We Were All At Pulse

Christopher Sanfeliz and Alejandro Barrios, show to death by Omar Mateen at the gay nightclub Pulse. (Facebook)

Christopher Sanfeliz and Alejandro Barrios, show to death by Omar Mateen at the gay nightclub Pulse. (Facebook)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, 15 June 2016 – The news mourned on Sunday, a week that ripped apart and will forever mark the lives of the victims’ families. The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, became a death trap for dozens of people at the mercy of a madman. The motivations that led Omar Seddique Mateen to kill 49 human beings and injure another 53 are still being investigated, but solidarity does not need to wait for FBI reports or summations, it should be immediate and unhesitating.

The official Cuban press has treated the fact that the event took place in a gay establishment with omissions and squeamishness. The prudery on television and in the national periodicals, with this silence, only promotes homophobia and belies their own discourse of changes. This absence is also noted in the condolence message sent by Raul Castro to Barack Obama, where he called the locale of the tragedy “a nightclub.”

The omissions don’t end there. The press in the hands of the Communist Party delayed until Wednesday the news that two Cubans were among the dead, when it was already vox populi on the streets. Why the delay? Because they were gay or because they were emigrants? This double condition must be upsetting to some in the government and thus in their periodicals, which operate by way of ventriloquist.

Also surprising is that the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex) has limited itself to a formal statement of condemnation and has not called for a vigil, for flowers to be left at the doors of the mothers who lost their sons, or at least a symbolic action that reflects the pains of the Cuban LGBTI community.

None of that has happened, and not for lack of indignation or sadness, but from the same lack of freedom of expression that prevents a dissident from making a public demand, or any person from carrying, spontaneously, a banner that recognizes: “We were all at Pulse.”

26 thoughts on “We Were All At Pulse

  1. KING OBAMA’S NEW US/CUBA POLICY IS WORKING WELL!
    USA TODAY : Cuba refuses visas for House members – Bart Jansen — WASHINGTON – Cuba refused to approve visas for five House lawmakers who sought to visit that country to investigate airline passenger screening for flights recently approved by the Transportation Department, the lawmakers said Friday. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., who heads the transportation subcommittee, had planned to leave Friday to evaluate security screening for scheduled flights that are set to resume later this year for the first time in more than 50 years. “At a time when the Obama administration is rolling out the red carpet for Havana, the Cuban government refuses to be open and transparent with the people’s representatives,” McCaul said.

    Any airport sending flights directly to the U.S. must meet Transportation Security Administration standards. McCaul and Katko have questioned whether Cuba’s airports meet those standards.

    Katko said lawmakers still don’t know if Cuba has adequate body scanners and explosive-detection systems in place.

    “This is a government that was only just removed as a state sponsor of terrorism list one year ago, and it is not enough to rely on the Castro regime’s word that these airports are secure,” Katko said.

    Reps. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.; Richard Hudson, R-N.C.; and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, were also scheduled to go on the four-day trip.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/24/cuba-refuses-visas-house-members/86340888/

  2. HMM! THIS DOES NOT LOOK LIKE AN “EMBARGO” TO ME! OVER $6.6 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN CASH AND GOODS.
    THE HAVANA CONSULTING GROUP: CUBA: The Fastest Growing Remittances Market in Latin America – By Emilio Morales
    In 2015, remittances sent to the island reached a record level of 3,354.1 million dollars[1]. From 2008 to 2015, Cuban remittances grew by an astronomical 1,907.1 million dollars, for an average annual increase of 238.3 million dollars, an unprecedented growth performance since the receipt of remittances became legal in 1993. In 2015, remittances sent to the island reached a record sum of $3,354 million, a figure that exceeded the earnings of the most strategic sectors of the Cuban economy, such as the export of nickel, sugar, tobacco, medicines and even tourism income. If you combine merchandise remittances and cash remittances, the total amount of this family assistance ($6,634 million) is higher than the sum of the earnings of the five most important productive sectors of the Cuban economy, which together showed earnings of $5,168.9 million
    http://www.thehavanaconsultinggroup.com/en-US/Articles/Article/Remittances/20

