In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
By MARCO VELÁZQUEZ CRISTO
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Undated, but posted May 14, 2019.
We denounced [the fact] that there were attempts to manipulate and use the LGBTI community to try to confront the Cuban authorities for not authorizing a march against homophobia and transphobia, at the right time.
Perhaps some skeptics thought we were exaggerating or inventing arguments to underpin such a state decision. If we consider that the aforementioned march has been organized, promoted and supported for years by the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), an institution belonging to the Ministry of Public Health whose main objectives include contributing to the recognition and guarantee of the sexual rights of the population, it makes no sense to think that the State sees it as subversive or harmful.
What happened on May 11 demonstrated the announced manipulation of an event that suffered the distortion of its humanist essence provoked by the action of the counterrevolution.
Other activities were taking place within the framework of the Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia (held since 2008 under the auspices of CENESEX). These were attended by most members of the LGBTI community, a group of people belonging to it gathered in the capital’s Central Park to force the march that had not been authorized.
The call for the march was made mainly through social networks, which were used by unscrupulous counter-revolutionary elements to manipulate and abuse the feelings of these people, encouraging them to participate in what they wanted to turn into a political provocation.
It is understandable that they managed to confuse some of them, given how sensitive they are to any manifestation of possible discrimination. An example was the ease with which they introduced the idea that it was an action of this type that some who were organized thought they were organizers. Victims of such an inhuman act of evil.
This type of action is not new. Let’s remember, for example, the march carried out a few years ago by a group of young people against violence in the world. Its ends were noble and apart from any political interest, but, what did the counterrevolution do? They sent several of their miserable elements to muddy the march, which tried to put up some poster or other with the usual lies against the Revolution, [and which] had to be taken out of the place.
The notorious mercenary Yoani Sánchez tried to put on a media show, taking advantage of the fact that it was necessary to stop her in order to prevent her from spoiling the afore-mentioned activity for the young people.
This time there were no posters because they couldn’t carry them, not because they didn’t intend to.
Another question, Who were among those who were at the head of the 11/5 [May 11] march?
Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, Who is this subject that the media call “environmental activist”? A counterrevolutionary who has participated in multiple provocations, whom they present as a great scientist, when in reality what he has done is to attribute himself to works of that character in which he had no participation, of that enough has already been written.
The links of this stateless person with the U.S. Embassy are public, being one more of the “leaders” of the “opposition”, as the counterrevolution says, that they tried to manufacture. Let’s remember Juan Carlos González, alias “Pánfilo” who, as a hardened alcoholic, they tried to transform into a “fighter” against Castroism, or that of the false “invalid poet” Armando Valladares who was neither one nor the other, etc.
Other high society counterrevolutionaries present were Ileana Hernández, Yosmany Sánchez, Yennia del Risco, Oscar Casanella and Boris González Arena, all playing a role of agitators and inciters to disobedience of the orientation that came from the authorities. All with several post-graduate and graduate degrees obtained in institutions that practice subversion against Cuba.
The goal of mounting a provocation by these elements inserted inside the participants in march referred to, to propitiate a later media show is shown by the following: The authorities, showing restraint despite, not having authorized such activity, let it develop until the end of the Paseo del Prado. There they tried to persuade the marchers that they could not continue because they were going to cause traffic jams on an important road like the Malecon, something that could even endanger their lives.
At that moment, Ruiz Urquiola together with the rest of the annexationist crew, began to instigate to continue on, trying to do it by force, defying the authorities. This provoked his arrest which he resisted mounting a show so that the media, including of course, the media team of the counterrevolution, could do what they had planned; to lie, magnify and manipulate the event to campaign against Cuba. It must be said that Urquiola committed, among others, the crime of contempt, something that is not the first time he has done so.
Some deluded people, or those who were deluded, criticize the fact that the decision was taken not to authorize a march that was known to try to manipulate the counterrevolution, which could not achieve its purposes due to the timely action of the authorities that prevented vile mercenaries from carrying out their plans.
There is the talk of repression, what does this word mean? “Action of violently repressing an uprising, a political demonstration…”, Where was the violence against the marchers? Ruiz Urquiola and others who resisted arrest were the ones who caused them to be reduced to obedience. But there is not a single image of a blow, of tear gas, a jet of water under pressure, of a wounded person, they have nothing. Because what there are images of is the authorities talking to the participants, explaining the reasons why they were not allowed to continue, trying to persuade them to abide by what they were being told, something that is not done anywhere in the world.
Something that is being ignored, only counter-revolutionary elements were arrested, whose “clean sheets of service to the empire” we will publish at another time not to make too long this post.
What has happened does not mean that the rights of the LGBTI community will be limited or that there will be a setback in the recognition of these rights. If anyone is responsible for what happened, it is the mercenaries at the service of the U.S. government who, following its instructions, tried to transform one march from noble purposes to another for political ends.
It is known that the orientation coming from Miami are: to encourage the calling of public marches with apparently innocuous motives that leave the government (they call it a regime) without arguments to prohibit them. If they do, [they want to] generate the rejection by the sectors of the population that are affected. To take advantage of those that are authorized to “denounce violations of human rights and democratic liberties.”
That is the truth. All this is inserted in an attempt to weaken the Cuban Revolution, as a way to create the conditions for a supposed scenario of the fall of chavismo, to find a divided society that makes the task of destroying the social project that takes away their sleep easier.
But they are going to be left with the desire, our people are educated, they know their Revolution and they will not be fooled.
By Manuel E. Yepe
The diplomatic headquarters was occupied by social movements to prevent the entry of staff appointed by Congressman Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself as “president in charge.”
U.S. federal agents on Monday ordered the eviction of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, which had been closed to the public and taken by U.S. activists to prevent the entry of personnel appointed by the opposition deputy Juan Guaidó, whom the White House recognizes as “president in charge” of the Caribbean country.
Since his self-proclamation, Guaidó has tried to bring into the diplomatic headquarters, a man whom Guaidó arbitrarily designated as ‘representative’ to that country, Carlos Vecchio, and Guaido’s ‘ambassador’ to the Organization of American States (OAS), Gustavo Tarre Briceño.
In a document that bears no letterhead or signature, alleged U.S. authorities urged activists to “vacate the embassy” because it should only be “used for diplomatic purposes,” while warning that otherwise, the occupants would be violating federal and local law. However, the text recognizes Vecchio and Tarre as ‘legitimate representatives’ of Caracas, even though their appointments are illegal under the Venezuelan Constitution.
The operation comes after pressure from supporters of the opposition congressman, who led the attempted coup d’état in Caracas on April 30, and after several days of protests and incidents outside the building with demonstrators in favor of President Nicolas Maduro, who tried to defend the embassy. During those events, the police arrested three people.
The social movements leading the vigil at the embassy, grouped into Collectives for Peace, made up of Popular Resistance and Code Pink, were invited by the government of Nicolás Maduro, after the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry denounced that Guaidó personnel had taken two buildings: the Venezuelan consulate in New York on April 13; and the Venezuelan office of the Military Attaché in Georgetown on March 19.
The leader of the Code Pink movement, Medea Benjamin, lamented through her Twitter account the eviction from the building. She said the movements were trying “to prevent the Venezuelan embassy from being handed over to an unelected coup leader. However, she warned that “the struggle continues.”
On April 24, it was the third month since the Venezuelan president ordered all his diplomatic personnel accredited in the U.S. to return to Caracas, following the rupture of relations between the two countries.
However, the Vienna Convention establishes the obligation of States to safeguard the facilities and assets of countries that are used for diplomatic purposes even if relations are broken off.
Manuel E. Yepe
May 15, 2019
The original source for this article is Rebelión
Copyright © Manuel E. Yepe, Rebelión, 2019
9 de Mayo del 2017 11:56:38 CDT
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Posted: Tuesday May 9, 2017 | 11:56:38 am. Updated: Friday 22 September 2017 | 12:41:44 am.
