Proud Promenade

327186370Today, the Paseo del Prado runs between the historic town full of tourists and that other part of the overpopulated and dysfunctional city that is Central Havana. The lion sculptures on each corner show the nobility of old, the former dream of grandeur that caressed the nation at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the park lived through times of outright neglect–perhaps for having been conceived and built during the Republic–some years ago the Prado underwent a process of restoration that improved the tree cover and repaired some lampposts. But not even in the most neglected times did its bronze felines cease to be an obligatory reference for those who came from the provinces and wanted to bring back a photo of their stay in the capital. Perhaps it is precisely this history of splendor and neglect that has made the Paseo del Prado the chosen site to celebrate Gay Pride Day in Cuba. A community degraded, for decades trapped between a machismo culture and the repressive politics of the State, wants to take to the streets on June 28 at three in the afternoon. The call has been launched by an alternative group that protects the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

It’s worth noting that in recent years Cuba has advanced with respect to differences in sexual orientation, but from there to permitting the Cuban LGBT community to spontaneously join together and take to the streets to celebrate its diversity is a long stretch. Until now, the campaigns to accept plurality in the choice of whom to love have been kept within the hands of official institutions, without letting those whose interests are represented represent themselves. This, of course, characterizes the broad inability of free association suffered by our society at all levels.

In a gesture of celebration and joy, the promoters of the Gay Pride Day celebration have spread the invitation for weeks. Having chosen the Paseo del Prado as a site for the event benefits and protects them, because the tourists with their restless cameras, curious children frolicking on all sides, the unsuspecting lovebirds embracing on the benches, will be witnesses to this parade of diversity. And the lions, ah, the lions! They will have their moment of glory once again, among brightly colored flags, streamers, and handshakes. The claws and manes cast in the bronze of a past war will seem less aggressive, with a lower dose of testosterone, and with a bit more of the sparkle of life.


38 thoughts on “Proud Promenade

  1. Anonimo! This blog is ABOUT CUBA! NOT THE USA’s PAST! CAPISH?

  2. Post 22 of course the poster is wrong. She has always been wrong. People who sell their beliefs instead of knowledge are always wrong. Infamous are english and usanian experiments on homosexuals, particularly in the first decades of the 20th century. In order to experiment, they have herded up homosexuals into mental institution under the justification that homosexualism was an “immoral” mental sickness that can and should be treated.

    Hitler continued that trend.

    usa continued to experiment in 50’s and 60’s on homosexuals, culminating with creation of deadly HIV strain, a common virus in Africa that does not represent any danger to humans. The original african virus.

    But, the supporters of the team “yoani” are hell-bent fanatics whose knowledge cannot jup over the hump that their ignorance and blind hatred have built over their own brains.

  3. Sandokan, it’s like finding out your priest, father, brother or best friend is a rapist or murderer, of course you’ll want to think about other things or believe they’re innocent. The socialists have been running out of Socialists to love, only Fidel and the North Korean dude left. Or rather, since the Castros are waving the white flag and embracing capitalism, the socialists will have to regroup in great people’s republic of North Korea.

  4. There are so few positive things to say about communist dictatorships like Cuba, achieved at the cost of the loss of basic freedoms associated with self determination, that leftists everywhere have no choice but to point out flaws in other countries to keep some of their self-respect

  5. REUTERS : Cuba plans limited housing and auto market

    Cuba will authorize limited housing and car markets by 2012, the Communist party newspaper Granma said on Friday, a move awaited by local residents since the early 1960s when home and most auto sales were banned.

    Granma, reporting on a recent meeting of top level party, government and other officials, said Cubans would still be prohibited from owning more than one home. But for the first time, they could buy and sell the dwellings with minimal government interference.

    A ban on the buying and selling of cars registered after the 1959 Revolution will be completely lifted, Granma said, as will the prohibition on owning more than one vehicle.

    The measures will not apply to foreigners unless they are permanent residents.

