Although Padilla initially supported the revolution led by Fidel Castro, by the late 1960s he began to criticize it openly. A worldwide controversy was sparked when Padilla was placed under house arrest for "subversive writing" because of the verses in his award-winning 1968 anthology Fuera del Juego (Out Of The Game) that expressed dissatisfaction with the Castro regime. In 1971, Padilla was imprisoned by the regime. His son, Ernesto Padilla, was born in 1972.
In 1979, Cuza Malé and their young son were allowed to go into exile in the U.S.. Heavy international pressure and widespread criticism of the regime by international writers finally led to the release of Padilla the following year, 1980. He joined his family in Princeton, New Jersey and taught at [[New York University for several years. Anti-Castro Writer Heberto Padilla, 68, Dies / The Washington Post. He published his only novel, En mi jardín pastan los héroes in 1984, about the life of writers in Castro's Cuba, followed in 1990 by the publication of his memoir La mala memoria about Padilla's life in Cuba under Castro. After divorcing Belkis Cuza he lectured at various universities and traveled widely with companion Lourdes Gil, also a Cuban writer. He died on September 24, 2000, while teaching at Auburn Univrsity in Alabama]], U.S.A.