This Friday, the community of readers of Juventud Rebelde will have the opportunity to dialogue online with specialists from the Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex), about the 10th Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cenesex; Manuel Vázquez Sejido, deputy director of the center and National Coordinator of Community Social Networks; Andy Aquino Agüero, head of the Department of Community Work and director of the Transgéneros Cuba Project; Ángela L. Urquiza Ramessur, specialist in the Department of Community Work and member of the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Trans People; Yoanka Rodney, Doctor of Science and professor at the “Enrique José Varona” University of Pedagogical Sciences; Susana Hernández Martín, journalist of the Communication Department of Cenesex, Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, activist, collaborator with Cenesex and journalist of the newspaper Trabajadores, exchange with cybernauts about the prejudices that can subsist in the scenario of social learning, in the advance of public policies at the country level, and in aspects related to citizen and political opinion about the LGBT population (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals).
[Follow the publications of Mariela Castro through her official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/castroespinmariela ]
Why are schools the main scenario of this day? How can we face a situation of homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? How is it possible to strengthen the sexual education program of the country’s school system? These are some of the concerns that will be answered.
The director of our newspaper Yailín Orta welcomed them to the Cenesex team and praised the work of that center in the defense of gender equality and the promotion of the rights of LGBTI people; at the same time, she gave them a collection of books published by Juventud Rebelde.
[You can visit the CENESEX accounts on Facebook and Twitter for more information on this day]
Joel García: What do you think has been Cenesex’s greatest achievement in this decade? What has been its greatest unfulfilled goal?
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: I consider that the main achievement of Cenesex in this decade, in terms of confronting homophobia and transphobia, would be the placement of the topic in public debate. [It has brought about] a change in the perception of a significant part of our population that now assumes as an anti-value, that is, something negative and socially repudiable, the fact of being a homophobic or transphobic person. This is palpable even among individuals who still harbor prejudices toward sexual orientations and gender identities that do not conform to the heterosexist norm. They have begun to express more tolerant attitudes that, over time, could evolve toward full acceptance and respect for sexual diversity. The great objective that has not been achieved would be to make more concrete these advances in terms of greater political and social consensus on the need to confront discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. [To achieve this] all the legal norms and public policies are still required so that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people can enjoy the same rights as the rest of the Cuban people.
Juan Carlos Ramírez: How can you find out about the things Cenesex does outside of the days against homophobia? Do you have your own channel of communication? I want to be an activist, to help.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: In addition to all the information it disseminates on its institutional website www.cenesex.org, Cenesex develops a broad and systematic relationship with the media that requests the participation of its specialists in radio and television programs and specialized pages of the print media, for the approach and dissemination of all the actions of the National Education and Sexual Health Program.
It also has the Cenesex publishing imprint, which publishes numerous scientific publications during the year, as well as the magazine Sexología y Sociedad, with academic approaches to the multiple topics studied by the institution.
In terms of activism, there are currently six community social networks linked to Cenesex: the TransCuba network of trans people and their families; the lesbian and bisexual women’s network; the Humanity for Diversity network; the youth network for sexual health and rights; the network of jurists for sexual rights; and the network of social workers. Most of them have groups or individuals who collaborate or participate in their work in various territories of the country, not only in the capital.
These social networks linked to Cenesex promote, throughout the year, a great number of training and interaction actions with the community. They have great autonomy in their activist work, based on work objectives and specific operating principles for each case. We invite you to visit us and inquire about the contents addressed by each network, to integrate and participate in the one that is closest to your interests, affinities and possibilities.
Yasmany: Why don’t you use a .cu domain, so that everyone can access it? Before Cenesex had its own website and now? I would like to know about the event that will take place in Cayo Coco during the vacations on the subject. I’m a lawyer.
Susana Hernández Martín: Hello Yasmany, you are right in what you propose to us as to have our page in a Cuban domain, it would be the best and it is what we want. In fact, we are currently in the process of “moving” our site, which is .org to .cu so that everyone in the country can visit it even if they don’t have an Internet connection.
Anyway, until the change happens, you can visit us at: www.cenesex.org to be informed about the activities of the center and also so that with your opinions about what we publish there help us to make our contents more and more like what the population needs to know about sexuality and sexual rights.
About the event in Cayo Coco that you mention, for the moment there is nothing projected, but keep visiting the page so that you will learn all the events and days that we do inside and outside Havana.
Dalia: Well I guess when they say school they mean high school, high school and college, right? I always repudiate homophobes but I’m worried that this campaign will push the limits and confuse our children. I honestly have nothing against sexual orientations, that’s everyone’s business in their intimate spaces but EYE it’s very difficult to explain to a child who is just understanding the love between two people of the same sex or the fact that a boy wears skirt and makeup? What to do in this situation!? I think that first to access the mentality of the future adult must teach respect for others and their right to be happy, I do not think that a gay person is just that, is also a person, daughter (or), aunt (or), friend (or), teacher (or), I myself have great admiration for my professor of Psychology and I have never thought about what he does with his partner. For me, respect comes first and foremost.
Angela L. Urquiza Ramessur: Dalia, first of all I want to say that I think it is very positive that you participate in this space, it is with the participation of all Cuban society that we aspire to make it inclusive.
When we say schools we mean all school spaces, sexuality (which is much more than coitus and genitality) is an integral part of human beings and is always expressed, with its particular characteristics in each stage of development. From this logic, we also refer to primary education, where girls and boys need to understand how sexuality is expressed in people, in ALL people. In this way they do not get confused and grow up thinking that the heterosexual and gender identity variant as it is the only existing and valid or, worse, that it is okay to insult, hit, exclude other people under that premise.
We cannot afford to be naïve thinking that it is okay to leave the sexuality education of our children totally to chance, because yes, they are receiving content on this all the time and from dissimilar sources, often wrong and lacking the human values defended by our social project. So, yes, we agree that the “future adult” must be taught “respect for others and their right to be happy”… Also that their actions have an effect on that perception of happiness, that they are responsible for their actions.
Another important point is the one referring to “intimate spaces”. Non-heterosexual people have the right to hold hands, to express their feelings with gestures of affection, to talk about sexual relations, to express their sexuality in the public spheres as heterosexual people do. It is not a question of taking away anyone’s rights, but of guaranteeing the same rights for all people. A fair, equitable position is that of inclusion, not that of excluding human beings from common spaces under prejudiced premises, whether these spaces are real, imaginary or symbolic.
Finally, human beings are diverse and this diversity can be a common space for being human. Among these children, adolescents and young people learning about the world there are many who love or will love people of the same sex.. Many have gender identities different from those historically normed, and they need to know that they are normal and have the same right as other people. Sometimes we think that children will find it as difficult to understand love and desire as we do, but that is not necessarily the case. Questions to ask when children, in their dealings in the world, find trans people, you already have the answer: “Respect is first and foremost”.
JAHD: If marriage between LGBT people is not legally permitted in our country and there is no prospect of this being achieved in the medium term, what legal variants can be applied according to the laws in force to protect stable couples from separations, deaths and similar events?
Andy lay: Very timely this talk in cyberspace I would like to know how far has been advanced with the issue of gay marriage in Cuba and the main policies for the LGBT population in our country.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: At the moment, there is no possibility of legally recognizing marriage between people of the same sex, although I am optimistic and believe that there are sufficient conditions to move towards a legislative amendment that will allow everyone to have access to the institution of marriage. Notwithstanding the above, there are some “legal solutions” that can be used to protect same-sex couples from situations that may arise with the break-up of the couple or the death of one of its members. For example, the possibility of acquiring property in co-ownership, donating property to the other member of the couple in situations in which the absence of one of them is foreseeable or granting a will.