    Cubans will have to pay a still undefined tax on the transactions and, in the case of homes, carry sales out through a state bank.

    Regulations restricting inheritance and donations of a home will also be significantly loosened, Granma said. The changes would make it easier to sell property or pass it on to relatives upon death or before moving to another country, avoiding the now frequent confiscations by the state.

    While there is legal home ownership in socialist Cuba, property owners cannot lawfully sell their houses. They can only do a swap, or “permuta,” for another home, supposedly of equal value.

    A thriving “permuta” market exists, and it is not unusual for money to be exchanged, but only under the table.

    Car ownership in Cuba is permitted for a relatively privileged few, among them artists and athletes who have worked abroad, and doctors who have served overseas medical missions.

    There is an exception for cars that predate the 1959 Revolution, mostly vintage American models that can be bought and sold freely by anyone. Long gone from roads in the rest of the world, they are still widely used as taxis in Cuba.

    Plans to liberalize the sale of personal property were announced at a Communist Party Congress earlier this year upon the adoption of economic reforms. But they were moving ahead slowly due to the mountain of laws and regulations that existed, Granma said. The new deadline is the close of 2011, Granma said.

    The news was music to the ears of most local residents who have bought and sold their homes and cars under the table for years and have complained about the bureaucracy and corruption that has grown up around the restrictions.

    “It’s great, and now all those people who have made our lives miserable and turned the regulations into a way to make money might have to earn a living,” Marlen, a Havana nurse, quipped. She asked that her last name not be used.

    Granma said authorization for buying and selling property would be performed by licensed notaries in the future, avoiding months and years of waiting for approval from various ministries and other government bodies.

    (Editing by Jeff Franks)

  6. Thanks Humberto I had been trying to put up the preceding post since about 17:00 here in Cortez and no luck, kept getting a “503 error” from the server until I followed your advice and removed the link to the Miami Herald article.

  7. #20 Good work Humberto, here is another link to the feedback from those that were at the U2 concert in Miami last night…

    Here is what Bono said regarding Oscar Elias Biscet during the concert.

    ““A beautiful man, a doctor who spent time in the prisons of Cuba. He was released. His name is Doctor Biscet.”…. “I want you to hold him up and let everyone in Cuba know he is special to us and we are watching, we are watching. Hold him in your thoughts. Hold him in your prayers,” Bono declared.”

    We are watching! The world is watching and no matter how the Castroites lies are spun the truth is there for all to see. Abajo Castro.


    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Chavez says surgery removed tumor in Cuba- By IAN JAMES
    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told his countrymen Thursday night he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor but is recovering, seeking to cool growing questions about his health and ability to govern.

    Chavez said in a televised talk that the operation took out a growth in which there were “cancerous cells.” He said the surgery was done after an initial June 10 operation for the removal of a pelvic abscess.

    He called his situation “this new battle that life has placed before us.”

    Clearly thinner and apparently paler after his surgeries, Chavez read from a prepared speech with a serious expression. He stood at a podium, flanked by the Venezuelan flag and a portrait of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, the namesake of his Bolivarian Revolution political movement.

    It was unclear what type of cancer is involved or what Chavez’s treatment will be. He said it had been a “fundamental error” to not have taken better care of his health through medical checks.

    “What a fundamental error,” Chavez said.

    Chavez did not say how much longer he expected to remain in Cuba recovering.

    He said the first surgery was for a “strange formation in the pelvic region that required an emergency operation due to the imminent risk of a generalized infection.”

    After that surgery, Chavez said, doctors began to suspect other problems. A series of tests “confirmed the presence of an abscessed tumor with the presence of cancerous cells, which made necessary a second operation that allowed for the complete extraction of the tumor,” he said.

    Chavez said his condition has been “evolving satisfactorily while I receive a complementary treatment to combat the different types of cells found, and thereby continue on the path to my complete recovery.”

    His appearance came after government efforts, including Tuesday’s release of photos and video showing Chavez with Fidel Castro, failed to quell growing speculation among Venezuelans that he may be seriously ill.

