14ymedio, Havana, 21 January 2019 — A “Kiss-In” organized by the LGBT community last Saturday, in front of an evangelical church on 25th and K streets in Havana, ended with several activists and independent journalists threatened by the political police, according to reports that reached the editorial office of 14ymedio.
State Security threatened to expel Jancel Moreno, a medical student and one of the activists who launched the call on social media, from the university if he attended the public action. “I was threatened with my career, telling me I could be arrested,” he explained.
On Friday night, two State Security officials told the 19-year-old that the counterrevolution was looking to “put on a show” with the Kiss-In and that he could end up being arrested if “the police arrive and pick up everyone.”
Other activists and a journalist from this newspaper also received threats from the political police to not approach the place of the event. “If you go, you’ll spend all day at a police station,” a State Security official assured the reporter.
The Kiss-In is part of a campaign to reject the actions of various religious denominations against same-sex marriage in Cuba. Evangelical groups have organized marches and distributed propaganda of support for the “original design of the family.”
Despite police pressures, on Sunday some activists arrived in front of the church. Among them was the designer Roberto Ramos Mori, who took a photograph with two other friends a few meters from the entrance. “There was a police operation and a lot of cars, but no one messed with us,” he told this newspaper.
A police operation was maintained throughout the weekend in the vicinity of the church and, as told to 14ymedio by some neighbors, the atmosphere “was tense.”
The trigger for this initiative was the publication in social media of a music video produced by the church with a strong homophobic aspect. The audiovisual was denounced on Facebook by LGBT groups that consider its content as inciting hatred.
Ramos Mori believes that when the song calls to extract “evil, yes, but by the root” it promotes violent actions, a message reinforced because “while stating that phrase the singer runs his hand across his neck as a threatening sign.”
Towards the end of last year, on the eve of the National Assembly approving the draft of the new constitution, a score of Protestant churches came together to sign a document where they stated their position on marriage between people of the same sex.
The evangelicals affirmed in their declaration that “the family, as the word of God teaches, is a divine institution through marriage as the exclusive union between a man and a woman.” They also alleged that “equal marriage is totally incompatible with the thinking of the Fathers of our country.” Finally the religious group managed to collect 180,000 signatures in opposition to Article 68 in their places of worship.
The National Assembly did not approve the inclusion of the controversial Article in the proposal for the new constitution, yet another reason that LGBT activists have found to mobilize before a scenario they consider unfavorable for that community.
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
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