  3. Visit Cuba – it’s the perfect holiday destination for poverty fetishists
    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/07/cuba-the-perfect-holiday-destination-for-poverty-fetishists/

    James Bloodworth 23 July 2015


    (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

    Since last December, when officials from Cuba and the United States announced that the two countries, locked in a Cold War stand-off for 54 years, would seek to normalise relations, the tourist industry has been admonishing us to travel to Cuba ‘before it changes’.

    Despite Cuba’s listless youth being well-versed in American culture – be it the latest fashions, pop songs or movies – on the surface Cuba remains stuck in a time warp. For tourists, the museum piece aspect of Cuba is a big part of the appeal. Thus visitors to Havana can go for a ride in a Cadillac, take in the neo-classical architecture (along with the smoke from a good cigar) and sip a mojito at Ernest Hemingway’s old drinking spot.

    But hurry, the tourist brochures scream, the Yankees will soon be coming to spoil it all!
    As a strategy to boost Cuba’s bourgeoning tourist industry, this ploy appears to be working. Cuba saw a 14 per cent jump in the number of tourists visiting the island from January to May this year, no doubt partly attributable to the calls from travel magazines to head to the island before Starbucks and McDonalds pop up everywhere.

    I hate chain stores as much as the next concerned member of the middle classes, but one does wonder what exactly it is that affluent westerners want to preserve about communist Cuba. Over the past five years, I have spent about a year of my life in Cuba, so have seen a great deal of its ‘authentic’ side. Aside from the police repression and intellectual wasteland (there is one newspaper and state television books no dissent) the Cuba I have experienced is one of dirt, scarcity and rampant prostitution.

    It is the last of these which is the most galling. Cuba’s command economy is unable to provide a basic standard of living for its people, so in order to survive, most Cubans must find an income source to top up their state salary. For those fortunate enough to have relatives in the United States or Europe, help comes in the form of dollar remittances. For those less fortunate, the only way to make some extra cash or eat a decent meal can often be to sell their body to a – usually much older – European or Canadian tourist.

    This reality hits you as soon as you step inside a restaurant or hotel in Havana. In every direction are girls who look no more than 16 accompanied by sagging and pale tourists approaching pension age. For at least some of these western tourists who flock to Cuba each year, the failure of communist economics has been the greatest boon to their sex lives since Sir Simon Campbell accidentally stumbled across the formula for Viagra. These decrepit lotharios often look like something the Caribbean Sea has puked up; but it hardly matters, for if you are a poor Cuban, all you see is the next meal (and if you are really lucky, marriage and a ticket off the island).

    Arthur Koestler once referred to pro-Soviet communists in the rich world as voyeurs, peeping through a hole in the wall at history while not having to experience it themselves. The Stalin Society is a lot smaller today (though you can still find the Cuba Solidarity stall at Labour party conference) but the mindset persists: Cubans are the unwilling participants in a communist experiment, there mainly for affluent westerners to gawk at and, when the ‘chemistry’ is right (i.e. when you’ve paid for everything) to take back to the hotel room.

    Of course, the resorts in Varadero that most tourists visit are about as ‘authentically’ Cuban as a Soho restaurant’s ‘authentically Chinese’ sweet-and-sour chicken. Step outside of the official tourist route and one soon sees the real Cuba. It is here, amidst the prostitutes and the elderly people rummaging through bins in central Havana, that one starts to understand why many Cubans might like a few branches of McDonalds in their country. Cheap plastic food is, after all, a good deal better than no food at all.

    So yes, it is true that American commerce and tourism might ‘ruin’ Cuba; but only the Cuba that exists for the aesthetic pleasure of certain sections of the European and American middle class. If that sounds like you, it’s probably time you stopped fetishizing poverty and desperation.