    His aides and family had tried to assure the country that the socialist president was recovering well from his surgery for the pelvic abscess, but they provided no details about his condition and gave no specific time for his return home.

    There was no information on when and where Chavez’s message was recorded.

    Chavez finished with a revolutionary slogan often used by his mentor, Fidel Castro: “Forever onward toward victory! We will be victorious!”

    Before finishing, he added: “Until my return!”

    After his appearance, some of his closest allies went on state television. National Assembly president Fernando Soto Rojas, standing alongside other supporters, said Chavez is in good hands in Cuba.

    “We wish for him to get better soon! Onward, commander!”

    Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez contributed to this report.

  9. The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

    Cuban Democracy Activist Honored by NDI Nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize- June 30, 2011

    Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, recipient of NDI’s 2002 W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his peaceful efforts to guarantee fundamental human rights for all Cuban citizens. For years, the Cuban government and its supporters have sought to discredit pro-democracy activists in Cuba by linking them to U.S government-funded democracy programs in order to denounce their home-grown initiatives as driven by foreign interests. NDI has been accused of channeling U.S. government funding to Payá for his grassroots efforts in Cuba, which is categorically false. NDI has sought to spread international awareness about the courageous efforts of Payá and other Cuban democracy activists, and welcomes his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  10. Mariela Castro stated to the international press that in Cuba there is debate on sexual diversity. Homosexuality, however, remains a taboo for Cuban society and a problem silenced by the government and its mass media. This article is proof of it


  12. ANONIMO! grasping at straws also clutching at straws 1. trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work 2. trying to find reasons to feel hopeful about a bad situation

  13. MIAMI HERALD : Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet says the praise from Bono at a Miami South Florida concert was for the Cuban people overall.- By Juan O. Tamayo

    Cuba’s leading dissident, Oscar Elias Biscet, said he “was shaking with happiness” as he learned Thursday that rock star and social activist Bono had sung his praises during a jam-packed U2 concert in Miami.

    The 73,000-strong audience at the Sun Life stadium roared with delight Wednesday when Bono urged support for the 49-year-old Biscet and declared that “some day soon Cuba will be free.”

    “As you read me what he said, I was shaking with happiness because it showed it’s good when one is chosen as a symbol of his people,” Biscet told El Nuevo Herald, which first told him of Bono’s comments.

    “He’s praising not me but all my people, all Cubans,” he added in a telephone interview from his home in Havana. “And I agree that Cuba will be free, if people like Bono join the cause” of human rights on the island.

    Biscet, a physician awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2008, was released from prison in March after serving eight years of a 25-year sentence for “acts against the sovereignty and independence” of Cuba.

    Bono praised Biscet during a segment of the U2 concert where the Irish band pays homage to human rights and people walk around the stage carrying paper lanterns with the symbol of the London-based Amnesty International.

    “We’d like to do something we’ve never done before,” Bono announced as he asked the audience to hold up their hands during the song Walk On. “A beautiful man, a doctor who spent time in the prisons of Cuba. He was released. His name is Doctor Biscet.

    “I want you to hold him up and let everyone in Cuba know he is special to us and we are watching, we are watching. Hold him in your thoughts. Hold him in your prayers,” Bono declared.

    “It was a very moving moment,” said Republican Party consultant Ana Navarro, who was at the concert. “Obviously, a lot of the people in the audience were Cuban American and were Hispanic, and felt good about the expression of solidarity.”

    Bono had met last week in Washington with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Sen. Marco Rubio, both Florida Republicans who urged the multi-cause activist to take note of Cuba’s long history of human rights abuses.

    Diaz-Balart wrote in an email to Navarro that he had specifically spoken with Bono about Biscet and Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the political prisoner who died in 2010 following a lengthy hunger strike.

    Diaz-Balart and his brother, former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, also had met with Bono last year just before a concert in Miami, part of the band’s “U2 360 Tour,’’ which was cancelled when the lead singer underwent emergency back surgery.

