The Irony of Mariela Castro’s Visit to the United States
This week, the U.S. State Department reversed its initial rejection of Mariela Castro’s visa to travel to the United States. The purpose of the trip for Mariela, who is also Cuban dictator Raul Castro’s daughter, is to attend an LGBT conference where she is scheduled to receive an award for her work with the gay community in Cuba. All that is seemingly benign, until of course, you get to thinking why this Irony-Tour is allowed in the first place.Perhaps the height of the Irony-Tour was Ms. Castro’s visit to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. There she paid lip-service to the significance of freedom and civil rights, not only to the United States, but to the international community as well. Did she mean Cuba, too? While I don’t mean to undermine whatever work she has done in Cuba to help the condition of gays in her country – what’s the point of this visit?
If Cubans did not have Mariela Castro as an advocate for gays, what would they have? They certainly would not have the democratic avenues that exist in the United States for gays to express their political views and wield their political power. Cuban gays have no independent judiciary to challenge actions like Proposition 8 in independent Cuban courts. Also, Cuban gays have no unfettered and unregulated civil society by which to persuade their national leaders and fellow Cubans to support whatever measures the gay community considers important.
Even if Mariela were successful in achieving equality for gay Cubans on the same level as non-gay Cubans, what is the playing field we are working with? Truth is, even if gay Cubans were to achieve Mariela’s equality – all Cubans are oppressed. She should stop acting like she’s doing gay Cubans a favor. Do us all a favor Mariela, go back to Cuba and call for real equality and freedom.