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Santiago, Héctor | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Santiago, Héctor


Historical Note:

Héctor Santiago Armenteros Ruiz is a versatile artist who was involved in theater in Cuba, before and after the Cuban Revolution, and in the United States. He worked as an actor, playwright, director, choreographer, dancer, and puppeteer.  Santiago was born in Havana, Cuba in 1944. He graduated from the Cuban National Dramatist School after studying literature at the University of Havana. In 1959, he co-founded the Children’s Theatrical Movement in Cuba. The writer Virgilio Piñera was his intimate friend and his literature professor throughout those active years.

In 1965, Santiago was accused of antisocial behavior.  Five years later he was arrested and his literary works seized by the government.  The artist was sentenced to three years service in UMAP (Military Units to Aid Production), which was a type of Cuban forced labor camp where political dissidents were made to work in inhumane conditions.  In 1979, he left Cuba for Spain.  Santiago was eventually able to move to New York, where he resides today.

Santiago has been active in promoting HIV awareness in New York City.  He has shown a strong desire to portray the social and human impacts of the disease, as it was a theme in his plays throughout the 1980s.  He once said, “As a human being, I have tried to bring light to these dark times and unflaggingly struggled so that man does not become man’s wolf.”

Many of his plays have been performed in Cuba and in the United States.  His short stories, essays, and plays have been published and translated into English, French and Catalan. His play Vida y Pasión de la Peregrina (Life and Passion of the Pilgrim) was the winner of the Golden Letters Award from the University of Florida, and the world premiere took place during the Miami International Theatre Festival in 1998.

Note Author: Marta Martínez and Rachel Ewy






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