RGC: School bullying is not necessarily related to homophobic and transphobic behavior, it is good that this topic is touched on, it should be started by educators who should not allow it or be part of it, children are very sensitive to this, goes from the bullyng by the physical aspect, the very fat or very skinny, the directed to those who have economic problems, those who do not use name-brand clothing, the one that refuses to smoke or those who refuse to intimate to that age, to those who do not like noise and prefer tranquility, the least intelligent and even the very intelligent are separated are the center of ridicule that can be very hurtful, educators have maximum responsibility and educates the relatives of the harassers, no one is born being a harasser, I think there should be disciplinary and legal measures in this regard, social education is essential but must be supported by legal penalties, our society must learn a lot, that is educated from the earliest ages, then we can talk about marriage in the LGBT community. They know they should not even be called that they are from that community, we are all Cubans independent of sexual inclinations and physical appearance, from the moment we say gay community, and that is discriminatory, separates the concept of “Cubans”, the same with those who say Afro-Cubans, are separating a group of “Cubans”, we all have a mixture of different cultures, we are human beings born on this island, Whether we are physically beautiful or ugly, then we are Cubans, the mentality is that we should all integrate into a better society, participatory, where everyone brings the best of himself to society, the one who contributes the most with his talent, knowledge, work, that is special, that is integrated and has synergistic effect towards the rest, I do not like that kind of separatism “gay community”, “Afro-Cuban”, etc… Let’s leave this nonsense far from us, we all have to integrate ourselves in social development, educating and this education must have legal support to be able to sanction those who impede integration, education in the human being also implies control of behavior, for something legality was invented.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: I share practically all his points of view, in particular, his concern for the unity that we find so expensive for the Cuban revolutionary and socialist project. Nevertheless, when there are groups of people or population sectors that suffer some kind of social disadvantage in terms of access to certain opportunities or not having all their rights guaranteed, it is logical, inevitable and necessary to make visible the problems that affect them, so that the rest of society identifies and resolves those deficiencies that hurt other people in their own midst. In other words, in order to achieve the integration into the social development to which you aspire, it may be inevitable to make this transition through certain specificities that distinguish and place certain human groups in difficulties. This will lead to better thinking about and implementing ways of guaranteeing the legal support required to avoid harassment and redress injustices. Acknowledging the existence of such differences would even allow us to prevent, rather than sanction, the inappropriate behaviors and actions that sometimes occur.
Pedro: I would like to know if it is possible to build or if there is a Cuban LGBT movement?
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: It is a complex question, especially because it has to do with the different conceptions of this particular phenomenon. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that my position on this matter is influenced by the vision I have on the subject. In Cuba there is an important group of activists who have organized themselves and form part of different networks, for example: Trans People, Families and Couples Network (TransCuba), the Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Network, the Network of Jurists for Sexual Rights, the Youth Network for Health and Sexual Rights, the Humanity for Diversity Network, and the Network of Workers for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. We are talking about more than 4,000 activists trained throughout the island from the support and training spaces generated by the National Center for Sexuality Education since the beginning of 2000. Each of these networks has very specific objectives and unites in the main task of contributing to the recognition and guarantee of sexual rights as human rights without distinction of any kind. There is definitely an important group of people in our country who join forces to advance in these issues of social justice, a group of people who are not only lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex, but also include allies and fundamental allies, heterosexual people. Cenesex has promoted spaces for dialogue and reflection, and activists are an important part of these spaces; for example, the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia are promoted by activists. As I was saying, alliances are vital, strategic; in our case, they have concretized as much with civil society organizations as with State institutions and the Communist Party of Cuba itself. I believe that in Cuba, LGBTI people, together with our allies and allies, are in evident “movement” and committed to the constant construction of strategies that allow us to have a positive impact on society in general, to unite, educate, respect, coexist.
Cruz: We must respect the right to choose one’s sexual orientation but, aware of the necessary breaking of taboos, we must also respect the right not to agree with the liberalism that we want to impose. Just as the hetero people do not proclaim how to behave with couples of the opposite sex, homosexuals and those who promote and almost force through campaigns that we accept everything, should admit that they are exceeding themselves … please!!! Don’t exaggerate.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: Cenesex and its activists do not intend to impose anything on anyone or disrespect any right of another human being. Nor is it the intention to exaggerate, nor do I think it has been done. On the contrary, we always think carefully about each step we take, based on the advances of scientific knowledge and the most appropriate management of social communication. Perhaps you do not perceive it, but all western culture, from which ours does not escape, constantly proclaims – and imposes – the heterosexual norm, not only through the constant visibility of its ways of expressing sexuality, affections and filial relations, but also through the silence or concealment that it demands of those who depart from this cultural pattern. Can you imagine that homosexual people would bother us because heterosexuals would walk hand in hand in the street, kiss their partner in public to greet each other, or comment on their opposite-sex partner at school, at work or in the neighborhood? If we were to question heterosexual people about those or other rights, as they do to us homosexuals or trans people, then you could rightly say that we were exaggerating. But it’s lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans people who get that.
Rodin: I agree with Cruz (the forum participant). And it is that many times the Campaigns against homophobia go through what the final message arrives distorted, such it seems that the homosexual is being “imposed” or given “publicity” and it is there where the problem is formed and a very wide sector of society is opposed, because the publicity is atrocious. Another thing: I’m heterosexual and I don’t go around saying it, I don’t have to boast or feel heterosexual pride as gays do, I’m just like that. Also, it’s embarrassing to go to Fraternity Park at night and see the clothes that gays wear, they dress like prostitutes, it’s a displeasure towards the Cuban woman so decent that she is, in fact, they dress worse than the gays… Cuban women, they disrespect each other, they mess with each other without tone and they are not and I’ve seen every thing that I’m not going to tell you here but that’s what you have to fight against. It is true that sometimes they are discriminated against, but they are also very eccentric and problematic. Not all of them are, because I know many who are decent, cultured and worth talking to them but the other sector leaves much to be desired. In addition, now he has some negative opinion about a certain fact related to homosexuals and they classify him as homophobic, why? If it is badly done, what is being done is discussed as it is being discussed against heterosexuals, and it should not be given greater relevance – as often happens – for being gay. This is a reflection that I wanted to raise although I know that I will be labeled homophobic or not put in this space.
Andy Aquino Agüero: Hello Rodin and it is good that you have shared your opiinions with us because it is important to dialogue about our realities, it is an important way to sensitize the entire population in terms of comprehensive sexuality education and this virtual scenario is guaranteeing it to us.
We agree that we must work on the subject of communication with great care and ensure that the messages arrive with the greatest clarity and, above all, that there is no “imposition” or “publicity” look. Placing issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity in the media is as legitimate as so many others. It is a human right to be able to develop in all senses, without stigma and discrimination.
It is not a question of making comparisons between heterosexuals, homosexuals or trans people. The essence of the reflections is aimed at respecting the rights of all from their singularities of expression.
Trans people and homosexuals have seen their rights violated by not “complying” with established codes that only socially legitimize heterosexuality as a form of expression. Many rights in heterosexual people are already naturalized and should not be pronounced in their defense, this is not the case for non-heteronormative expressions.
It is not a question of proclaiming the individual characteristics of each one, but when because of these singularities human beings are unable to develop, then it must be said and emphasis must be placed on the achievement of rights, in these cases sexual rights as human rights.
You mention a situation that is painful, but it is only an effect of discriminatory and stigmatizing postures that are structured in society. Trans people often choose to only go out at night for all the manifestations of ridicule, laughter, choteo, harassment and bullying to which they are subjected during the day, and that is also shameful because it does not speak well of a people like ours.
We are talking about people in whom it has been demonstrated that their family, school and work environments are constantly being violated.
And, in relation to prostitution, you will agree that as a reflection in society it is multicausal, it is a phenomenon that generates violence around it and is not exclusive to trans people, but is reflected equally in men and women.
We are called to think about and not stigmatize anyone because of sexual orientation or gender identity. There are problematic people, eccentric, decent or not, of all kinds, and it does not depend on their sexuality. But sexuality, as a device of power, if it causes discomfort to people who are not heterosexual. I agree that we must work to avoid all these manifestations.
When we talk about these issues with Respect we cannot describe them as “homophobia or transphobia”, we are human beings who dialogue on the basis of equality and who have the firm intention of generating a social project that is evidently more inclusive.
Javier Alejandro: What does Mariela Castro consider to be the main public policy issues benefiting the LGBT community and why are the responses not advancing faster?
Mariela Castro Espín: Designing public policies is a complex and difficult process, first it requires preparation to know how to do it on a scientific basis from specialized cinemas, institutions that have this social mandate, after approval the participation of other social actors must be organized. Cenesex has proposed strategies as public policies to address the rights of LGBT people in Cuba. We have advanced in some objectives that are opening steps to achieve others. An example: That the objectives and principles approved in the policy of the PCC have included non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This policy is being translated into concrete actions. The campaigns developed by Cenesex contribute to generating social awareness to help the population understand these objectives and overcome their prejudices. Consensus is important so that these tasks are not [just] formally fulfilled. Previous campaigns served to draw attention to the responsibilities of families after work and union activism in favor of these rights. We are now drawing attention to the role of schools where we know there are situations of homophobic and transphobic harassment. The proposals being prepared at the legislative level are an important part of these concrete actions. Social policy is a strategy of intervention from the political power over social relations. When a policy is designed, there are objectives of immediate, medium and long term scope, and the changes in consciousness, in culture, to achieve change in social relations occur slowly. There will always be a party that opposes and resists, so we must maintain diverse spaces to continue the dialogue and build consensus.
