The Missteps of the Princess / Claudia Cadelo

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan, from the series "With ham, lettuce and peas"

This is not the first time I felt like telling Mariela Castro* that she should have remained silent. It’s a strange reaction in me, because normally I encourage others to express whatever they want to say. With her, however, it is hard for me, and there is something called decency which — for those who, like her, are public and political figures — is essential.

The first time was when she called Yoani Sanchez an “insignificant ‘cocky hen’.” That a politician would insult a journalist over an uncomfortable question is shameful enough, but that the heiress daughter should allow herself to call a Cuban citizen “insignificant” was, without a doubt, the height of cynicism on the part of our nomenklatura. However, it’s worth mentioning that the question posed by the author of Generation Y was not as uncomfortable as it could have been, and that Mariela’s overreaction is evidence of her allergy to freedom of the press. In my opinion, a truly difficult question would have been, for example, to ask why CENESEX (The National Center for Sex Education) doesn’t present the government with a claim on behalf of the homosexuals who suffered repression and abuse in the sixties, seventies and eighties, and who deserve compensation and an official apology. That question, I believe, would have given our princess a heart attack.

Now, CENESEX has this statement on its home page. It reminds me of a popular joke: The Special Period didn’t benefit me nor harm me, but quite the opposite. It turns out that Cuba has the exclusivity of being the only country in the Americas that “adds its vote to the group of countries that include homosexuality as a crime under the law, including the application of capital punishment for that reason, in five of them.” It’s worth mentioning that CENESEX is the only institution recognized by the government that supposedly represents the rights of homosexuals. What impudence, gentlemen, to read such a phrase on the page of the National Center for Sex Education,” and signed by its director!

*Translator’s note: Mariela Castro is the daughter of Raul, and director of CENESEX.

November 30, 2010