    During Wednesday’s concert, a video showing images of political violence, including the so-called Arab Spring uprisings against Middle East dictators, was projected over the stage as the band played the song Sunday bloody Sunday.

    Another video of Myanmar dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, only recently freed by her Asian country’s military rulers after years of house arrest, was shown during the song Walk On.

    Bono sparked a loud roar and applause from the audience when he mentioned Biscet, even though there was no image or video of the Havana doctor, according to concert goers.

    “That was really powerful,” said Alvaro Hernandez, a Miami Dade College student who left Cuba eight years ago. “That guy is famous around the world, and his mention of Cuba is like shinning a big light on the Castro dictatorship.’’

    Biscet is one of the more than 125 political prisoners freed over the past year as part of the Cuban Catholic Church’s unprecedented mediation with the communist government of Raúl Castro. Almost all went directly from prison to exile in Spain, but Biscet and 11 others insisted on staying in Cuba — and were the last to be released.

    Now chairman of the Lawton Foundation for human rights, Biscet became a dissident in the mid-1990s, when he alleged that many infants were being killed after being delivered alive during abortions. Cuba has Latin America’s highest abortion rate.

    Police detained Biscet 27 times for brief periods between February of 1998 and November of 1999, when he was sentenced to three years in prison for organizing a peaceful march just before a Havana summit from leaders of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations.

    He was freed in late 2002 but was arrested again 37 days later and was tried during the massive crackdown in 2003, known as Cuba’s Black Spring, when 75 dissidents were sentenced to lengthy prison terms after trials that seldom lasted more than a few hours.

  14. THE WASHINGTON POST : Cuba’s economic czar leads new political generation that stands to inherit power from Castros

    HAVANA — When Raul Castro acknowledged recently that it was time to hand power over to younger leaders, few were expecting the 80-year-old president to name somebody even older than himself as his No. 2.

    But at least one figure from Cuba’s post-Revolution Baby Boom is on the rise: Marino Murillo Jorge has been charged with implementing make-or-break economic reforms that are designed to both loosen the state’s ironclad control and save Cuban socialism.

    The blunt-talking, 50-year-old economist stands at the head of a very small class of relatively prominent, relatively youthful Cuban officials who have broken out of obscurity and taken up positions alongside the silver-haired generation that has ruled this island since 1959.

    A stocky man in an XXL guayabera shirt, Murillo is more technocrat than charismatic orator, but he just might have a key role in the island’s post-Castro future — if he stays in favor that long.

    Murillo’s age sets him apart from most of the other 14 members of the Communist Party’s ruling council, which is headed by Castro and First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, also an octogenarian.

    Rapid ascent has sometimes been perilous under Fidel and Raul Castro. In 2009, two rising stars thought to be possible successors, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Vice President Carlos Lage, were fired and shamed in the official news media before disappearing from the public eye.Still, Raul Castro said at a Party Congress in April that the time is near when a new generation of leaders must take the reins, and he announced term limits for all political offices. He said officials erred in the past by promoting the wrong young people, not by undercutting them, and that leadership changes could be in store at a party gathering in January 2012.

    “The very top level of government and party leadership remains almost entirely in the hands of the revolutionary generation, of the oldest generation,” said Philip Peters, a Cuba analyst with the Virgina-based Lexington Institute. “So the task remains to bring younger leaders into the top leadership.”

    And yet the only two new appointments to the national party’s ruling council in April are relatively young: Murillo and 46-year-old Havana Communist Party boss Mercedes Lopez Acea. Up-and-comers in influential positions elsewhere include Lazaro Exposito, the 50-something regional party chief in Santiago de Cuba, and Miguel Diaz Canel, the 51-year-old higher education minister. Both Exposito and Diaz took up those posts in 2009 under Raul Castro’s government.

    Murillo is Raul Castro’s economic czar, tasked with guiding Cuba through what is arguably its greatest challenge since the “special period” of the early 1990s, when billions in aid and trade from Moscow disappeared along with the Soviet Union.