Jjsdjsdsd: The new family constructions, challenge for the Law was a work that was recently published in our press. On the subject, I would like to know why family diversity, which as we all know exists, is not recognized in Cuban law.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The new family configurations, although not so new and more visible today, are precisely the expression of a social reality evident in our context that must be regulated legally. This juridical regulation is not a vain question but obeys the need to recognize and guarantee the rights of all people in a socio-political system that is defined and has been characterized since 1959 by the constant search for social justice and equality for all. Although much progress has been made, there are still prejudices that hinder decision making and even the very interpretation and application of our current legal norms. The need to modify the current Family Code has been an issue put on the debate table from activism, but also from academia; civil society organizations such as the Federation of Cuban Women and the National Union of Jurists of Cuba have worked very seriously on a modification proposal that has been taken as a reference by the legal-political group of the National Sex Education Program (ProNESS) to present this and other legislative proposals in relation to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights. It is for this reason that it is so important to implement educational processes for the diverse groups of our society in order to deconstruct the cultural and imaginary social patterns that generate resistance, the norms themselves do not assure changes in consciences, they need changes in our “ways of acting” that allow the respect of legally regulated rights.
María: For several years there has been talk of a draft Family Code, which will come with new proposals and among them there is talk of unions between people of the same sex, why this proposal has been delayed so long, where it is deceived, why they have not just defined what is going to be done, I believe that Cuban society is prepared for this issue.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: This question is related to an earlier one, only to add that I fully agree with you in stating that our society is ready for them and, even if it were not, these issues are human rights issues for one group of people and therefore you should not wait for another group to “agree” with your recognition. However, legal norms when supported by majorities have greater legitimacy and definitely a greater chance of being respected by those to whom they are addressed.
Elianet Carrazana: Good morning, I would like to know if Dr. Mariela Castro Espín is aware of the Autoexclúyete campaign. Are the requirements that this Blood Bank establishes for a donation really reasonable? How have we been able to publish that people who “practice homosexuality, bisexuality and sexual promiscuity” should feel unfit to perform such a human act as donating blood? It is truly a disappointment and a pity that this and even more so in the midst of the 10th Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia. Thank you.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: The denunciation made by the newspaper Escambray was the immediate object of the attention of Cenesex, which immediately received the concern through several activists. According to Deputy Director Manuel Vázquez Seijido, when answering a question similar to his during the conference of Dr. Mariela Castro Espín at the University of Computer Science, this concern was transferred directly to the office of the Minister of Public Health and the Vice-Minister of Medical Assistance, because we share the same concern about the discriminatory nature of this banner, whose letter and spirit would violate Law 41 that regulates the public health system in Cuba. As soon as there is a response, we will make it known.
Carlosvaradero: Why, despite progress in LGBT rights, is there still harassment of homosexuals by PNR members? If they aren’t doing anything in a certain place, just gathered, the police arrive and ask them for identification as if they were criminals? However, another criminal act can happen nearby and the police never appear or turn a blind eye? Why this harassment? I would like Mariela to be able to talk about it at some point. Thank you.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The Ministry of the Interior has been one of the ministries with which we have had a closer rapprochement as part of our sensitization workshops on issues related to Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Sexual Health and Human Rights, including, of course, sexual orientation and gender identity. Within the Ministry of the Interior, the General Directorate of the National Revolutionary Police (DGPNR) has been key and a fundamental ally; its chiefs have supported these processes of training their forces, however, we have not achieved all the desired results. It is a complex process to deconstruct rigid thought systems that drive homophobic and transphobic behaviors, then the instability in the forces and in particular those officers who are in contact with the general population further complicates the issue. Definitely, although we have advanced in this point, if we make a quick comparison with the panorama of 10 years ago, this is an issue that is still pending and to which we must continue to pay special attention.
Carlosvaradero: What is the country’s political will regarding same-sex unions? The subject is touched upon, but there is never anything clear about it, it is as if one avoids speaking about the subject by those who have to decide about that subject. Thank you!
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Your question is a broad one, I have preferred to answer it by taking as a reference a transcendental political decision in recent years and that, personally, I identify as a clear expression of the political will of our State. I am referring to the documents that emerged from the VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in which equality and non-discrimination are understood as a fundamental pillar for the development of the prosperous and sustainable nation to which we aspire; in these, the illegitimacy of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is clearly addressed and this will undoubtedly guide the political decisions that are adopted from this moment on.
Juana T.: Does the Cuban Penal Code take into account homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? Do you have any proposals in this regard?
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: On his first concern, we already offered an answer to the commentator Elianet, in question 13. His other question was also answered by the deputy director, Manuel Vázquez Seijido.
Sachiel: Good morning, sir. I hope that a similar campaign will be made against bullying in general, and not only this issue of homophobia and the like, but I also hope that someone from MINED and MES will be present in the debate. I very much agree with Yasmany (for me that is elitism and lack of awareness of those who preach and seek equal rights) and ask how to avoid acts of public disorder (dishonest exhibitions, sexual harassment, etc.) by LGBT people or groups; what education or procedure is followed for that by Cenesex and related, and what has been achieved in that sense.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Our campaign, although it draws attention to homophobic and transphobic bullying, starts from the understanding that this is a phenomenon that occurs in a more general context and that includes the victimization of people whose characteristics deviate from the hegemonic norms that rigidly organize our social dynamics, we are often victims because of our height, skin color, physical complexion, etc. The Ministry of Education is an important part of the actions that we are developing and the Ministry of Higher Education has shown its support, we cannot pretend that the changes take place automatically, because they depend on the changes that must be generated in our consciences.
Julio Alberto Gavilán: Once again I ask for your help to put an end to eight years of injustice. I was unfairly punished for separating from the sector, for sexual harassment of students that I have not been able to know who they are. In all instances, including the Public Prosecutor’s Office and MES, they argue that it is not necessary to present witnesses. I wonder where my rights as citizens have been respected. Please, I repeat, it is time to put an end to so much injustice that it has affected my health, my morale and my job without proof.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Julio Alberto: For a situation like yours, it would be more convenient if you would send us all the information possible and the allegations that you make to the legal orientation services of Cenesex, which operate on Wednesdays and Fridays, starting at nine o’clock in the morning, at our headquarters at Calle 21 esquina a 10, Vedado.
Juana T.: Does the Cuban Penal Code take into account homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? Do you have any proposals in this regard?
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The Cuban Penal Code has some penal figures that are linked to bullying in a general way and therefore allow criminal legal responsibility to be demanded for events of this type. For example, when bullying generates injuries, or is related to threats, coercion or is linked to lascivious abuse, rape, etc; it also has to do with a possible crime against the right to equality. However, it should be noted that the solutions provided by the penal code are partial, since the under-16s are not included in their cases, since they are not criminally responsible and, in addition, there is an important group of situations that may constitute homophobic or transphobic bullying that are not legally defined as crimes.
Camila Fonck: Is there harassment in Cuban schools? How can one identify a child victim? Is it also possible to identify those who may become or are potential victimizers?
Yoanka Rodney: Yes, there is scientific evidence that allows us to affirm the presence of the problem in some schools.
They are children considered weak and unable to defend themselves. They are often teased by classmates or higher grades. In the case of those who attend primary school, they often complain to their teacher about the discomfort of their classmates. In our country, they are known as the hustle and bustle. Also, refusal to attend the educational institution can be associated as an indicator.
Potential aggressors are those children who are dominant, manipulators and controllers. They are those who intentionally and repeatedly annoy a particular peer or a group of them for various reasons. They can be negative leaders in the classroom and with a certain development of social skills that allows them to add followers and harass other classmates.
