Reports from Cuba: A time that should not be forgotten

Fernando Damaso in Translating Cuba:

A Time That Should Not Be Forgotten

When I argue that the Cuban Communist Party lacks any historical endorsement for calling itself the “leading force of society and of the state,” I do so based on concrete facts of its trajectory. One of them is in reference to their current acceptance of sexual diversity.

Although, before 1959, the original Communist Party was never homophobic (it had in its ranks important figures and homosexual militants of both sexes), after 1959, with its new leadership, this liberal policy changed and it became homophobic, devoting itself to rejection, persecution and repression of homosexuals and of those who seemed to be so, in all spheres of society, beginning with the artistic and intellectual world.

Do not forget the infamous “gray decade,” where important artists and intellectuals were marginalized and repressed due to their different sexual preferences. Although, later, the blame for this was attributed to certain characters, used as “scapegoats,” these had been placed in office by the Party and the Government and, simply, they obediently executed the discriminatory policy they were ordered to apply.

The National Council of Culture, the Cuban Radio and Television Institute and the universities are good examples. But not only was the artistic and intellectual sector was affected: in workplaces, institutions of secondary and pre-university education, mass governmental organizations (the so-called current civil society), military units and, as was logical, in the Party and in the Union of Young Communists themselves, many Cubans with different sexual preferences were publicly questioned and expelled.

The Military Units in Aid of Production, the infamous UMAP, interned not only homosexuals, but also those who wore long hair, wore tight trousers or listened to the music of The Beatles, because these later behaviors were considered “attributes” of the former. Those who professed some religion also fell in the raids.

The facts are there and also the many lives destroyed. None of the primary leaders has asked for forgiveness from the Cuban people for all these barbarities.

In these critical moments the Party, unanimously, supported and executed all these arbitrary measures promulgated by its leaders, although now, also unanimously, under the influence of the daughter of the current First Secretary (Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro), it proclaims itself a defender of sexual diversity and even of marriage between persons of the same sex.

These extremist swings in its history, together with many other well-known ones, invalidate the Party establishing itself in the constitution as a “leading force of society and of the state.”

1 thought on “Reports from Cuba: A time that should not be forgotten”

  1. The Castro regime’s homophobia was selective. Homosexuals who had distinguished themselves (especially in the arts, literature and entertainment) and were known figures were not persecuted or bothered as long as they played ball with the “revolution” (in other words, as long as they could be co-opted and proved useful). Lesbians in general were never targeted, possibly because they were considered less offensive by the “macho” revolutionaries but also because of their tendency to become militant Castro partisans, particularly the notorious “milicianas.” High-level homosexuals like the late Alfredo Guevara, an important functionary in the Castro regime, were obviously aware of the official homophobia but, being excluded from it, chose to look the other way. And now, of course, for reasons of political and PR expediency and opportunism, we have Mariela Castro, the daughter of the “former” but still de facto dictator, prancing around as the godmother of “gay rights.” It’s all a very sordid business.

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