Cuban Police Admonish Victim of Homophobic Attack for Speaking to Media

José Enrique Morales Besada, 21, was cited by the police for speaking to media about a homophobic attack he suffered. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 January 2018 — José Enrique Morales Besada, victim of a homophobic attack last June, was cited by the police on Friday for having called attention to his case by talking to “many media,” both independent and international, as well as for expressing himself on Facebook.

Morales Besada, 21, was summoned to the police station by a plainclothes officer who visited his grandfather at his workplace. “He told him that he had to go this afternoon to see the head of the National Revolutionary Police Department.”

The young man commented to 14ymedio that throughout the conversation they never told him the reason for the citation, but they emphasized the visibility of his case because of his statements to the press. The official media have not made any mention of the attack on him.

At another moment in the interview, the police officer promised him that his assailants would soon go to trial, and said they they were only waiting for the specialist in maxillofacial surgery who is treating him for the consequences of the beating to give him a medical discharge.

“I felt that their real objective was to show me that something was being done to make me be calm and quiet,” says Morales Besada. So far the young man has no news that his attackers have begun to be prosecuted.

“I do not believe a single word of those promises, they say it just so I won’t give more interviews,” laments the Avilanian. “Until I see the outcome of the trial, I won’t believe in the sudden interest they are showing in my case because they have not done their job well and their idleness toward my situation has been cruel.”

“I am convinced that they [the police] only work when demands and disagreements are made public; staying quiet will never help me,” he said in a telephone conversation.

“I am sure that my statements on Facebook about my case, bringing it to the cold light of day nationally, have resulted in someone from above bringing pressure on them and that’s why they called me in to tell me to calm down,” he explained.

In a video posted on his Facebook page on January 21, Morales Besada affirms that the greatest injuries that the aggression left him were “psychological.” Although he has not overcome the trauma he suffered, he says he feels “quite a bit better.”

In the video the young man criticizes the Cuban system. “Nothing is resolved. This is not going to change, no one does anything to change this,” he says with pessimism.

Morales Besada was attacked by a group of men when he went out to connect to the internet in a park with a Wi-Fi zone. In the middle of the street they hit him in the jaw with a bottle while insulting him with homophobic slurs.

The Cuban penal code does not include mention of “hate crimes” with regards to attacks due to ethnic origin, religion, race, gender, orientation and sexual identity. The latter are not detailed in the current legislation and are processed by the police and the courts like any other crime.

The young man, who had a career as a singer before being a victim of the attack, has asked through social networks for help from Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro and director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex).

However, the victim confirmed to 14ymedio that so far he has not received any news, help or legal advice from Cenesex and has “not even received a call” from that organization, headquartered in Havana.

The official institutions do not publish statistics on murders or violent acts against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. This news only comes to light thanks to social networks, which allow the LGBTI community to make a record of the aggressions and hate crimes against members of this group.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.