Lucifer: Hello. Good morning Mariela, first thank you for your hard work to get you the beauty and intelligence of your mother. First I would like to know, if CENESEX is thinking of an educational campaign to educate gays to reasonable behavior, I am a supporter that everyone should be as they like. If heterosexuals give each other a kiss on the street, which I think is wrong, everyone should express their affection to one another in private. If you plan to make more news with gay cut, almost in the news, or TV we see nothing that deals with gays. I wonder if they have a project to change this situation.
Susana Hernández: Hello Lucifer, for the National Center for Sex Education – as its name implies – educational campaigns are an essential tool. Throughout the year we broadcast messages about the universe of sexual health and rights through our own media, such as the website www.cenesex.org and the Facebook page Cenesex, but also through the national media in both informative and varied spaces.
The messages are as diverse as the topics the center works on and are not limited to LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) issues. On the other hand, we share a broad vision of education, which goes beyond educating one group or another. Our goal is for society as a whole to share the importance of sexuality for the full development of the human being and to understand the multiple dimensions and forms that sexuality can present in each person.
Juventud Rebelde: Why are schools the main scene of this day against homophobia? How can homophobic and transphobic bullying be dealt with in the school environment? How is it possible to strengthen the sex education programme of the country’s school system?
Yoanka Rodney: Various international agencies such as UNESCO and scientific research in various countries say that homophobic bullying is a universal problem, affecting schools, the people involved and the quality of education. It is also recognized that the school is in charge of the integral formation of the younger generations and the space par excellence to ensure that from an early age people learn to relate to each other on the basis of respect, acceptance, sensitivity, and solidarity regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For this reason, the system of influence carried out by teachers in collaboration with the family and the community plays an important role.
A situation of homophobic or transphobic bullying is faced with education, prevention, acceptance, solidarity, sensitivity, respect towards the other. Also using properly the school regulations which prohibit the use of teasing, rude jokes and hurtful words among peers. Another way of dealing with harassment is by implementing the Sexual Education with a Gender and Sexual Rights Approach program, in which the essential content includes addressing the issue of sexual gender violence and, in particular, that which is produced by sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also confronts by communicating to teachers and family members the situations of harassment they are experiencing so that they can take action. In any situation of harassment, including homophobia and transphobia, many students remain silent and at the mercy of their aggressors without receiving the necessary help.
The sexual education program is strengthened by educational activities that are designed, which should be aimed especially at students, teachers and families. Although it cannot be ignored that if the school is the most important cultural center of the community then the educational work to be developed by this socialization agency must reach the entire population. In the same way, it is strengthened with the collaboration of other socialization agencies, the participation of the media and civil society institutions.
Lizandra: Who said the LGBT community is protected? I mean, I’ve lived with my partner for 20 years, if my partner gets sick and has no one to take care of her, do I get permission at work to take unpaid leave in order to take care of her? If she dies, after I am left grounded, do I have the right to the benefits that the law gives me to be able to be in the funeral home and that those three days that the labor code establishes do not exclude me? Noooo, because for the purposes of the law, it is nothing of mine, but if she dies, do I have the right to receive her salary? Do I have the right to inherit her property? The workers receive protection, through the Social Security System, in cases of illness, accident, disability and old age, if their death occurs, their relatives receive this protection, in accordance with the provisions of the Social Security Law or special regimes, as the case may be. In unpaid leave for workers, family responsibilities ARTICLE 108, Article 116 paragraph g) and others. On the other hand, I am a Spanish citizen and since in Cuba they have not just approved civil unions between people of the same sex, I cannot legalize the union with my partner in the Spanish Consulate; therefore, I cannot travel with her because the Spanish Embassy in Cuba cannot do anything because they are in Cuban territory and the union between people of the same sex is not approved in Cuba, since it makes it impossible for me to carry out any procedure of this nature. So is it fair or not that you have just approved this union? I think there are only taboos
Lizandra: It is only fair that homosexual people have the same opportunities and rights. If we hold these Cuban days against homophobia and transphobia, it is also because we are aware of how much progress remains to be made in terms of legal guarantees and inclusive social policies. Thank you for the examples you give us, which are very illustrative.
cristiano: Hello, I’m a Christian and I know I’m labeled homophobic because I’m against homosexual marriage, abortion and the adoption of minors by homosexuals, my question is: What do you think of the position that the majority of churches take on these issues? Would you be in favor of laws that censor the right of the church to proclaim its beliefs?
cristiano: Many of us respect people who have religious faith. In fact, we have alliances with Christian leaders in Cuba who have a different conception of respect for and inclusion of LGBTI people. In the long run, I believe that the churches and the people who are part of them will also advance towards an understanding of sexual diversity, because it is human, because it is just, because it is Christian. I don’t think we should criticize churches, or any institution or person who doesn’t understand our views. It is a question of offering arguments, scientific evidence and testimonies that help to understand, from the human sensitivity and spirituality that should characterize people with religious faith, and that we have the security that they would not want to harm any of their peers.e respect many people who have religious faith. In fact, we have alliances with leaders and Christian leaders in Cuba who have a different conception of the respect and inclusion of LGBTI people. In the long run, I believe that the churches and the people who integrate them will also advance towards an understanding of sexual diversity, because it is human, because it is just, because it is Christian. I do not think we should censor the churches, nor any institution or person who does not understand our views. It is about offering arguments, scientific evidence and testimonies that help to understand, from the human sensitivity and spirituality that should characterize people with religious faith, and we are sure that they would not want to harm any of their peers.
amance: What is Cenesex’s official position on a future approval of the adoption of children by homosexuals in Cuba?
Cenesex would agree that the same requirements and the possibility of adoption exist for all persons and types of families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. What matters is the happiness of girls and boys, and to guarantee them affection and protection.
Amanece: Homosexuality has always existed, but just in our time it is intended to assume that homosexual marriage is normal. Why is this? Will we be smarter than our predecessors? What consequences for all of society can equal marriage bring in Cuba?
Susana Hernández: Amanece, if as you state in your commentary “Homosexuality has always existed” then there should be no contradiction in assuming that marriage between two people of the same gender is a perfectly possible option.
That it is in our time and not in another that its legalization is promoted and achieved, responds to the same reason why women managed to vote for the first time in the nineteenth century and not in the time of Greece or Rome.
History has its processes, and although we would like rights to be recognized only by the fact that we have them, it is sometimes necessary for leaders to emerge to defend them and social movements to promote and demand them. These movements have achieved that in many countries of the world the equal marriage is already a legal fact and not only social.
In Cuba, thanks to the work of institutions such as Cenesex, sexual rights activists, and entities such as UNEACand ICAIC that through art have assumed the mission of sensitizing the Cuban people on these issues, marriage equality could be an ever closer option for those who wish it.
On the consequences for Cuban society, there will be only one: Cuba will be a fairer country and the people who live there will be happier.
MfasT108MPH: I am heterosexual but because of my upbringing I was educated to respect the right of others to be as they please people, as long as those people do not affect those around them and they behave correctly as human and social beings, that has helped me to see all people without contempt or discrimination, there has always been the rejection of some people towards others for being “different”, but that is the human essence, the diversity of all kinds, of culture, religious, skin color, sexual preference and all kinds…. that’s why I consider that discrimination is of one type only… DISCRIMINATION… what tries to frame or identify society today is the possible “origin of rejection”… of course, there is discrimination by gender, purchasing level, social origin or origin, skin color, religious belief, by habits and customs that mark living in a given territory of a country or as in the case analyzed rejection by sexual preference, even, rejection can be for infinite causes depending on how retoncida can be the people who focus more on what separates us than on what unites us…. clarifying this I would like to say that I consider that many mistakes are being made in these diversity campaigns… I have even discussed this issue with a gay friend who has a stable partner with whom he lives, both are professionals and people whom I consider men, because as I once said “what you do in bed is your business, what matters to me is how you are as a person” and in effect is good son, good brother and good friend, finally I consider that the campaigns should be against HOMOPHOBIA which I support 100% and I applaud the efforts made by the country, but neither should be these campaigns in favor of homosexuality, practically is stimulating the new generations with quite graphic propaganda, is posed as a NORMAL behavior…. as my colleague said, “I know that my behavior may not be normal because the normal thing would be to look for a woman who is biologically designed to give me a child and pleasure, but this is my decision and my preference”… I defend and support that because everyone should live their life as they wish… but neither should we promote the practice of homosexuality as if it were something normal… let’s not go to extremes, because as good Cubans, if we don’t get there we go too far…. I think we went from making life impossible for gay people to the point of almost stimulating homosexual practice… it is against homophobia but not in favor of homosexuality… they should give legal guarantees as has been commented for those who live together, I don’t think that the constitution should be modified to guarantee the rights of gay couples, if they want to have a ceremony, they should go on a honeymoon…. I also consider that when there is a small group of gay people in a place and the police arrive as one participant said, of course they can be asked for documentation like any other group of ordinary people… are ordinary people, I think that many times gay people in search of making a difference just bury themselves more by adopting in many cases rejectable positions in any kind of people (heterosexual), there are attitudes they adopt that are socially inadequate and then hide in the HOMOPHOBIA to do what gives them THE WIN…. let’s not get lost in concepts, signs of affection should be regulated in both heteros and homos … I hope no one has felt pleased but that’s what I think, the only way to avoid abuse in schools is with patience and changing mentalities over time, do not think that changing mentality is something of two days … my vote is AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA BUT NOT FOR HOMOSEXUALITY … greetings and NO!!!! TO DISCRIMINATION AND REJECTION OF ANY KIND
Angela: Hello MfasT108MPH, immediately obvious in your speech is the notion that homosexuality is not normal and that is apparently the point we should debate, especially when it is clear that you are a person with a social conscience.
