August 5, 2003 by

Nicolás Guillén Landrián


Categories: Artists

Nicolás Guillén Landrián, a painter and Cuban filmmaker who was once accused of trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, died on July 22 from pancreatic cancer. He was 65.
Although Guillén directed 18 documentaries and won several awards at film festivals in Europe, he was expelled from Cuba’s Institute of Cinematography for making a movie that mocked the Cuban dictator. In the late 1960s, Guillén was accused of plotting to kill Castro. He was imprisoned for two years, then confined for nearly a decade to mental institutions where he was subjected to electroshock therapy.
Guillén left Cuba in 1989, moved to South Florida and became a painter. His artwork was exhibited at the former Cuban Museum of Art to sell-out crowds. But when he ran out of money, Guillén refused to take an ordinary job. Instead, he and his wife, Grettel Alfonso, ended up living on the streets. They bounced around the country, struggling to survive in dilapidated hotels.
Guillén eventually returned to Miami to produce the documentary, “Inside Downtown,” a 30-minute look at homelessness. It was released last year.

7 Responses to Nicolás Guillén Landrián

  1. Lillian

    Nicolas Guillen Landrian was a good friend of my fathers. They grew up together in cuba and I can remember my father telling me stories of them when they were children. As soon I he arrived in Miami, my father took him and his wife, Grettel into our home. Although Nicolas was not mentally stable, due to the electroshock, he and his wife were very humble people. She supported him 100%. I was very young when he came into my life. He drew pictures of me and my siblings with our markers. It was great. He will be missed.

  2. luisa

    Nicolacito como lo conociamos familiarmente ,fue victima de su propia locura, a la cual tambien sumo a su esposa Gretel Alfonso Fuentes. Fue muy dificil tratar de ayudarlos porque no se dejaban.
    Lo triste de esta situacion fue el abuso y el ventagismo del cual fueron victimas, por manos de aquellos que sabian el precio y el valor de sus obras y fueron tan ruines de comprarlas por centavos y por lo que realmente valian.grtel para su informacion hoy se recupera felizmente en manos de su familia en cuba , la cual sufria mucho por toda la situacion en que vivian en este pais

  3. Danny

    I am the nephew of Gretel Alfonso, if someone needs informations about her life so ask me please.
    she´s living fine in cuba with my family.

    Soy el sobrino de Gretel Alfonso, cuando alguien falta informacion de ellos puede ponerse en contacto conmigo.
    Ella se vive bien con mi familia en cuba.


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