  15. A little more:

    Castrofascism is the only regime in world’s history that created concentration camps for homosexuals, the infamous UMAPs…… Unidades Militares de Apoyo a la Produccion (UMAP) in English: Military Unities to Support Production. Those killing camps were concentration camps where homosexuals were confined and enslaved. People send to UMAPs worked the roughest task in mines, agriculture or construction. Thousands died because the hard work regime, infrahuman life conditions and poor feeding. It was famous the UMAP camp ruled by Che Guevara in the middle of the jungle in Cuba’s most west point Cabo de San Antonio, a mosquitoes-alligators infested swamp where prisoners used to work in design, art or media were made to work to dead as lumberjacks or clearing land. Guevara hang a sign over barracks main door that said: TO WORK WILL MAKE THEM STRIGHT……… if I am wrong and someone have information about other regimes committing same crime on homosexuals, please, let me know.
    In the macho-sadistic mentality of castro and his followers for a heterosexual person to be placed together with homosexuals in jail must be an extra punishment, that’s why many anti-castro fighters and dissidents were sent to UMAP.
    UMAP were an affective dissuasive tool for some weak dissenters in spite of their sexual orientation….. best example of this is Silvio Rodriguez who “learned” the lesson in UMAP and became one of the most disgusting exponents of the art bended to a tyrant by terror.

  16. Castrofascism is the only regime in world’s history that created concentration camps for homosexuals, the infamous UMAPs…… if I am wrong and someone have information about other regimes doing the same crime, please, let me know.

  17. Good for Bono and U2.
    That kind of support is important, to make people around the world aware of what is happening in Cuba, and break the Castro propaganda.

  18. YOUTUBE : Cuba: Bono de U2 have homenaje a Oscar Elias Biscet en concierto Miami (Cuba: Bono from U2 pays homage to dissident Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet in Miami concert)

    MIAMI HERALD BLOG: The Bono-Diaz Balart connection: a free Cuba, Dr. Biscet
    At last night’s U2 concert, surrounded by Amnesty International candles, Bono told the crowd of the struggles of Dr. Oscar Biscet, doing 25 years time in a Cuban prison for human-rights work. Background here. Bono has been personally lobbied on the Biscet’s cause by Miami Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, who met with the rock star last week and last year to raise awareness of human-rights issues, Biscet and Orlando Zapata, another jailed activist who died in 2010 after staging a hunger strike on the island. Diaz-Balart’s brother, former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, has also met with Bono (who paid a visit last week to Sen. Marco Rubio in D.C.).

    After the shoutout, Republican fundraiser Ana Navarro told Rep. Diaz-Balart about it via email.

    Navarro says Bono didn’t limit his song to Cuban political prisoners. He also highlighted the plight of Myanmar’s jailed moral leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

    “He also dedicated, It’s Beautiful Day to Gabby Giffords and featured a video from Mark Kelly which was recorded when he was on space shuttle, some weeks ago, where he sent a message of optimism to the world and a special message of love to his wife. It was quite moving,” Navarro said in an email.

    Giffords is one of the few survivors in the Tucson shooting rampage earlier this year.

  19. Raulito Castro has spoken of his relief at coming out as a gay man Mariela declared to the press how proud she is of her daddy for finally coming put of the closet and feels very sad her mum Vilma didn’t live long enough to see it happen.Now and finally thanks to lesbians and maricas Cuba is a FREE COUNTRY, celebrate all of you idiots amd join the parade.

  20. Since my previous post is still waiting moderation, I will just remind some posters who complain of being censored to stop usurping other people’s identities. Not only is it against the rules (see post #4), it is a sign of a very slimy person. I realize Castro’s goons have to lie, insult, attack, but please retain a bit of decency and do it under your own nicknames.

  21. Interesting Comrade Komar, here I’ll re-post something from the moderator at the same time you were “censored”:

    “Junio 28th, 2011 at 16:07
    To Love Cuba: You are correct… another commentator posted under your name. I have banned that IP address from the comments section.”