  4. HMM! GUESS KING OBAMA COULD NOT SHOW HIS FACE ON THIS EVENT! FUNNY, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet WHO IS AFRO-CUBAN COULD BE CUBA’S OBAMA BUT NOT A SOCIALIST! MAYBE OBAMA WAS AT A GOLF COURSE!

    YOUTUBE: THE BUSH CENTER – George W. Bush Presents Presidential Medal of Freedom in Person to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet of Cuba – President George W. Bush presented Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet of Cuba with his Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dr. Biscet, who was jailed as a prisoner of conscience in Cuba from 2002 until 2011, was awarded the medal in absentia in 2007 for his dedication to advancing human rights and democracy in Cuba

    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Notable & Quotable: Oscar Elias Biscet – June 23, 2016 7:02 p.m. ET – ‘This is a Cold War state where my people still live and that we do not accept.’ – Remarks Thursday by Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet at the George W. Bush Institute, upon accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom he was awarded while a prisoner in 2007: This presidential gesture provided for and sped my release from prison as well as the release of all the prisoners of conscience from the Black Spring repression in Cuba. In the same way it laid down the basis for the Castro-communist government to publicly recognize the existence of human rights and sign several universal humanitarian agreements of the United Nations, such as the international civic and political treaties, even though it systematically violates them, continually and flagrantly. . . For more than 57 years, we Cubans have lived in a Cuba under the oppression of a communist dictatorship. The most basic rights, such as freedom of speech, of assembly and association, of religion and a free press, are intensely limited by the Castro regime.

    Cruel and inhuman punishments, torture, the imprisonments and shootings for dissenters are the instruments of state terror that are used to keep the Cuban people subjugated. This is a Cold War state where my people still live and that we do not accept.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/notable-quotable-oscar-elias-biscet-1466722955

  5. When the Blade attempted to address criticisms from LGBT rights with Mariela Castro during a press conference before the Equality Forum award, the group’s Executive Director Malcolm Lazin interrupted, preventing the questions from being asked. This is a common dishonest left tactic to prevent uncomfortable questions from being asked.

  6. RESPONSE FROM AROUND THE WORLD ON THE MASSACRE
    Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his “condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those lost” and wished a “full recovery to all those injured.” He also expressed solidarity with the LGBT community.[61]
    Chile: The Foreign Ministry of Chile offered “its condolences to the people of the United States and the families of the victims of the brutal attack in Orlando.”[61]
    China: President Xi Jinping expressed deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the people of the United States and expressed grief to the victims of the terror attack.[76]
    Colombia: President Juan Santos condemned the shooting and expressed solidarity with the victims.[61]
    Croatia: The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs tweeted: “We fully condemn the horrible shooting in Orlando. Our condolences and thoughts go to the victims’ families and friends.”[77]
    Cuba: President Raul Castro stated, “The Cuban people and government express their condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims” [78]
    Czech Republic: President Miloš Zeman sent his condolences to US President Barack Obama.[79]
    Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen stated he was horrified by the shooting, that his thoughts were with the victims and called for all to “unite in the fight for equal rights.”[61]
    Djibouti: President Ismail Omar Guelleh sent a letter of condolence to President Obama condemning the barbaric attack and expressing his sympathy with the American people.[80]
    Egypt: Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zaid strongly condemned the attacks and offered the Egyptian government’s and people’s condolences to the American people and government. The spokesman has expressed that Egypt and America stood “united in this moment of grief”. [81]
    Finland: Prime Minister Juha Sipilä expressed his condolences on Twitter.[82]
    France: President François Hollande condemned the shooting, while expressing “full support to the American people.”[61]
    Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed complete shock and offered her condolences to the families of the victims saying, “Our heart is heavy.” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated, “I condemn such senseless violence in the strongest possible terms. Be assured that Germany stands close to provide any possible support you may request.” In Berlin on Monday, hundreds of people gathered in front of the US Embassy for a silent remembrance of the victims.[83]
    Greece: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement condemning the attack and expressed condolences to the families.[84]
    Guatemala: President Jimmy Morales condemned the shooting.[citation needed]
    Hungary: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade condemned the shooting and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. The ministry emphasized “the importance of the fight against ISIS to prevent further tragedies.”[85]
    India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was shocked and that his thoughts and prayers were with the injured and the families of the victims.[61] Sexual activity between people of the same gender is illegal in India, and after a temporary repeal in 2009, the anti-gay law criminalizing “homosexual acts” was reinstated in 2013.[34]
    Iraq: The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces released a statement through its Twitter account condemning the attacks.[86]

