Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Playuela Beach, located next to Cayo Guillermo, has been the site chosen to build one of the hotels that will undoubtedly be visited by the LGBTI community.
According to Mathu Hotel in Cuba, the country plans to open the Rainbow Muthu Hotel, the first hotel facility dedicated to the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community in October 2019.
The new hotel will have 248 rooms of high comfort, five restaurants, three bars, a room of animation and all the necessary facilities for the practice of aquatic sports.
“A perfect #LGBT-Friendly hotel, for an escape to #cayoguillermo #granmuthurainbow, will be an incredible place to visit all year round with these incredible rooms and views,” says one of the facility’s promotions.
The Muthu Hotel representation in Cuba has summoned CENESEX to help in the selection and training of the personnel that will work in the facilities; in addition to collaborating in events, promotions and campaigns.
By Redacción Razones de Cuba
May 16, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
There are many images that swarm in social networks and in different international press media about the march that last May 11 which was called by some “independent activists” of the Cuban LGBTI community. In the vast majority of them, there is a morbid delight in showing the detention of four people who insisted on continuing the march, disregarding the considerations of the authorities who, in the absence of an official permit, urged the participants not to continue marching through traffic-filled streets.
In the video that Razones de Cuba shares with its readers, we see the exchange between a PNR official and several of the demonstrators, without any weapon whatsoever, in a tone of respect and logical argumentation. The media tends to silence these details, trying to show that the march was repressed in its entirety and not to give birth to these testimonies that the vast majority of the participants in the demonstration held a dialogue with the authorities, without outbursts or any desire to break with institutionality.
Respect, reason, and peace: cardinal points of citizen tranquility, for the search in Cuba of individual and general well-being under the rule of law.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
I have taken some time to reflect on the regrettable events that occurred during the 12th edition of the Day Against Homophobia. I pause at this moment with the conviction that this is not a finished debate.
I am the founder of the Cuban Days Against Homophobia, at a time when the idea that all activism in relation to sexual rights is political had already matured in me; therefore, it will always be permeated by specific political values and ideologies. Whoever does not situate himself from this angle sins out of naivety or tries to manipulate the complex reality.
No ideological struggle is free of contradictions and the complex process of building political consensus (if that is possible between Cubans) always has advances and setbacks.
The march not authorized by the government last May 11 was not produced only by the suspension by the State/Party of the traditional conga included in the programs of the Cuban Days against homophobia. The antecedents and the conjunctures that I perceive are:
Unique vertical dialogue and legitimacy of the CENESEX leadership by the State/Party in the fight against homophobia.
The State/Party’s obsessive and pernicious fear of horizontal leadership and the emergence of LGBT groups within civil society collides with a gradual public awareness of sexual rights as human rights. The formation of activists by CENESEX and the Cuban Days against Homophobia have generated a critical mass of activists that overflows institutional spaces and challenges the doctrines of control of thought and action that are generated from there. There are also many good people who are activists without having been linked to any institution.
Since a group of activists introduced the Yogyakarta Principles in 2007, their use has expanded to advocate non-discriminatory policies on sexual orientation and gender identity in accordance with international human rights law. The heterogeneity of these groups includes many ideological positions that fluctuate between radical Marxists, bourgeois social democrats, anarchists and neo-liberals and neo-annexionists. There are also the usual mercenaries who serve any ideology. For the monochrome vision of the State/Party and its institutions, these people are nothing more than counterrevolutionaries and any initiative arising from them is criminalized, in the name of national unity. It does not take into account that except for the neoliberals, annexionists and mercenaries, there are many progressive people who would put forth, from organized civil society, anti-discriminatory public policies.
Arbitrary arrests, violent repression, censorship and discrediting are neither revolutionary nor do they adhere to the Martian principles of a Republic, as endorsed in the recent Constitution.
2. The Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia have lost their political character and their capacity for interlocution with people with non-homoregulatory sexualities and genders.
