Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

Discussing the Un-discussable

Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

Mi Cayito beach on the east side of Havana.  Photo: Caridad
Mi Cayito beach on the east side of Havana. Photo: Caridad

Pedro, who goes by the name “Marlen,” usually shouts the name Mariela Castro to repulse policemen along Fifth Avenue in Havana.

In this way, he/she somewhat reduces the macho harassment meted out every night against people like him -or her- unwilling to abandon their other morality despite the stumbling blocks they must endure in the environment of Cuba’s hyper-machismo.

He, or she, spent three hours in front of a mirror fixing herself up so she’d be seen as an enticing female.

“It was at the beginning of the 90s when I began to be Marlen,” Pedro told me.

“The police could mistreat you for the fun of it; I’m telling you, just for the fun of it.  And if you made a fuss they’d accuse you of assault,” Marlen continued.  “It still happens, though it’s lessoned since divine Mariela (Castro) began protecting us.”

“Listen, it turns out that the daughter of Raul has devoted herself to us.  Everything has improved for us now; we even have a beach [called Mi Cayito] in Guanabo,” Pedro added.

Personally, I’m critical of the Cuban gay movement, which after recognizing the specific influence of its defender (the daughter of the current president of the republic, Raul Castro) permitted itself to work with her.

At the most recent gay pride parade in London, the “champion of Cuban homosexuals” in an authoritarian outburst, spoke out for those she protects proclaiming, “For the time being, there won’t be parades like this in Cuba, since our socialism seeks to be original, as do are our concepts regarding self-determination…”

Mariela Castro Espin.  Photo: Caridad
Mariela Castro Espin. Photo: Caridad

What she said only arouses horror in me, since Havana is full of gays anxious to shake their hips on downtown 23rd Street in an anticipated “Havana Gay Parade.”

I have to wonder, what would have happened with the US civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s if it had been led by a white person?  Would it have been possible for a non-Black to deliver the extraordinary “I Have a Dream” speech?

This is exactly what’s happening to the Cuban gay movement. It has ceded its potential for determination to a woman who is as heterosexual as she is powerful; someone who -beforehand- selects the changes with which she will reward the people she protects.

Until socialism addresses this great unresolved issue of “self-determination” -be it personal or of a group- it will be impossible for it to create the new culture that it has always sought.

Despite the crumbs of tolerance obtained through Mariela Castro Espin (who is also the director of the National Center for Sexual Education – CENESEX), today’s gay Cubans are going to have to wait a long time to see access to substantial rights in society.

I think that Cuban homosexuals will have to make their own decisions sooner or later, represented by someone of their community.  In my opinion, this would be the only person qualified to speak for them.

4 thoughts on “Discussing the Un-discussable

  • Sometimes I think the ‘tolerance’ for gay parades around the world has increased mainly because of business and profit. Recently, I watched a news report in TV Brasil about the gay parade in Rio where a businessman celebrated a survey that indicated that ‘homossexuals tend to buy more than heterossexuals’.

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  • !Crimminy/cripes! You think the Revolution is making such progress in overcoming cultural prejudices and parochialisms of the past when–BAM–Mariela Castro comes up with such a comment! It is as embarrasing as Ricardo Alarcon’s reply to the probing question from the student at the informatics university some years back that Cubans couldn’t travel freely abroad because– je, je, je– it would create too many traffic jams for air traffic controllers! [Maybe he was just being facetious.] Gay Pride marches are usually great fun, especially the transvestite contingents, which are like street versions of, “Project Runway.” “Top Model,” “Models of the Runway” and “Make me a Supermodel,” all reality shows to which, alas, my two adolescent daughters have become thoroughly adicted!

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  • I BELEVIE THAT IN ALL GOOD TIME THE GAY COMMUNATY OF CUBA WILL KNOW FREEDOM AND WILL BE ABBEL TO LIVE THERE HOMOSEXUALITY. I’M GOING TO CUBA TOMORROW THE 24 MAY 2010 FOR A WEEK I’M STAYING AT THE ATLANTICO REASORT IN SANTA MARIA DEL MAR NEAR THE MI CAYITO BEACH, HOPE TO MEET SOME PEOPLE ”GAY” AT THE BEACH OR AT THE HOTEL TO TALK TO FROM CUBA. / PARTY AS WELL.

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  • esa playa de mi cayito tiene el agua mas rica y caliente,ademas es una de lasmaravillas del mundo espero estar alli pronto

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