  7. Leannes Imbert Acosta of the Cuban LGBT Platform said that more than 500 people with HIV/AIDS remain in prison for what he described as the crime of “pre-criminal social dangerousness.”

  8. TED Case Studies Number xxx, 2004 – by Caroline Danauy

    According to the Tea and Coffee magazine, coffee production was introduced to Cuban society in the mid-18th century. By the year 1790, Cuba was a main exporter to Spain; soon French coffee farmers fleeing the Haitian revolution established themselves in Cuba, furthering the coffee industry on the Island. The Island’s environment of high humidity and undisturbed soils fostered the development of the industry.

    By the 1820s, coffee production was contributing even more to Cuba’s economy than sugar. In the years right before the Cuban Revolution (1956), Cuba was exporting 20,000 metric tons of coffee valued at $21.5 million and was producing its highest ever yield of coffee per acre (316.6 pounds per acre).

    With the Cuban Revolution came the nationalization of the coffee farms and the decline of the coffee industry in general. Production levels during the late 1960s and 1970s were comparable to those of the 1920s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the industry had a slight recovery only to be devastated once again with the fall of the Soviet Union (Cuba’s principle benefactor) in 1990.

    Why the decline of the coffee industry? First, Cuba’s economic downfall led to further migration to the cities and a weaker labor force available to the coffee farms. Second, in an effort to strengthen the coffee industry during the 1960s, the government aimed at developing a coffee growing belt along the outskirts of Havana by using a volunteer labor force. The replacement of traditional coffee farmers with volunteers who knew nothing about coffee greatly affected the industry. The program was unsuccessful and in order to redeem itself the government established yet another program in 1989 under the direction of Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother. The later program, known as the Turquino program, improved the agricultural infrastructure and offered agricultural workers better housing. Nevertheless, the program did not attract much attention.

    http://www1.american.edu/ted/cuba-coffee.htm

  9. Glad to see that Cuba is able to sale coffee in the U.S. Cuba will receive more money for it by selling it to the U.S. than selling it at home. Good move….

  10. PRETTY IRONIC THAT THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY CAN’T EVEN PROVIDE COFFEE TO IT’S OWN PEOPLE BUT IS WILLING TO SHIP IT TO THE USA! LIKE IF WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH CHOICES HERE! –

    “With less coffee available to bring to the market, the Cuban government introduced a rations system in 1962: subsidizing four ounces of coffee per person per month. Café con chícharo, or coffee with chickpeas, was also brought to market. “It’s a mix of ground, toasted beans and toasted chickpeas,” Goldberg says, “made in an effort to get more coffee to more people.” —
    http://www.saveur.com/cuban-coffee-culture

    USA TODAY: Cuban coffee to be sold in the U.S. – by Alan Gomez – MIAMI: The next phase of Cuba’s changing relationship with the United States will come in the form of coffee.

    Switzerland-based Nespresso announced Monday that it will sell Cuban coffee in the U.S. starting this fall. The long-restricted coffee will first be sold as a limited edition, called Cafecito de Cuba, in stores, online and over the phone.