    Any relation?

    I also noticed that in your screenshot is another flagrant lie. In your original referenced post you claimed an incarceration rate of 155/100000 in Cuba, which you lie about in the screenshot post.

    You do that a lot, make a claim and then claim you never made it in a further post. But you’re not alone, a lot of socialist posters do that.

    You also post an enormous amount here for a person who has been “censored” and who claims this blog has only 1 and a half readers. Why so much effort?

    Please see post #4 below for the rules for posting.


    AHORA CUBA: US Policy against Cuba: War without Bullets

    A media war against Cuba? It is as real as the economic blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than 50 years. They have tried to distort a situation that can be easily understood with a serene analysis.

    A quick glance at the international media or social networks is enough to see how the enemy weaves a “web” in its attempt to discredit, in a shameless way, the Cuban process towards socialism, and Cuba’s outstanding leaders and press.

    The first conclusion that can be made is that the large media corporations conceal the internal achievements of Cuba, while manipulating the facts about the transformation process underway to develop a more suitable social and economic model given the current conditions in the country.

    The corporate media only focuses on the dark part of the story, the inefficiency and terrible errors made by men. And although there does exist problems perhaps due to past tolerance and inertia, today these obstacles are being faced by a society called to renew its thinking in order to transform a 50-year-old context, which is full with positive experience.


  23. Pamela (or anyone reading this), if you dont own a copy you can rent or even better watch on YOUTUBE the segments of the documentary “Improper Conduct” , is a GREAT CONTEXT to the “Before Night Falls” film. Not only is “Improper Conduct” (Mauvaise Conduite) a great documentary, but it will stand in Cuban history as a testament of the CASTROFASCISTS ATTROCITIES against its own PEOPLE! It’s pretty FUNNY/SAD at the same time! JUST LIIKE THE CUBAN EXPERIENCE!

  24. Humberto, I’m going to watch Before Night Falls this evening (I own a copy!). I love this movie, what an amazing performance by Javier Bardem.


    Before Night Falls is a 2000 film directed by Julian Schnabel. The screenplay is based on the autobiography of the same name of Reinaldo Arenas, which was published in English in 1993.[1] The screenplay was written by Schnabel, Cunningham O’Keefe, and Lázaro Gómez Carriles. The film stars Javier Bardem, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, Johnny Depp, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Santiago Magill, and Michael Wincott. The film had its world premiere at the 2000 Venice International Film Festival and its North American premiere at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival.[2]

    Before Night Falls is based on the autobiography of the same name by Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. In the film, Arenas, who was openly gay, is born in Oriente in 1943 and raised by his single mother and her parents, who soon move the entire family to Holguín. After moving to Havana in the sixties to continue his studies, Reinaldo begins to explore his ambitions, as well as his sexuality. After receiving an honorary mention in a writing contest, Arenas is offered the chance to publish his first work. Through his work and friendships with other openly gay men (such as Pepe Malas and Tomas Diego), Arenas manages to find himself.

    The political climate in Cuba becomes increasingly dangerous, and in the early seventies Arenas is arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting minors, and for publishing abroad without official consent. In the next decade, Arenas is in and out of prison, attempting and failing to leave the country several times.

    In 1980, Arenas finally leaves Cuba for the US, starting a new life with his close friend and lover Lazaro Gomez Carilles. A few years later, Arenas is diagnosed with AIDS, and after spending several years suffering, passes away in 1990 with the help of Lazaro.

