14ymedio, Havana, 1 March 2020 — This Sunday the web portal of Cuban Television, belonging to the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), apologized to viewers after censoring a scene from the film Love, Simon in which two men kissed.
“Cuban TV offers an apology to the television audience for the mutilation of the scene of the film Love, Simon in the space Pensando en 3D (Thinking 3D) on Saturday, February 29, where the protagonists, two young homosexuals, kissed,” says the note, in an unusual gesture from the official media.
The text also says that “in the face of this error” an analysis of what happened will be carried out because the omission “does not reflect homophobic positions of the ICRT and its directors of the TVC, as some have suggested in social networks.”
They also said that the film will be broadcast “in its entirety” on the same program and that it will be announced “in due course.”
“The inclusive vision of Cuban society pushes daily against cultural stereotypes. It is everyone’s duty to walk on the side of the righteous and move forward as the country that constitutionally recognizes ’the culture of Cubans to the full dignity of man,’” they conclude.
The censorship of the scene unleashed many messages of denunciation in social networks and part of the LGBTI community launched a call for a “kissing protest” in front of the ICRT building this Sunday at one in the afternoon. Several activists denounced State Security pressures after the announcement.
LGBTI activist Isbel Díaz reported on her Facebook page the arbitrary detention of Jancel Morero, a member of that community. “Our colleague and activist Jancel Moreno has been detained by State Security when he was trying to reach the Cuban Radio and Television Institute, and they have taken him to a place far away to prevent him from arriving at the protest.”
To Díaz, the apologies of the institution “once again show” that the Cuban LGBTI community is strong.
“We have on LGBTIQ community in Cuba. And our strength is in the streets, and in the courage of people like Jancel Moreno, about whom we still don’t have information. What they did on TV was not a mistake. Editing a film requires a thousand permits. It is an expression of the system, which after the reactions in social networks, hurries to put a patch on it,” she wrote.
“But that system always has time to intimidate, to violate, to infringe on people’s rights. Censorship on Cuban TV is consistent with the decision to put equal marriage to a referendum. It is all part of the same thing. The strength of 11,000 is more than justified. And we still have a way to go,” denounced Díaz.
Díaz was referring to May 11, 2019 when State Security agents clashed with LGBTI community activists and supporters of this group who went to Havana Central Park to demonstrate in favor of diversity on the Island. At least seven people were violently arrested on that occasion.
Jancel Moreno managed to send a message on Sunday after his arrest in which he claimed that he had been taken to a place he did not know but was far from home.
Art curator Claudia Genlui Hidaldo reported live on Facebook that State Security violently arrested artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara. She also said that she was beaten by a police officer at the moment they both left the house on San Isidro Street, in order to take her cell phone.
“I have been beaten by the police. They took my phone because I was filming what was happening to Luis Manuel and a police officer beat me and threw me in the street,” she said, still upset and nervous.
Both she and Otero Alcántara had denounced that since the morning their home had been under siege with several surveillance points to prevent them from reaching 23rd and M Streets.
Although the kiss protest was canceled, a dozen activists mobilized and arrived at the entrance of the ICRT with flags of the LGBTI community.
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