    Guillaume Le Cunff, president of Nespresso USA, said it’s good to be the first company to provide Cuban coffee to the U.S. market. He stressed that Nespresso is more interested in developing a long-term arrangement to ensure a steady supply of Cuban coffee for U.S. customers and improved living conditions for Cuba’s farmers.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/06/20/cuban-coffee-sold-in-united-states-nespresso-technoserve/86117020/

  11. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE DEALS WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA WHO DOES NOT PAY IT’S BILL AND WILL PUT ANYONE IN JAIL IT DOES NOT LIKE, THEN GO AHEAD! PUT YOUR MONEY ON THIS REALLY “GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY’!

    NEWSWEEK (Video) : The Harsh Reality of Trying to do Business in Cuba – By Ken Fireman – 6/19/16

    “The attraction of Cuba is kind of an amusement park in decay,” John S. Kavulich III, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, told Hoag. With the re-establishment of Cuban-U.S. diplomatic relations after a half-century freeze-out and President Obama’s recent visit, U.S. business executives are dreaming big dreams.

    But then come the hard realities of trying to do business in an economy that is tightly controlled by a one-party state, an infrastructure that is dilapidated and outdated and a populace whose purchasing power is limited by a monthly median wage equivalent to $20.

    Add to that a legal system that lacks transparency and is heavily tilted in favor of the state; court proceedings are conducted in secret, and those at the top of the law school classes are recruited as prosecutors, while judges often are chosen from the bottom.

    “There’s been a lot of irrational exuberance about Cuba,” says James Cason, who served as principal officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which functioned in lieu of an embassy, from 2002 to 2005. “It’s a very risky business.”

    British business executive Stephen Purvis found out just how risky. The head of a company called Coral Capital that invested in Cuban tourism and other businesses, Purvis was accused of espionage in 2011.

    After spending 16 months in jail awaiting trial, he was convicted of illegal foreign currency transactions and then released. He lost $15 million in assets.

    “The central bank had authorized all our transactions for 12 years,” Purvis said. “Then, all of a sudden, they were saying they weren’t authorized, and that we didn’t have specific permission. It was a very arbitrary application of the law.”

    Other companies, however, report utterly benign experiences. “We’ve been in Cuba for over 20 years, and it’s a remarkably stable place to do business,” said David Pathe, CEO of Canada’s Sherritt International, which operates a nickel mine and is one of Cuba’s largest foreign investors.

    And, risks or not, the Americans are coming. Airbnb, the internet-based home rental service, expanded to Cuba last year with 1,000 listings. Sprint and Verizon have started offering cell phone roaming services after signing agreements with the state-run telecommunications company.

    Netflix heralded the arrival of its streaming video service in 2015 with an exuberant tweet of “Bienvenida Cuba!”—even though its $7.99 monthly charge represents more than one-third of the median wage.

    http://www.newsweek.com/harsh-reality-trying-business-cuba-470363

  12. I HOPE THE WUSS OBAMA WILL HAVE SOME GUTS AND STICK IT TO THE FASCIST VENEZUELAN DICTATOR MADURO AND HIS LOT OF CORRUPT, DRUG DEALING THUGS!

    Americas Society Council of the Americas Update: Venezuela and the OAS at Odds

    On May 18, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, wrote a forceful open letter to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in which he accused the leader of “betraying your people.” A couple weeks later, Almagro invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Caracas, citing an “alteration of Constitutional order,” and calling on Maduro to allow an opposition-backed referendum to take place by the end of the year. It marked the first time a secretary general invoked the charter against the will of the government in question and marks the first step in removing Venezuela from the OAS. The Permanent Council is nonetheless scheduled to hold a special session on June 23 in Washington to discuss the specifics of Almagro’s May 30 proposal. It’ll also hear a report, at the request of Venezuela, on June 21 from a delegation of three former presidents, including Spain’s José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who’ve been on a diplomatic mission to the country in attempts to foster dialogue between the Maduro administration and the opposition.
    But the support wasn’t there, and on June 1 member countries passed a watered-down measure that instead called for “inclusive dialogue” but did not mention the referendum. Notwithstanding, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay issued a joint statement saying they supported constitutional procedures, including the referendum. But Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz said he would be seeking consensus, “beyond the opinions of the secretary general.”