  26. Tell us about the new Chavez vacation plan. Maybe he will get in line for Vice president ?

  27. Mauvaise Conduite or Improper Conduct is the title of a 1984 documentary film directed by Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez Leal. The documentary interviews Cuban refugees to explore the Cuban government’s imprisonment of homosexuals, political dissidents, and Jehovah’s Witnesses into concentration camps under its policy of Military Units to Aid Protection. The documentary was produced with the support of French television Antenne 2 and won the Best Documentary Audience Award at the 1984 San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

    Conducta Impropria – Improper Conduct (Part 5)

  28. According to the World Policy Institute (2003), the Cuban government prohibits LGBT organizations and publications, gay pride marches and gay clubs.[14] All officially sanctioned clubs and meeting places are required to be heterosexual. The only gay and lesbian civil rights organization, the Cuban Association of Gays and Lesbians, which formed in 1994, was closed in 1997 and its members were taken into custody.[15] Private gay parties, named for their price of admission, “10 Pesos”, exist but are often raided. In 1997, Agencia de Prensa Independiente de Cuba (the Cuban Independent Press Agency) reported, that Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and French designer Jean Paul Gaultier were among several hundred people detained in a raid on Havana’s most popular gay discothèque, El Periquiton.[16]

  29. For the loser Yugoslavian Damir.
    You are in the wrong blog.
    This blog is about Cuba, what is happening in Cuba and Cubans issues. Not about the problems of other countries or their social systems.
    We Cubans, have problems to solve in Cuba, problems we want to make public. All this in the interest of this blog.
    If you don’t have any posting regarding Cuba, the violation of human rights in Cuba or arbitraries of the Castro regime, please go to another blog where you can post your different interests.

  30. “Someone sure gets up very early to post on a blog that he repeatedly cries is useless.”

    And which he assures us has a maximum of 3 readers. Minus himself, that would make a maximum of 2 of us that he is preaching to.

  31. Someone sure gets up very early to post on a blog that he repeatedly cries is useless.

  32. Yes, let us promote the truth about “some kind of pragmatic cpitalism” and free Cubans from falling into the trap of deception!


    Read what Rio Tinto did and still denies they did it (the civil war) in Papua New Guinea so that they can mine copper and gold there. And do not miss the story about “free” usanians living in the tunnels under Las Vegas.

    Oh, the beautiful paradise and freedom called “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”!!!

    Let the true poverty and violence come!!!

  33. Rules for commenting:

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    Please note:
    These rules have been posted before and will be posted again as necessary.

    Clearly, as in the recent incident, posting your comments under the name of another commentator on the blog is not the same as simply picking a new nick. It is completely outside the norms of commenting, it is an attack on the person whose identity has been stolen, and a deception targeted to everyone who reads the comments on the blog.

  34. The way to help the Cuban LGTB to put an end to their misery by their counterparts in other parts of the world is by helping themselves to avoid falling into similar predicaments by being easy prey of deceptive political systems. They should learn as much as they can about the realities of their counterparts trapped in Cuba. Promoting the truth about them will set them free.

  35. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD : Gay Cubans ‘stroll’ for rights- By JUAN O. TAMAYO

    MIAMI A small group of “independent” Cuban gays and lesbians strolled down a Havana boulevard Tuesday to celebrate Gay Pride Day – and mark their distance from pro-government LGBT groups controlled by Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela.

    Waving rainbow-colored flags, dozens of LGBT activists and supporters joined what was described as Cuba’s first gay street demonstration not sponsored by the government in recent memory. The event drew a strong police presence but went off without incident.
    Leannes Imbert, whose Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Observatory organized the event, had said that she was inviting everyone, even Mariela Castro, to the stroll – not a protest or a march because those might have required police permits.

    But the event was clearly designed to highlight differences with the “official” LGBT groups backed by the first daughter, who has argued that Gay Pride parades are “protests” not needed in Cuba because the country’s laws protect gay rights.
    The stroll also highlighted the growing activism of varied independent groups – gays, blacks and farmers, among others – seeking a stronger voice in the nation’s affairs as the communist government tries to overhaul a stumbling economy.

    “People are a bit more daring each day. We’re hearing critical expressions that were unthinkable before,” blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote in a Tweet as she joined the 90-minute demonstration.

    In turn, the independent groups are receiving growing attention abroad. Imbert attended former President Jimmy Carter’s meeting with civil society leaders in Havana in March, and the U.S. State Department is planning to spend $300,000 this year to help the LGBT community in Cuba.

