Jimmy Roque Martinez

Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

Cuba’s Mariela Castro and Historical Reparations

Jimmy Roque Martínez

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From the documentary: Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution

HAVANA TIMES – The HBO documentary Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution was just screened at the Havana Film Festival, where Jon Alpert, the director, and Mariela Castro, head of the National Sexual Education Center, spoke about the film.

Castro addressed the achievements of Cuba’s LGBT community and referred to the notorious Military Production Aid Units (UMAP), labor camps administered by the Revolutionary Armed Forces between 1965 and 1968.

These camps sought to forge a “new man,” an issue addressed by the documentary.

Fidel Castro’s niece explained that the Cuban revolution was part of the world, not the planet Mars, and that, as part of the world, it was also homophobic – it was not a perfect revolution.

I concur that, at the time, homophobia was a very common phenomenon, but that does not in any way justify the creation of forced labor camps or removing people from university or their jobs because of their sexual orientation.

It’s been fifty years since the creation of the UMAP and not one of the people responsible have asked Cubans for any apologies. The highest officials behind the idea are still alive. The minister of the armed forces at the time is the country’s president today.

It’s time for them to apologize for the penalization, exclusion and punishment of thousands of Cuban homosexuals who showed an “improper conduct,” as so-called revolutionaries would say at the time.

Refusing to accept responsibility for these actions, denying us an apology and infinitely postponing the legal acknowledgment of homosexual families, as well as the homophobic Population and Housing Census of 2012, are proof of the homophobia and unrepentant attitudes of many of Cuba’s current leaders.

Where is the study we’ve been hearing about since 2011, which the CENESEX is allegedly conducting on this matter? How many people has it interviewed? Who is carrying out the research? When and where are its partial results going to be presented?

I acknowledge the work Mariela Castro has done on behalf of Cuba’s LGBT community, it would be unfair not to. But, with all due respect, we need action by civil society, a valuable and powerful force.

The declarations Fidel Castro made to the Mexican newspaper La Jornada are not enough. The people responsible must acknowledge the mistakes they made and genuinely and directly apologize to the victims and their relatives to atone for these crimes.

6 thoughts on “Cuba’s Mariela Castro and Historical Reparations

  • Very good article.
    Fidel and Raul Castro have never offered a sincere, honest apology to the victims of the UMAP of their families, even when they were the ones who ORDERED those atrocities. Fidel Castro has claimed that he was too busy, therefore not aware of what was going on. This is an irresponsable and coward response. Although Mariela Castro has taken positive steps in the defense of homosexuals in Cuba, her total subordination to the oppresive ideals of her relatives makes her unable to behave honestly. As the author says, the defense of the LGBT rights in Cuba and the claim for justice for this monitory group should come from civil society and not only from the daughter and niece of the perpetrators

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  • I don’t think that persecuted homosexuals in other countries have received reparations or apologies. For some apologies would be meaningless:
    “among 4,500 Swedes lobotomized between 1944 and 1963 were some homosexuals who were “treated” against their will.” http://articles.latimes.com/1999/nov/13/news/mn-33058

    The homosexuals who are jailed, tortured and killed in many African countries, e.g. Uganda, probably long for the persecutions to stop rather than for apologies: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-shocking-stories-of-anti-gay-persecution-in-africa.html

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  • The documentary is pure propaganda, all you gotta do is watch it, that’s all.

    Reply

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