    Almagro can at least count on the full support of the United States—and indeed Rodríguez also claimed he was “an agent” of the country. The United States has been outspoken in its criticisms of attacks on Venezuelan opposition leaders and calls to release political prisoners. Washington supports invoking the Democratic Charter against Caracas as a way to begin a constructive process, without removing Venezuela from the body. Rodríguez contends the OAS and the United States are leading a coup against the Maduro administration.

    Yet, hours after a tense session in which Rodríguez made those claims, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Rodríguez announced the two countries would move forward in reestablishing bilateral relations. The two countries have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.
    http://www.as-coa.org/articles/update-venezuela-and-oas-odds

  13. Positive Humberto, wow!
    Pan-continental organizations are almost always toothless and cowardly talking shops, but now Sr Almagro and the OAS are at least better late than never. Just the fact that Vzla has become world news hastens the demise of Chavista gang rule. It’s urgent now, change can’t come soon enough for Venezuela!

  14. THE DAYS OF THE “SOCIALISM OF THE 21st CENTURY” ARE COMING TO AN END SLOWLY! CUBA WILL BE THE LAST ONE TO BE BROUGHT DOWN! BUT IT WILL BE DONE! —
    MIAMI HERALD : Venezuela will test Latin America’s faith in democracy, ex-presidents warn – BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ
    WASHINGTON : A group of former Latin American presidents warned the hemisphere’s head of state Friday that the region’s commitment to democracy will be tested next week when the Organization of American States debates whether to intervene in Venezuela’s economic and political crisis. The 30 former presidents, among them Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe and Brazil’s Fernando Henrique Cardoso, pledged their support for OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro’s call for Venezuela’s government to set a date for a recall referendum and to release political prisoners.

    Three of the former presidents, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, Alejandro Toledo of Peru and Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, met with Almagro on Friday. It was Almagro’s invocation of the OAS’s Democratic Charter that sparked the debate, now scheduled for next Thursday. Under the charter, members of the OAS agree to be governed democratically. If the OAS determines that Venezuela has violated the charter, it could be suspended from the 34-nation group.

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article84460067.html#storylink=cpy

  15. Yeah duh, that’s their MO! We had it in Europe some decades ago, and my parents weren’t as free as they could have been in one of the freest societies on Earth because of it. Now, in the US, too many people want to make the same mistake as they made across the Atlantic in 1933. They sooo don’t know what they’re asking for! DJT is too weak to stop military interventionism and fix the economy, but he has promised to repress, and he’d try to do a lot of that. I see pitchforks, but the picture is nothing like that famous one with the man and lady.
    The good news is that North Korea, CubaZula and the milder versions too can’t last forever. The real biggie is China, but even there the Commies aren’t able to transit smoothly from the export to the consumer economy. Lots of people have admired czar Putin and the Chinese Commies for running efficient operations. Yeah right, they’re strong until History shows up…

  16. Military Units to Aid Production or UMAPs (Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción) were agricultural labor camps operated by the Cuban government from November 1965 to July 1968 in the province of Camagüey.[1] The inmates of UMAP camps consisted of gay men, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Catholic and Protestant priests, intellectuals, farmers who refused collectivization, as well as anyone else considered “anti-social” or “counter-revolutionary.”[2] Former Cuban intelligence agent Norberto Fuentes estimated that of approximately 35,000 internees, 507 ended up in psychiatric wards, 72 died from torture, and 180 committed suicide.[3] A 1967 human rights report from the Organization of American States found that over 30,000 internees are “forced to work for free in state farms for more than eight hours a day and are given the same treatment as political prisoners.”[4] The report concludes that the UMAP camps’ two objectives are “facilitating free labor for the state” and “punishing young people who refuse to join communist organizations.”[5] The Cuban government maintained that the UMAPs are not labor camps, but part of the military service.[6] In a 2010 interview with La Jornada, Fidel Castro admitted in response to a question about the UMAP camps that “Yes, there were moments of great injustice, great injustice!”[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Units_to_Aid_Production

