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Warhol P: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

Cuba: “Socialism Yes, Homophobia No”

May 22, 2014 | Print Print |

Warhol P

Photo: paquitodecuba.com

HAVANA TIMES — On Saturday, May 10, the seventh rally against homophobia took place in Cuba. I arrived at Havana’s ocean drive very early in the morning to witness the much-awaited event and to join the many gays, lesbians, transvestites, transsexuals and others who participated.

I believe all of us, no matter what we are like, are ultimately just that: people who have different sexual preferences and ways of dressing.
During the march, I saw a number of people holding up signs with slogans in support of the rally. They showed phrases such as “I am transsexual and like it,” “I am gay and my family loves me just the way I am,” “I love my son and respect diversity,” “My daughter is bisexual and I love her,” and others.

They were all written in the style of a music video by a band called Camila, which I’ve seen a number of times on TV. What struck me was that, on this occasion, I didn’t see anyone in the crowd holding up a sign demanding the legalization of same-sex marriages or the right of such couples to adopt children.

The other thing that struck me was that, at no point during the activities held Havana’s Pabellon Cuba later, did Mariela Castro say anything about those issues. She looked tired, uninterested in reading her speech and set on being diplomatic so as not offend anyone.

I have always sympathized with Mariela Castro. I know she does what she can for the LGTB movement in Cuba and takes things as far as they can go, or as far as they let her take them. She is a humble, well-tempered woman who conveys both confidence and self-assurance.

Something I still don’t understand is why they insist on linking the issue of homosexuality with politics. During the march, people shouted “socialism yes, homophobia no” in unison countless times. Of course, there was no shortage of the habitual “Long live Fidel and Raul!”

To top things off, Mariela availed herself of the situation to talk about the Cuban Five (who are no longer really five, but three).

There was no need to throw this into the mix that day. Everyone knows that there are many forums in Cuba devoted to the cause of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States. Cuban television airs spots on the issue every day, and the news sometimes even hammer their case.

Our radio also divulges news about the Five and expresses the country’s wish that they return to Cuba soon.

I want the remaining prisoners to be freed as soon as possible also. However, what doesn’t quite fit into the way I see things is mixing the issue of homophobia with politics.

What’s more, neither Rene Gonzalez nor Fernando Gonzalez, two of the Five who have been released and are back in Cuba, were present at Pabellon Cuba to show support for either our cause or theirs, which amounts to offering the remaining prisoners moral support. We were offered no explanation as to the reasons for their absence. Nor do we know how the Five view the LGTB movement.

I can’t imagine anyone in New York (to mention one example) yelling something like “Capitalism yes, homophobia no!”, much less “Long live Obama!”, during Gay Pride Day. Perhaps that could happen, everything is possible, but I still wouldn’t understand it.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    Warhol wrote,

    “Something I still don’t understand is why they insist on linking the issue of homosexuality with politics. During the march, people shouted “socialism yes, homophobia no” in unison countless times. Of course, there was no shortage of the habitual “Long live Fidel and Raul!”

    To top things off, Mariela availed herself of the situation to talk about the Cuban Five (who are no longer really five, but three).”

    Now you see why a Castro has been placed at the head of the LGBTQ movement in Cuba. You & your friends are being used to “pink wash” the regime. To make it look nice & progressive & accepting to gullible foreigners.

    To quote another slogan, “Everything inside the revolution, nothing outside the revolution.”

    • Moses Patterson

      Have you ever heard the widely-known whisper in Cuba that Raul Castro is in the closet? That is the reason his nickname in the street is “La China”. It is said that in his youth during the Sierra Maestra campaign, it was widely known. But by 1959, Fidel decided it would be best to quiet the rumors and a marriage was arranged and eventually children born of that marriage. Mariela is simply acting out on a private and hidden passion of her father. At the risk of being accused of passing salacious and unproven rumors, it is also widely believed that an early and longtime “friend” of Raul was Soviet KGB agent Nikolai Leonov whom you have correctly identified as a former boss and adviser to Putin.

      • Griffin

        I have heard the rumours that Raul is “a little light in his army boots”.

        I didn’t know that about his warm friend “Niki” from the KGB, but it makes sense. An added bit of camp irony: when Nikolai Leonov travelled to Havana after the triumph of the Revolution, he presented that arch-homophobe, Che Guevara, with a Russian made target pistol. Who says KGB agents don’t have a sense of humour?

  • Walter Teague

    Warhol P, having been in literally 100’s of demonstrations in New York City, let me address your question. First, NYC has demonstration of all flavors, but even though it is the heart of capitalism, very few praising it directly. Maybe because we all know it is a bit embarrassing to brag about being greedy. Now demonstrations praising gay rights have become more popular over the years and you might be sursprised to know that they often include other linked issues, like ending wars and occasionally even praising a few of the more romantic leaders. Now Obama has enjoyed a period of praise in many demonstrations, but lately that has now gotten more reserved with the dissappointments and continued drone attacks. Basically, NYC like most places has its own complicated politics. My hope is that Cuba and NYC keep up the good fights each deserves.

    • Moses Patterson

      Capitalism does not need its own demonstration because in the US, capitalism suffers no disadvantages. Demonstrations are held to bring attention to issues. There is nothing “embarrassing” about capitalism. On the contrary, it is usually the socialists who feel the need to hide their imported wines, thick steaks, Ferraris and designer clothes. And no, I am not just talking about the Castro clan at Punto Cero but all socialists in Cuba at the top of the food chain.

  • CUBAQUS

    In the past it was “Stalinism, yes Gays, no” with the incarceration of thousands of gay people in the infamous UMAP concentration camps of the Castro regime.
    Now it is”Stalinism, Yes. Let’s do some window-dressing.”