From the first editions, tensions arose in conceiving this space as a political and revolutionary celebration or commemoration. The result has been the celebration and the dangerous approach to banality and to what we wanted to avoid: to turn it into a march of Cuban gay pride with strong classist and neoliberal inspiration. While recognizing that pride in our identity is a political attitude, the conga itself has distorted that meaning and the parade of its leaders in pink convertible cars, the floats, the carnival atmosphere and the strange participation of transnational emporiums such as Google (in edition 11) are just some of the most notorious elements of this point.
The suspension of the conga last May 11 and the change of the party at the same time that the unauthorized march would take place, was a very counterrevolutionary and irresponsible maneuver. The high participation in the march and the follow-up in the social networks by the participants in the celebration of what was happening in the Padro speak for themselves of the fragmentation and violence that could have been avoided.
The parade of more than 100 people, peacefully chanting slogans in favor of sexual rights and recognizing rights for all citizens, without counterrevolutionary expressions along the Prado promenade, moves away unfounded statements (such as those accompanying the conga suspension) that the march was organized from Miami. What happened in the end, with the crude police repression and the detention of four people, was a provocation far removed from the meaning of the march. The presence of the media was taken advantage of and the unfortunate events that are now circulating in the news were unleashed.
On the other hand, the rich public exchanges with LGBT people have not taken place in Havana for more than six editions. Written speeches, the introduction of other just causes but without the conviction of those present, have hampered citizen participation. It would seem that music, half-naked bodies, transformationism [cross-dressing] and dancing in the conga are the fundamental objective. The essentially political has been enclosed to academic spaces where we cook in the same sauce.
3. The State/Party has negotiated with the rights for sexual orientation and gender identity like a pendulum.
This point is also complex. Without a doubt, CENESEX, the leadership of its director Mariela Castro and the voice of numerous activists have contributed to placing the rights of LGBT people on political agendas and in human rights discourses in Cuba. However, in the international context, pendulum positions have been shown. In 2010 our State/Party had to rectify its vote at the United Nations when it aligned itself with third world countries that condemned homosexuality with the death penalty and did not consider it to be the cause of extrajudicial executions. Since then, our representatives have been absent from several votes on LGBT rights, especially at ECOSOC.
From 2011 to date, the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is recognized in documents issued by the State/Party that include the Statutes of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Labor Code Law. However, from 2012 to 2013 serious tensions were generated by the public speeches of numerous activists associated with CENESEX on pending policies, including marriage equality.
On this issue, the director of CENESEX herself has expressed opinions that vary according to the circumstances. Her speech was finally profiled in favor of marriage equality during the debate on the constitutional project. Later we learned that in the same period the Catholic Church had been the mediator in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States. At this point I paraphrase the Apostle [: in politics what is most important is what is not seen.
More recently, the elimination of article 68, which opened up the possibility in the Constitutional Bill of recognizing marriage equality, was a complicit wink from the State/Party to the fundamentalist religious groups, which have gained strength in Cuba and enjoyed complete freedom to demonstrate against the aforementioned article. In the meantime, they maintained tight control over the activists associated with the institution and no street actions were allowed against religious and fundamentalist hate speeches.
The first three months have passed since the proclamation of the Constitution and there is no debate or concrete action to comply with the complementary laws that define the adoption of the Family Code within two years. The approval of this Law will be taken to a referendum, thanks to the decisions of our representatives, experts in dictating policies through decree-laws in agendas that are peremptory to them.
I note that the Christian churches have been too quiet during the present day, although we know in good faith that many of their proselytes were in the vicinity of the feast organized by CENESEX doing their fundamentalist ideological work.
4. The 11/5 march marks a historic milestone in the construction of a Cuban LGBT movement.
Depends. Not thefirst unauthorized gear. It is preceded by some actions in the late 1990s, the wedding between a transgender person and a gay man, and other unpopular attempts that were marked by interests to subvert order. Most of these unconvinced activists are in the United States because of the gratifications of their political masters. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have many more here who will do the impossible to torpedo any attempt at civil organization that dialogues with the State/Party.
We also have former activists who now live abroad, who are patriots and want to continue participating in the construction of a sovereign nation and have every right to do so.
