uneac and he greets me warmly. Then he asks me: are you Jape from rebellious youth? I nodded my head, and he, smiling broadly, said to me:

“How good, and how good, that I didn’t speak ill of you!” – and we dissolved in sincere and unforgettable laughter.

Nunez Rodriguez, due to his status as an excellent humorist and great friend, was closely associated with the graphic comedians of the Island. In this photo, he sits next to a personal caricature dedicated to him by our Thomas Rodriguez Zayas (TOMI) on the occasion of one of his birthdays, which we we celebrate in DDT, an appendix to the newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

Photo: Angel Baldrich

Enrique, Janler and Pedro Mendez. Photo: courtesy of Lupe Castillo

With part of the staff of the humorous publication Villa Clara Melaito, Manuel de DDT and their relatives. Photo: courtesy of Lupe Castillo

I saw Pedro Mendez.

In one of the many appropriations LAZ.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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