If the only function and/or nature of human sexuality were reproduction, we would have sexual relations only at a certain time of the month, and only between the male and female of the species. I imagine that if this were the only function of sexuality, history would not contain so many efforts to control, regulate and repress it; it would not have been made a central theme in religious ideologies nor would the pornography industry have been so successful, it would not have been a “thorny” theme of sex education in schools….
The diversity of expressions of human beings in the matter of sexuality is a fact, it is the proof that human sexuality is much more than reproduction, but this, paradoxically, appears as difficult to understand even when it is widely accepted that the human being is bio-psycho-social. We are in charge of pathologizing, from different structures, those manifestations of sexuality that do not correspond with the purpose of reproduction and we do this, in most cases, uncritically and thinking that it is not discrimination.
In this crusade to maintain the paradigm of reproduction as ruler of our sexuality we forget that we share our feelings and bodies with other people also for pleasure, which has been ignored and even condemned from some ideologies. It is lawful and not pathological to desire, to love, to have sexual relations with other human beings who consent to it and, moreover, it is best to do it in a responsible way.
For Cenesex it is a duty to defend the right of people to express their sexuality freely and responsibly, to promote respect, sensitivity, and understanding. We are against homophobia and, on this path, it is necessary to focus positively on non-homo-normative sexualities because only by understanding that these are neither aberrant nor abnormal will violence cease.
The comment “I don’t care what you do in bed” is a whole declaration of principles on the subject, it is a veiled mode of discrimination, it says: I accept you if I forget what you do in your private space, moreover, leave it there because it is shameful, it belongs there. Homosexuality is not something to be ashamed of, something to hide from the world, something that indicates less capacity or competence. Homosexuality is one of many ways of being human and is as appropriate for public space as other sexual orientations.
From this dialogue, I prefer to keep what we have in common, which is a resounding NO to discrimination, and I invite you to reflect on the theme of “normality”, which is the basis for so many actions of this kind.
Adrián: I really respect you, but you should consider in this country where we’re going.
Mariela CE: We are moving towards an increasingly just society, with policies that benefit all people in their different realities and needs. Today scientific development can better clarify the historical origin of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and provides new arguments and references for society’s policy and normative system.
We do not promote homosexuality but neither do [we promote] heterosexuality, we do not promote any type of sexual orientation or gender identities, we only educate in universal ethical principles, we offer elements of analysis and reflections on human realities and sufferings that must be dealt with in solidarity, not from the position of power in which hetero-normativity places us (which was also consolidated in the 19th century). Many people feel peace and tranquility because they identify comfortably with these norms, but also many people feel uncomfortable, unfortunate and rejected because they do not have the backing of the norm. According to international studies on social perception, the viewpoint divulged by Medicine that these people are sick, contributed to developing the stigma and discrimination, also expressed in the laws that punish them unfairly. The International Day Against Homophobia is celebrated to distinguish the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider homosexuality an expression as valid as heterosexuality. For people to be able to live fully as subjects of rights these regulations must be modified not only in the letter of the laws but also in the symbols with which our thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviors operate, and this is what we are dealing with.
Cuba is considered one of the most advanced countries in the world because of the guarantees offered by the State to the exercise of the sexual rights of the population, especially women. These achievements are the results of the historical struggles of women with the support of other progressive forces; they are the result of the actions of the FMC and the policies of the Revolution. The free, professional and voluntary interruption of pregnancy insurance services provided by the National Public Health System, since 1965, has contributed to a significant decrease in women’s mortality from these causes, fulfilling one of the reasons why this service was established: to save women’s lives. Another reason was to guarantee the respect of the woman to decide about her body, because we have soul, conscience and also (like men), capacity to exercise autonomy. It is precisely the integral education of sexuality that is aimed at developing the reproductive responsibility of men and women, which contributes to avoiding unwanted pregnancy and also to training to exercise maternity and paternity in a responsible manner, among other objectives.
Facilities for consensual unions, marriage and divorce, recognition of sons and daughters, among many other rights, are conquests of society; they are acquired freedoms.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
Posted on 10 May, 2019 – 15:51 by Francisco Rodríguez
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It is not for pleasure that these days vary their conceptual scope every two years, in a journey that has already allowed them to make visible several key scenarios of still frequent discriminatory episodes for these reasons, such as families, work and schools.
On this occasion, the Days aim to influence the legal culture of our citizens in relation to these issues, under a phrase that synthesizes and fuses with exactitude the concrete objective to be achieved together with the highest purposes that we permanently pursue as an ideal of justice in socialism: all rights for all people.
For someone not attentive to the realities of homophobia and transphobia, an issue in addition to the international political debate on human rights, it might seem strange or even excessive this insistence on addressing and banishing this old problem in our national context.
However, the evidence of the scientific and community work carried out by the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), the main organizer of these days, points to the fact that we still have a long way to go on that road of respect for sexual rights, in the face of violations and damages – not always visible – suffered by homosexual, bisexual and transgender people in everyday life, both in the subjective realm of human relations and in the link with institutions.
It is true that there are evident positive changes in the social perception of this phenomenon and in the implementation of social inclusion policies that we have been conquering as a country for more than a decade. These are part of a systematic and long-term strategy that has its greatest turning point every May, around the celebration of May 17, as the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The result of all this evolution is palpable. Pronouncements against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the country’s main policy documents. Approval of the first law that explicitly protects sexual diversity, which is precisely our Labor Code. And more recently, the proclamation of a Constitution that proscribes any discriminatory action against people for that and other reasons, in addition to recognizing equal rights for all types of families.
There are also many other transformations in social consciousness and practice that are sometimes difficult to quantify, but they are there, and those of us who have experienced this gradual process, as protagonists and beneficiaries, can clearly perceive them.
Of course, it is not possible to aspire to a process of cultural transformation as profound as the dismantling of homophobic and transphobic prejudices in our society, takes place in a linear manner, without contradictions or even stagnation or conjunctural setbacks.
That is why the legislative changes that have to accompany the new Magna Carta are essential. These must take into account this problem that is not limited to a single legal norm, but constitutes a transversal theme that must entail a more inclusive look at each economic and social phenomenon.
However, specialists and jurists from Cenesex who participate in the working groups to develop these upcoming laws already identify several where the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity requires an approach. This is the case, of course, of the Family Code, but they also mention the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Act, the Civil Registry Act, the Labor Code itself, as well as others that today do not even exist or are in lower-ranking legal systems such as resolutions, internal regulations, and procedures, in areas as dissimilar as public health, education and others.
In this sense, the reflection recently made by Manuel Vázquez Seijido, deputy director of Cenesex, is basic. He points out that “discrimination in a rule is not necessarily denigrated, undervalued or prohibited access to any service of a group of people; it is also when it is omitted, it is not clear, when only one sector of the population is recognized and others are unprotected, when certain needs are not regulated”.
Posted on May 7, 2019 – 14:25 by Redacción Digital
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
This year the initiative is promoted under the slogan “All rights for all people” and will run until May 18, with the purpose of contributing to the education of the entire society, with emphasis on the family and young people, respect for the right to free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity.