Some have said that what happened on Saturday compared to May 1968 in Paris. Others have evoked the Stonewall Rebellion*, whose legacy has been taken as a global reference but which has been distorted by the generation of a universally classist, elitist LGBTI movement that reproduces the essences of the market and patriarchal domination of heteronormative oppression. In fact, in many countries, an attempt has been made to found anti-system movements and praxis that move away from the ideological right-wing and the political and commercial banalization of the international LGBTI movement.
What happens from now on will depend on concerted action and the lessons learned from these experiences. The permanence in force of a Law of Associations that limits and subsumes the rhetoric of a besieged square plus the fragile mechanisms of citizen participation hinder these actions.
Some view the march as a matter of winners and losers and focus their activism on opposition to CENESEX and Mariela Castro. With such a narrow vision it is not possible to make much progress either. Having a government institution to deal with these issues is necessary, but it does not limit the recognition of the right of LGBT people to self-organize as part of civil society, with the capacity to participate and challenge policies.
The march of May 11 also reflects that Cuba is not Paris 68 nor New York 69. A good part of political participation and the exercise of civil rights are done in social networks. The call became viral and despite the final outcome, people came to express their positions on this issue. To say that everyone was deceived or confused is contempt for people’s intelligence and at the same time, we must be very careful about who (or whom) benefits from results alien to our struggles.
On the other hand, to those who believe themselves to be owners of the Revolution and of thought, I inform you that a change of era has occurred in Cuban society. Comply with the Constitution and return the Revolution. [Santos Suarez, May 13, 2019]
*The Stonewall Inn bar was the epicenter of a rebellion of gay men and transgender people against police harassment in New York City in 1969. June will be 50 years old.
Author: Miguel Febles Hernández | email@example.comMay 16, 2019 19:05:11
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
CAMAGÜEY. – For those who insist on the siege, intolerance and excessive attack against everything that smells of Revolution, Mariela Castro Espín has the exact answer: the irreverent and “undisciplined” who star in this marvelous revolutionary experience do not allow themselves to be dominated by anyone.
In a meeting with professors and students from the Carlos J. Finlay University of Medical Sciences in this province, the director of the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex) referred to the challenges facing the Cuban people today in the face of the intensification of the aggressive policy of U.S. imperialism.
She placed special emphasis on the media campaign orchestrated in recent times by external and internal enemies to discredit the reality of the Cuban Revolution, its dreams, goals and desires, and the marvelous quality of this people, united by values and by an emancipatory historical project.
Faced with so much hostility, attempts at manipulation and bad intentions that only try to confuse, dismantle processes and put an end to the Revolution, the deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power called to counterpose to it the intelligence, sensitivity, and commitment of the true patriots.
In that first battlefront, Cenesex is marching today, as an institution of the Cuban State in charge of advising on the definition of policies related to the defense of sexual rights, through comprehensive sexuality education and health promotion.
Together with an enthusiastic team of specialists and activists, she also carries out active research, organizing educational and community programs, and carrying out educational campaigns, such as the one she has been promoting for twelve years in the country against homophobia and transphobia.
“That is what we fight against: everything that generates discrimination, inequalities and inequities to humiliate, exclude and take away rights and opportunities,” said Mariela Castro Espín, referring to the essence of the work of the institution she directs, which she rightly called: educate in the sense of freedom.
The twelfth edition of the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia, based in this city, has been a step forward in the effort to make the motto that presides over it a reality: All rights for all people, knowing that, along with the necessary legal changes, a profound process of cultural transformation must also take place.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
It is very likely that these lines will not satisfy any of the parties involved in what happened this Saturday, May 11, in the so-called “independent” LGBTI march from Parque Central to the Havana Malecón, but I feel the obligation to comment on and broaden some of the considerations I have already made in social networks, whatever the risks involved.
As I have already said, I regret the events that occurred almost at the end of the walk through the Prado capital of about 200 people, who despite not having the proper authorization, the police authorities and the Ministry of Interior accompanied and guarded for several blocks of that extensive walk.
It was the EFE agency that reported that within that group there were those who apparently had the intention of provoking an incident, and did not obey the instructions of the police, to be able to create, in front of the cameras, the spectacle that had been proposed. This teaches us once again that LGBTI people must be very clear so that they do not manipulate us or use us for political ends against not only the Revolution, but also our own rights and conquests.
