What Rights Are Those Mariela* Proclaims? / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

The 2012 Population and Housing Census has already cataloged many, but is not ended. Like a homophobic and discriminatory action.

Once again we see the bad actions of the Cuban authorities, who on this occasion forgot to erase the traces they left which today are used against them. This time we’re not talking about a simple printing error. All of Cuba is talking about those who made a total of 17 words from the second paragraph on page 47 of the Enumerator’s Instruction Manual disappear, and today quotes those who are absent exposing the institutionalized homophobia of our nation:

“…in this case same sex couples are allowed, if they are cohabitants in the same household”…

These are the words that were crossed off in the instruction book that was printed and which are now replaced with the following works in ink of a different color and not printed:

“… couples must be of different sexes…”

When things like this happen I just wonder: What rights are those Mariela proclaims? When the government of her father is not capable of recognizing the current number of the Cuban LGBT community. Perhaps the uncertain efforts of the regime in Havana are not enough, to push the Cuban parliament to modify a law that benefits this community?  Perhaps the community that today will not be counted in the census properly doesn’t count for the full exercise of their freedoms and in order to orchestrate propaganda campaigns? The fact is that asking this and other questions and coming to the conclusion that many, for their own convenience, in exchange for crumbs prefer silence.

Today I want to join with the different voices that have fallen silent in their dissatisfaction, today I want to congratulate my colleagues in the press, not only independent but also those in the official ranks who were not afraid even for an instant to step out in the face of this homophobic act.

Apparently we all thought it possible that this year things would change, sadly it didn’t happen. But these things aren’t all bad, on the contrary, they are things that make us live every day a new awakening confident that soon we will all be counted.

When this happens it will be because we all count and we have rights and not as now, what’s the use of being counted and what are we going to do with it? If we have no rights in Cuba!

It is because of this I also want to add this phrase being heard in our streets by those who show their discontent: “In my House without Rights, We don’t Count!”

Translator’s note: Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul, leads CENESEX, an organization she founded.

September 17 2012