In coordination with various State institutions and civil society organizations, a broad programme of community, academic and artistic activities has been convened to make visible and combat all forms of discrimination.
This edition of the event is inserted in a particular political scenario since the promulgation of the new constitutional text, which explicitly recognizes sexual rights and provides protection to LGBTI people.
These celebrations, which have been taking place since 2008, also promote respect and acceptance of people with HIV with emphasis on vulnerable groups.
By El Desconcierto
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The month of April was, without a doubt, one of the most complex for Venezuela in recent years. The violence generated in opposition protests, added to the campaign against the government of Nicolás Maduro undertaken by the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), and the intentions of interference on the part of the United States, have put the South American nation at a crucial point.
Many voices, adherents to U.S. thought, have risen asking for the end of the administration of the current Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, militant of the PSUV, the o[
party founded by Hugo Chávez and who in 2013 was elected with 50.61% of the votes.
But other well-known personalities around the world have also expressed their support for the call for peace and dialogue proposed by Maduro’s government as an end to the escalation of violence in recent days. This is the case of Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, who in his personal blog “Segunda Cita” commented to a Venezuelan user that: “There were some years, after the revolutionary triumph, when going out into the streets of Havana was also an adventure, because the counterrevolution was putting bombs, even in cinemas (…). But what you are experiencing is much more stressful and violent, because these are quite large sectors of the population dedicated to urban belligerence. The artist added: “While I continue asking myself questions, all that remains for me is to ask you to take care of yourselves, not to give yourselves away, not to be reckless, but if you feel it, don’t stop fighting for what’s worthwhile, the América Nuestra that Bolívar and Martí, Fidel and Chávez envisioned, and that we need so much.
Likewise, the former president of Uruguay, José “Pepe” Mujica, gave Maduro important accolades during an interview for the Uruguayan media “Caras y Caretas”, commenting that: “What scares me most about Venezuela is the opposition, or a very important part of it. I believe that there is a climate of radicalization that has become irrational and that in the long run ends up favoring the right,” and he added: “What Almagro is doing from the OAS is a danger, not only for Venezuela, but for the whole continent. Anything that is outside interventionism goes against it.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel also urged support for the Venezuelan president. From his Facebook page, the human rights defender wrote that “Venezuela is the target of aggression by the North American empire that does not give in to its onslaught with the objective of overthrowing the democratically elected government. The Argentine blames the United States and “the big companies” for the country’s economic shortage: “There are crises imposed by the United States, which does not want to lose its influence and continental control.” Esquivel accused the international media of generating false or distorted news about what really happens. Likewise, Pérez Esquivel accused the opposition of not wanting to guarantee social peace due to its refusal to dialogue and to “the instances proposed by Unasur and facilitated by Pope Francisco”.
The Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church also had words for the conflict that is shaking Venezuela. In a press conference, the Pope commented that the dialogue in Venezuela “did not work because the proposals were not accepted and I know that now they are insisting (…) I believe that it has to be with very clear conditions. Part of the opposition does not want this. It’s curious, the opposition itself is divided.”
Cuba: Who’s Trying to Change the Colors of the Rainbow?
By: PostCuba Newsroom
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
[May 11, 2019. Post un-dated online.]
The current attempt to manipulate and use the LGBTI community to confront the Cuban authorities for not authorizing a march against homophobia and transphobia is not an isolated incident; there are antecedents of similar claims in the recent past that are inserted in the US policy of hostility towards Cuba.
The media construction of alleged harassment and police persecution of the members of this community has been one of the directions of these defamatory campaigns against Cuba in which U.S. citizens linked to internal counterrevolutionaries have been involved.
The visit of the American Michael Petrelis in January of this year to Cuba constitutes a clear example of this type of activities generated by the North American secret services against the Island.
Petrelis, after being warned by the immigration authorities that he had entered the country with a tourist visa to carry out activities that did not correspond to this migratory condition, something he had already done on previous occasions, approached CENESEX. There he presented himself as a person healthily interested in promoting and defending the rights of those who make up the aforementioned community, receiving friendly and cooperative treatment. This made it easier for him to move around the country and contact people freely.
Later it was shown that this was only the façade he used to approach and achieve the collaboration of this institution. [He used] deception of its officials, seeking support that would allow him to develop provocative activities and the harmful influence that he had planned to carry out within the aforementioned sector of society.
In spite of the respectful treatment and the alerts received for his violations of the terms of his stay, the American has tried to cover them with a cloak of innocence, imitating the conduct assumed by his fellow countryman, the “contractor” Alan Gross when he was caught in his illegal activities inside Cuba.
The “activist” Michael Petrelis maintains links with well-known Cuban counterrevolutionaries who receive scholarships and money from the U.S. State Department, such as Isbel Díaz Torres. Also, salaried journalists trained in Centers from which plans and actions of ideological political subversion against Cuba are planned and executed, such as Maikel González Vivero and Juana Mora Cedeño. The latter has been invited to forums of the discredited OAS, where she has launched false and infamous accusations against the Cuban government for alleged violations of human rights.
In this context, it is known that Petrelis coordinated from abroad with these stateless people provocations in front of the National Capitol, headquarters of the National Assembly of People’s Power, as well as providing them with material support for the call made on January 5 in John Lennon Park, in which the well-known counter-revolutionary Tania Bruguera participated.
Cuban immigration authorities, based on all the violations of the terms of stay committed by the American during his last trip to the island, decided to prohibit his entry into the country, and he has insisted on obtaining an answer on the reasons for this decision, which he says he does not understand and ignores in a hypocritical and dishonest manner.
There is evidence that the aforementioned Petrelis links are the organizers of the “independent” march that they intend to carry out against homophobia on May 11, 2019. This shows the enemy’s presence in this activity, which tries to manipulate the feelings of the people who make up the LGBTI community in function of spurious political interests.
Rather than defend them by pretending to use them as instruments against an inclusive and humane social project, they denigrate them, especially if their supposed “benefactors” respond to a xenophobic and homophobic foreign government like that of Donald Trump.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Is President Trump about to invade Venezuela? His advisors continue to say — in increasingly forceful terms that — “all options are on the table”, and that military intervention to restore Venezuela’s constitution” may be necessary.”
For his part, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a news program last Sunday commented that President Trump could launch a military attack against Venezuela without Congressional approval because “he has all the authority conferred upon him by Article II of the Constitution and certainly any action that we take in Venezuela will be legal”. The man who just boasted of his lies, tricks and thefts, is providing new evidence that back up his confession.
The truth is that the US president does not have the constitutional authority to start a war with Venezuela or any other country that hasn’t attacked or credibly threatened the United States, without the approval of Congress. It’s as simple as that,” says Ron Paul, a former Republican congressman for the State of Texas and presidential candidate in 1988 for the now defunct Libertarian Party.
It is ironic that Pompeo and the rest of the neoconservatives of the Trump Administration, who don’t care about the Constitution of their own country, are willing to attack Venezuela “in order to restore its constitution.”
It is striking and hypocritical that while Washington was paralyzed for two years by the disproved claims that the Russians had meddled with the elections to elect Trump, Washington doesn’t even hesitate to support the actual revocation of elections in another country!
But without the authority of Congress, any U.S. military action against Venezuela would be illegal and probably an impeachable crime. Of course, Democrats who talk about impeaching Trump would never dream of getting rid of him for illegally starting a war because U.S. Democrats and Republicans alike love the illegal U.S. wars, says Ron Paul.
Unfortunately, Washington is so addicted to war that President Trump would probably have little difficulty in obtaining congressional authorization to invade Venezuela if he bothered to ask.
Likewise, as with the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the corporate media are nothing more than uninterrupted war propaganda.
According to Ron Paul, some Presidential hopefuls described as progressives , like Rachel Maddow, a radio personality, TV presenter, and progressive American commentator, are attacking the Trump administration, not because of its reckless tendency for the use of weapons in Venezuela, but because it is not aggressive enough.
The real lesson is that even a “constitutional” war against Venezuela would be an unjust action. It would be a war of aggression that Americans should be upset about and ashamed of.