Everything indicates that the bet of some well-known figures of the so-called dissidence, who never worried or occupied themselves with constructive proposals or messages for our rights as LGBTI people, was to dilute the atmosphere even more during this twelfth edition of the Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia, and it is evident that in part they achieved it.
In contrast, however, like the crowded Diversity Party with several hundred attendees, where most of the LGBTI community and its most systematic activists – including participants in the illegal march – were present until almost midnight, it did not merit the same media attention.
But my doubts about this demonstration began long before, and I shared them with several people who were aware of its details, without receiving a convincing answer.
Why call it for Parque Central, in Old Havana, and not in some of the Vedado scenarios where, for eleven years, the Conga against Homophobia and Transphobia has been taking place, and whose cancellation this year was the alleged cause of the call to hold it? What groups are those who have habitually used this area of Parque Central and the Capitolio, to attempt some pale anti-government protest?
The call for the march set a place and time to begin, but it was never clearly stated what the route would be or where the possible participants would go. Wasn’t that definition or was the intention not to go anywhere, but to reach a certain state of massive tension?
If the purpose was to show discontent to the authorities, why didn’t they go to shout “We want the conga”, for example, at the Gala on Friday the 10th at the Karl Marx Theater, where none other than the Secretary of the Council of State, the Ministers of Public Health and Justice, the President of the People’s Supreme Court and the Attorney General of the Republic, among other leaders of the country, were present?
Many criticisms have been generated by the statement of the director of the National Center for Sex Education that behind the organization of this march there were groups of people residing in Miami.
I personally do not know what the origin of this idea was, but I can testify to the ardent enthusiasm and the broad promotion they carried out on social networks, including my Facebook wall, subjects who no longer live in Cuba and systematically devote abundant time and efforts -almost incredible for those who, I suppose, have other daily occupations much more absorbent and unpostponable that capitalism imposes on them-, only to criticize any action or reaction of Cenesex, its specialists and activist networks.
I can also attest -because I greeted them with sincere affection and even took pictures with them- to more than one person known and trained as an activist in the community networks linked to Cenesex who live in the United States and traveled expressly to Havana to be in the Jornadas, and very particularly in this march that did not have official permission.
I am aware of the bad taste that lets us talk about all this. Believe me, it hurts me to do it. Among other reasons, because almost certainly it is very probable that I too am committing some injustice with my perhaps subjective and partial appreciations, even if they are based on the real and objective elements that were within my reach.
In fact, a colleague and friend whose judgment I greatly appreciate and who, for years, has been a participant in my activist and blogging efforts on these issues, has alerted me with sincere concern about the risks to my “credibility as a communicator and activist”, by this taking such an unusual position in me, that I always prefer balance and benevolence when assessing human behavior.
But I refuse to make any kind of personal calculation in the face of such a painful situation, where those of us who are the main victims now want to pass ourselves off as perpetrators. Whatever it is, it will be; even if it implies any individual setback that has little or no relevance.
The least important thing now is to tell the truth, so that in the midst of all this bullshit hope is reborn in a cause that, sooner or later, it will be their turn to continue cultivating and carrying on with other people who will surely do it better than those of us who did it up to this point.
To those who, in good faith, and with legitimate discontent, participated in the walk, I thank you with all my heart. They did what they thought should be done for a just cause, as I have done many other times, not without making mistakes and suffering the consequences. I would never question the intentions of that possible majority of those present, which I am convinced did not premeditate nor could they suppose the provocation in which it finally ended up being involved.
And I say more. Were it not for my close and unconditional commitment to the Organizing Committee of these Days – which brings together so many valuable people who have put all their passion and mind into this collective work, including unspeakable pain when we have not managed to do something like we believe our people want, expect and deserve – and the most information I could have on the evolution and possible consequences of this event, perhaps I would have been in that same fragile position, with my rainbow flag over the Prado.
The negative repercussion of these events demonstrated, however, that the march was not a success, as those who defend their anti-government agendas more than our rights as LGBTI people say, but a serious mistake that we could end up paying for with a very high cost of splits, extremisms, and setbacks in future processes of dialogue, if we are not able to critically analyze what happened and thus draw lessons to overcome it.