    Imbert told reporters after the event that Mariela Castro and her National Center for Sex Education, or CENESEX, in Havana had organized several events Tuesday to divert attention from the stroll. Security officials also had warned gay-rights activists in recent days to stay away from the Observatory’s event.

    Several calls by McClatchy Newspapers to Imbert’s cellphone Tuesday appeared to have been blocked.

    In an interview published earlier on the website Cuba Encuentro, she declared that her group organized the stroll primarily to cast a spotlight on the LGBT community in Cuba, “which has been in the shadow for so long.”

    She acknowledged some improvements in gay rights in recent years but argued that not all the credit should go to Mariela Castro, who has been the face and the voice of the pro-government LGBT community on the island for more than a decade.

    “This is the time when we have to come out into the light and show everyone the LGBT community in Cuba, which is not only CENESEX,” Imbert was quoted as saying.

    The Observatory will “demand” respect for the rights of gay Cubans, she added, “which up to now have been denied. There are many violations still – although the form has changed somewhat if we compare it to past years.”

    Herb Sosa, head of the Unity Coalition, a Hispanic gay-rights group based in South Florida, remained skeptical of the Observatory, arguing that if the Cuban government allowed the stroll it must be part of a government propaganda effort.

    “Almost every day I get reports of LGBT community people being beaten, arrested, dragged off to jail because there’s no freedom of expression at all in Cuba,” Sosa told McClatchy Newspapers.

    Imbert told Cuba Encuentro that police have broken up efforts to mark Gay Pride Day in past years and pointed out the stroll was held on Paseo del Prado – a pedestrian boulevard in central Havana where police cannot accuse participants of disrupting traffic.

    New York author Armando Lopez recalled in a column in May, shortly after Mariela Castro had led a CENESEX-organized conga line down Havana streets for her version of a Gay Pride march, that Fidel Castro had harshly attacked gays in a 1963 speech.

    “Homophobia became state policy” that year, Lopez wrote, quoting Castro as saying that gays “use public spaces to organize their feminoid shows … Socialist society cannot permit such degenerate actions.”

    Castro added, “I always noticed that the countryside never gave rise to that sub-product.” Two years later, he sent thousands of gays, priests and others he did not want to draft into the military to the notorious hard labor camps known as UMAP.

    Cuban gays, Lopez added, “are victims of an absurd revolution. Just like you and me, my dear reader.”

  36. AFP : Cuba’s gay pride parade: big debut, few marchers

    HAVANA — There were just a handful, but the dozen Cubans who took part in the country’s first Gay Pride rally Tuesday celebrated one more step on the country’s road to gay rights recognition.
    “We are not asking for anything, we’re only celebrating the fact that Cuba voted at the United Nations in favor of recognizing the rights of the gay community,” said Ignacio Estrada, one of the leaders of the Cuban Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People’s Rights Watch Group.

    The short march — along the 500 meters (1,600 feet) of Prado Avenue towards the seaside boulevard, the Malecon — took place without incident and broke up amid music and dancing under the amused eye of passers-by and tourists.

    Cuba’s Center for Sexual Education, directed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro, celebrates a “day against homophobia” every year, but this was the first time a Gay Pride march was held in downtown Havana.

    It is not an insignificant whiff of tolerance in a country in which the Communist Party singlehandedly controls the government, the media and almost all of the cash-strapped economy.

    For decades under the Americas’ only one-party communist government, gays faced both traditional social and government ostracism, and often tried to hide. Some wound up in prison, and many went into exile.

    That began to change mainly in the past decade, with more modern official media education about gays and lesbians.

    Yet, said Leannes Imbert, another director of the rights watch group, “discrimination unfortunately still exists in Cuba, we are turned down for certain jobs, and there are hassles of all other kinds as well.

    “We’re trying to do the real work of a revolution, to ‘change what must be changed,'” said Imbert, quoting an expression made famous by Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

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