But the mainstream media are spreading the same old lies in favor of war, while independent media are being attacked by many social media campaigns that have partnered with U.S. government agencies to decide what news is fake or illegal and which one is true.
The most recent motive for indignation shown by the dominant media has been over one of the most sensible things that President Trump has done lately: last week he spent one hour on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss, among other things, the dangerous situation in Venezuela.
While President Trump’s neo-con advisors are deliberately trying to put him in a position where war is the only option, we can only hope that President Putin may have been able to explain to him that Venezuela’s problems must be solved by the Venezuelans themselves.
Certainly, the United States, perhaps together with the Russians, could help facilitate discussions between the Venezuelan government and the opposition as an alternative to the neo-conservative path towards war, which would surely end like all other wars in a total disaster.
U.S. mainstream media are furious because Trump dared to talk to Putin when Russia and the United States were increasingly at logger-heads over the situation in Venezuela.
Democrats and neo-cons are pressing for a direct confrontation in which Russia may become involved. Republicans agree with both on this.
Would they really prefer a thermo-nuclear war over Venezuela? asks veteran doctor and ultra-libertarian American politician Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul.
May 8, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by citing the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It wasn’t surprising to hear multi-billionaires Bill Gates, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett, interviewed on CNBC-TV on Thursday, May 9, defending capitalism. But it was indeed surprising that Gates made a positive comment about socialism, or at least about what is defined in the United States as socialism.
Gates pointed out that the current increase in pro-socialist rhetoric in the United States does not really refer to socialism according to any conventional definition of the word. The “socialist” policies that we hear from politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Bernie Sanders are, to a greater extent, about capitalist policies with a strong social security contribution. And that is good!
“Socialism used to mean that a State controlled the means of production”, and, according to Gates, “many people here who promote socialism do not define it in that classical way.”
Gates also says that most people who favor socialism in the United States do not speak of true socialism. And they’re right!
“The majority does not argue against capitalism… only believes that there should be changes in taxes, more progressive tax rates, and the reinstatement of estate tax. What they actually want is capitalism with a better level of taxation,” says Gates.
According to him, most left-wing Americans do not advocate the ownership of the means of production to be passed on to the workers, that all industries be nationalized, and that private property be abolished, which are the real principles of socialist ideology.
The majority of left-wing people support politicians who promise capitalism with a solid social security foundation. But there is no indication that what they are proposing is truly socialism.
The federal employment guarantee of AOC, for example, would consist of a reference standard for employment that would include a minimum wage of $15 linked to inflation, full medical care, and paid leave for sickness and children.
This proposal would drastically improve the quality of employment in the United States by giving training and experience to the workers and at the same time providing much needed public services to communities in areas such as, education, health, park maintenance, childcare, and environment conservation.
But that’s not socialism in the classic sense of the word. It is capitalism with a strong social safety net. The majority of rich countries in Europe already have what AOC proposes. That doesn’t make them socialists. In any case, it makes them social democrats.
The United States does not have a Social Democratic party, thus, anything to the left of the Democratic Party is called socialism, because Americans do not have a vocabulary that would allow them to speak of these things with greater subtlety than that of a left against a binary right.
Why people like Bernie Sanders and AOC are labeled as socialists, and even sometimes they call themselves by that term?
Because Fox News spent Obama’s years calling all the Democratic Party’s policies so. As a result, there are two generations (Millennials and Generation Z) who simply use the term socialist without worrying too much about what it exactly means.
For the younger generations, socialism only means making sure that everyone can go to the doctor when they need it, or have a roof over their heads, or have money to buy food, regardless of that person’s circumstances.
And these generations believe that all of these can be achieved within the existing system, without overthrowing the ruling class and the setting of a new political system led by the working class.
As Gates points out, there are some real socialists in the world. And there are even real socialists in governments all over the world. But most American socialists are simply leftists who disregard party labels and talk about policies. Bill Gates knows this and Donald Trump knows it too.
It’s not that Bill Gates is progressive. Guys like Gates know clearly that the guillotines are coming, and if the United States continues along the path of austerity and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, anything can happen.
According to available information, Gates is worth more than $101 billion dollars, which should literally be considered a crime in a civilized society in which 13 million children do not have enough to eat. But, for now, we will have to accept that at least there are some multi-billionaires who recognize the need for real changes in global society.
May 10, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Ciro Bianchi Ross
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was given in Cuba, in 1946, the treatment of head of government, and the National Hotel reserved for him, of course, the Apartment of the Republic, which was intended for the most distinguished official guests. During the Second World War, the press had made his image of a good-natured and implacable grandfather habitual at the same time. He was an insatiable smoker of cigars. When he leaned out of the door of the Boeing 17 that brought him, he raised his right hand and with his index and middle fingers in the shape of a vee he greeted the crowd waiting for him at the Rancho Boyeros airport and applauded him enthusiastically: Sir Winston repeated for the Havana people the sign of victory, a gesture he coined throughout the war.
And there began the headaches for the Cuban protocol and the British legation in Havana, because the former premier did not respect timetables or formalities and was governed only by what the day had in store for him. He would get up at five in the morning and from that moment on he would put the entire hotel in check. One rainy day, annoyed because he could not take his usual dip in the pool, he suddenly ordered that they pack their bags to leave and asked them to get rid of them as soon as the sun came up. He spent his free time playing cards with anyone who wanted to join him. “He eats, drinks and smokes without restrictions of any kind. And in quantity,” wrote Enrique de la Osa in his report on the visit.
It was the second time Winston Churchill had visited our country. Many years ago, in 1895, he had celebrated his twenty-first birthday here. The then young officer of the fourth Regiment of Hussars came in his personal capacity to see the war that the Cubans were waging for their independence against Spain, and here the future Lord of the British Admiralty received his baptism of fire. At that time he also became fond of Cuban rum. He says so explicitly in his memoirs.
What was Winston Churchill looking for in 1895 in these lands? He said it clearly in his book: the adventure for the adventure itself. He was anxious to know what a war was like.
Churchill came from Sancti Spiritus with a Spanish troop of three thousand men moving towards Arroyo Blanco. He marched on horseback for hours and made campaign life: he slept in a hammock, bivouacked with the troop, bathed in the rivers… Days passed and nothing happened, until one morning, at breakfast time, his group was surprised by a closed discharge coming out of the nearby forest and a horse that grazed peacefully next to Churchill received a fatal wound on the side.
The Spaniards rushed to where the shots came from and found no one. Churchill had already been warned that in Cuba the enemy was everywhere and nowhere… “When I witnessed all these operations I could not help but think that the bullet that had hit the horse had certainly passed one foot from my head. So, at least, it had been under fire. It was something,” says the former prime minister in his memoirs. He understood the situation: Spain would be ruined and bleed to death in front of a ragged army armed, above all, “with a terrible knife called a machete”. It was a weapon handled by soldiers for whom war “cost them nothing, apart from misery, dangers, and privations”. But even so, Churchill sympathized with Spain. Rather, he felt sorry for the Spaniards.
Let’s go back to that Havana of February 1946. Churchill asked to be driven through the city in a convertible car and since Cuban protocol did not have a similar vehicle, the owner of the Partagás cigar factory offered his and he himself gladly served as a driver in exchange for the visitor reciprocating with a visit to his company, in which he was pleased. One of the traditional vitolas of the Romeo y Julieta brand bears the name of the British politician. Pinar del Río distinguished Churchill with the title of Favourite Son. He spent a whole afternoon locked up in the brothel of Marina, in Colón Street. His aide during his stay on the island was the then young lieutenant José Ramón Fernández.
Churchill’s lunch with President Grau San Martín, whose menu is still maintined, was tinged by the anecdote. Sir Winston left for the Presidential Palace with all the packing that the occasion required only to return to the hotel a few minutes later… I had forgotten the cigars. Then, another unplug: the retinue had to go round and round around the Palace for ten minutes so that the former premier and the president would meet at the scheduled time.
At the end of lunch, Grau forced Churchill to go out to the North Terrace before which many Havana citizens were waiting to greet him.
Churchill said: “I feel very pleased in this beautiful Island of Cuba where I have been so well received…”. And he continued, in Spanish: “I take the opportunity to say: Long live the Pearl of the Antilles!
At the end of his stay, he made another enthusiastic statement: “If I didn’t have to see President Truman, I would stay here for a month.