For my Party and the Government, I believe that the message has also been very clear.
I explained this in my previous text when I tried to explain how it was the Revolution itself that empowered us and made us aware of our rights in this more than a decade of educational strategy and political struggle against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It facilitated the creation of spaces for our intimate and collective realization -such as that emblematic Conga that was suspended this year-, which we can no longer and do not want to renounce, even if it means defending them from any threat, with the intelligence and courage that we have always been capable of in Cuba throughout our entire history.
To all parties involved in what happened on the Paseo del Prado, even if they are not fully or partially satisfied with these harsh words I have written here, I reiterate that we have no choice but to try to exorcise ourselves from our own demons, restlessness, prejudices, and grudges, and start again to move forward, to heal this temporary wound and continue with the construction of that more just, progressive and inclusive society, to which the vast majority of our people aspire.
I am Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, also known as Paquito, from Cuba; I am a Marti follower and an author; I am a communist and gay journalist; I am a convinced and superstitious atheist; I am the father of a son whom I have adored and have been a partner for fifteen years with a seronegative man who loves me; I have been an AIDS patient since 2003 and am a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than twelve years; I am a university professor and a student of life; a follower of Cuban economic issues and a passionate devourer of universal literature; an incontinent and belligerent moderate; a friend of my friends and a compassionate friend of my enemies; often wrong and never repentant; a hardened and eternal enthusiastic optimist; alive and kicking; in short, another ordinary man who wants to share his story, opinions and desires with you…
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.
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.
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.
CENESEX-THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The original is posted by CENESEX to their FACEBOOK page.
The National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) has been a specialized institution of the Ministry of Public Health since 1988. Its mission is to contribute to the development of comprehensive sexuality education, sexual health and the recognition and guarantee of the population’s sexual rights.
In 2007, CENESEX began to observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and one year later, to hold the Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia, with the aim of promoting the free and responsible exercise of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to educate citizens in respect for sexual rights, always with the participation of State institutions and civil society organizations.
The twelfth edition of the conference (2019) has programmed 29 activities in two provinces of the country (Havana and Camagüey), characterized by the development of academic, community, artistic, recreational and communicational spaces. In addition, initiatives are being carried out in other territories. All this effort is carried out from the Ministry of Public Health and in coordination with the leadership of the Party and the government, in that instance.
Among the most emblematic activities of these celebrations, the conga and the artistic gala are recognized, which have remained since the beginning. This year an adjustment was reported in the program that implies the cancellation of the conga, which has had a wide repercussion that has been widely reflected in social networks.
However, the sharpening of the aggressiveness against Cuba and Venezuela, which in the case of our country has its maximum expression in the activation of Chapter III of the Helms Burton Law, has emboldened groups that, although they already existed, in recent times are trying more forcefully to distort the reality of Cuba. For that purpose, they intend to use our Conga to discredit, divide and replace the true meaning of this activity.
The Conga is not the only resource within the educational and communicational actions to sensitize and mobilize reflections in the citizenry. Those who really want to defend the days can close ranks together with Cenesex and the organizing committee of this twelfth edition, to ensure its successful development, and not join provocations or politically prejudiced attacks.
These actions are promoted fundamentally by some groups that have always been alien and even opposed to the organization of this type of events, and to the role of the public institutions that organize and defend it. Now they use what happened with the conga as a weapon against our institution, and through it, against the State, the government and the Party.
To those who, from activism or because of their sincere civic convictions, feel the logical annoyance and contrariness that motivates this change in the program, we exhort them to maintain calm, to show discipline and responsibility, in order to contribute to the better development and present and future evolution of our Days.
The political and civic maturity of our LGBTI population must prevail over any attempt to distort or sabotage what we have done together for more than a decade. Its greatest expression is the challenges and legislative advances to which we are committed since the proclamation of the new Constitution. This must be our first priority, and therefore is the theme of this and next year’s Jornadas (2019-2020): All Rights for All People under the Rewrite Happiness campaign.
We call, then, to make these Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia a space for unity, in the defense of the Revolution and socialism, as the only social project that defends the true inclusion of all people.
Organizing Committee of the Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia