“Cuban experience” of American LGBT journalist includes a taste or repression

Surveillance on the beach

Never mind all the good press that The Booger Princess Mariela Castro receives, day in, day out.

Though the fraudulent “sexoligist” claims to be an advocate for LGBT rights in her father’s kingdom, the harsh truth is that anyone who is the least bit “different” in Castrogonia is always suspected of the crime of “potential dangerousness” — a crime that can lead to arrest and imprisonment.

An American journalist who visited Castrogonia recently discovered very quickly that Big Brother was always watching every step he took.

Like Captain Renault in the film “Casablanca,” he was shocked, shocked to discover not only that his human rights were being violated so flagrantly, but that some Cuban LGBT activists had bad things to say about King Raul and Princess Mariela.

He also learned a few other things about life in Castrogonia, and shares his insights with readers of The Washington Blade.

What he has to say will probably shock most of those readers, accustomed as they must be to all the praise routinely heaped on the Castro regime by the vast majority of American journalists.

Cuban Federation for LGBTI Rights President Nelson Gandulla

‘Experiencing Cuba’ while under government surveillance
by Michael Lavers

CAIBARIÉN Cuba — Caibarién is a town on a bay that separates it from Cayo de Santa María, which is located on Cuba’s northern coast. It’s proximity to the city of Santa Clara, which is less than an hour to the south, provided the perfect place to escape “experiencing Cuba” and all that it entails — including a flat tire and dead battery on my rental car on Thursday morning — before returning to the U.S.

The breeze that was blowing off the bay was refreshing. The fish at La Tormenta, a small restaurant on Caibarién’s beach that means “the storm” in Spanish, that I had for lunch was freshly caught and delicious. There were also no visible Cuban police officers or security agents within sight.

It became increasingly clear over the last couple of days the Cuban government decided to place me under surveillance, or at the very least knew where I was and with whom I spoke. The Cuban government will likely never confirm my suspicion if I were to ask, but coincidence is more than simple coincidence in a country with little tolerance of public criticism of the government and/or those who represent it.

Tuesday afternoon was the first time I realized the Cuban government may have decided to place me under surveillance.

I called Nelson Gandulla, president of the Cuban Federation of LGBTI Rights, an independent LGBT advocacy group, shortly after noon from the street to confirm our meeting at his home in the city of Cienfuegos that we scheduled for 3 p.m. I called Nelson from the cell phone that I bought from the state-run telecommunications company shortly after I arrived in Cuba on May 2. The conversation lasted less than two minutes and I walked back to the apartment near Santa Clara’s Parque Leoncio Vidal that I had rented on Airbnb from D.C.

I was leaving around 2 p.m. when the woman from whom I was renting the apartment told me someone from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs called and asked her whether I was a credentialed journalist. The Cuban government granted me a 20-day visa that allowed me to report on LGBT-specific issues in the country. I also received a Cuban press credential from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Press Center in Havana.

The situation clearly left the woman from whom I rented the apartment embarrassed, and I honestly felt bad the government had placed her into such an awkward position. She profusely apologized to me several times after I showed her my Cuban press credentials and assured me that I would not have any problems while staying in her family’s home. I left a few minutes later and walked to my car that was parked a couple of blocks away.

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potentially dangerous
Princesa de los Mocos