Five decades have passed since that fateful triumph featuring people dressed in garments of olive green, who descended from the mountain proclaiming a society of equality for all men without distinction of race, creed, political or sexual orientation.
Not many years had passed when they begin to devise on the island the first exclusions from workplaces, educational and government institutions, of those Cubans whose sexual conduct was characterized by the nascent government as shameful and as a practice that tarnished the morals of the Cuban socialist nation.
Our forebears spent years in confinement, forced labor camps, facing acts of repudiation, and in many of the cases were stoned and forced into exile. Separating them from family and friends. Cuban history includes the anecdotes and suffering of Reinaldo Arenas, Virgilio P, Lezama and those who even their names remain in oblivion, or whose bodies lie in the waters of the Straits of Florida or along the Cuban coasts.
Fifty years later, history repeats itself and violations of the respect for human rights continues in Cuba and have again targeted the Cuban LGBT community. The same ruler act as if they have changed the practice of such violations, but when they come for analysis the situation facing this community in Cuba is the same.
The lack of spaces, of freedom of expression, freedom of association, free movement and the right to establish a relationship or marry in equality of rights, the right to decide the opportune moment to make your family aware of your sexual orientation, all these are some of the constant violations facing the LGBT Community in Cuba.
Meanwhile, State institutions like the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) directed by Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of the current president of the nation, proclaim to the world uncertain openings that guarantee the full respect of the human rights of the LGBT community, the reality of the Island is otherwise, which they don’t hesitate to silence out of fear of losing the great sums of money given for phantom projects that respond only to the interest of the Cuban State and not to those of the LGBT community in Cuba.
On the island there are daily reports of the arrests of LGBT people accompanied by heavy fines, deportations, in the case of homosexuals, from the capital Havana, extortion or blackmail by the police or law enforcement officers to purchase their own benefit at the suffering of those who fall into their hands. Beatings, arrests, instant and arbitrary searches in public places occur.
During year 2010 there is evidence of layoffs due to sexual orientation, layoffs of members of this community not following the current government’s political thought or simply for maintaining a friendship with someone who was an activist for the LGBT rights.
The violence resulted in the deaths from assaults of six homosexual in unknown conditions. We denounced the death of a young transvestite in a police cell from negligence and inattention. The dismissal from her work of a transsexual woman, Wendy Iriepa Diez for wanting to unite in marriage to a human rights activist. The arrest of homosexuals in public places, the ongoing siege for alleged homosexual tourism among others.
We continue to denounce the abuse of prison sentences between two and four years imprisonment or forced labor to those homosexuals who wander at night through the streets of Cuba, those who ingest alcohol and even those who are maintained by their families and do not choose to work with the Cuban state.
Cuba is a country where, according to the authorities, Cuban citizens are not prepared to face changes such as marriage between people of the same gender, or adoption or cohabitation. Meanwhile we Cubans ask the leader of these explanations where are your criteria, if when we walk in the street people smile at us and on occasion congratulate us for our sexual orientation, if not for our great humanism.
The truly guilty with regards to the constant violations of the rights of the Cuban LGBT Community face are the State and it institutions, armies of homophobics and discriminators. There is, in our nation, no power or persons more exclusionary than our leaders.
The growth of male prostitution, in the community of men having sex with other men, shows at this time in the large number of infections by HIV/AIDS in the history of the illness in Cuba, 8 or every 10 people with HIV are men.
Despite the totalitarianism, despite the iron hand of the power of the State, the Cuban LGBT Community today is rising from the ashes like a phoenix showing its beautiful plumage which, on this occasion, has the colors of our unequaled flag demanding and recovering all the spaces usurped by the power and the lies.
February 20 2012