  17. NY TIMES: Patients Pay High Price in Cuba’s War on AIDS – By TIM GOLDEN – October 16, 1995
    SANTA CLARA, Cuba — The doctor knocked at Raidel Burgos’s home early one summer afternoon, interrupting lunch. He said there was a problem at the lab where Burgos had gone for a blood test after one of his friends was found to have AIDS. When the doctor returned a few days later to Burgos’s small town near the northern coast, it was to take him away for the rest of his life. Almost a decade after Cuba became the first country in the world to quarantine people infected with H.I.V., the measure of control it has gained over the outbreak is the envy of many other nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet as an inevitable rise in the number of patients forces Cuban health officials to rethink their approach to AIDS, a look inside one of the special sanitoriums that now dot the island reveals the largely hidden human costs of its success.
    Four years after his forced admission to the sanitorium outside this central Cuban city, Burgos, now 22, tries to be fair about what has happened. Were it not for the isolation of those infected, he reasons, more lives would be at risk. The food and medicine he receives are better than what he would get at home. Sometimes, he says, he is even grateful for the company of other young gay men who know what it is to see death so close.
    But there are other facts of Burgos’s life that besiege his spirit as surely as disease will ravage his body: the metal fence just beyond the trees; the minders who must go with him when he leaves the grounds; the harsh smile of the head of internal order, the man charged with disciplining patients who fail to observe the rules. “We have lost our freedom; that is the most important thing there is,” Burgos said. “That is why people fight wars.”
    https://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/aids/101695sci-aids.html

  18. YOUTUBE: CUBA DOCUMENTARY – “Nadie Escuchaba” (Nobody Listened) 1 of 12 – Filmed in 1987. A passionate documentary by the late Nestor Almendros about the “Cuban Revolution” going wrong, while “nobody listened.” This documentary touches my heart. For most Americans it’s not easy to understand the full dimension of Castro’s dictatorship and the constant violation of human rights in Cuba. While Hitler and Stalin have been considered cruel dictators, Castro is still called the “president” of Cuba, even though he refuses to have free elections; and those who dare to express their opinion against the Communist regime have only three options: jail, death or exile. My respect to late Nestor Almendros and to Jorge Ulla for their dedication of this testimony of the suffering of my Cuban people. (Spanish with English sub-titles)

  19. INTERESTING THAT Fidel Castro SAID THAT HE WAS UNAWARE OF THE UMAP GAY/DISSIENT CONCENTRATION CAMPS BUT AT LEAST ONE OF THE VICTIMS TESTIFIED IN THE DOCUMENTARY “Improper Conduct” THAT HE SAW HIM THERE! CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW: YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY – “Conducta impropia/improper Cunduct” Parte #2 (@5:20minutes) – Filmed in 1987. A passionate documentary by the late Nestor Almendros about the “Cuban Revolution” going wrong, while “nobody listened.” This documentary touches my heart. For most Americans it’s not easy to understand the full dimension of Castro’s dictatorship and the constant violation of human rights in Cuba. While Hitler and Stalin have been considered cruel dictators, Castro is still called the “president” of Cuba, even though he refuses to have free elections; and those who dare to express their opinion against the Communist regime have only three options: jail, death or exile. My respect to late Nestor Almendros and to Jorge Ulla for their dedication of this testimony of the suffering of my Cuban people. (Spanish with English sub-titles)

  20. No no no! The USA has used up the sympathy oxygen long ago. The world is disgusted and afraid of the mightiest nation that ever existed, which is out of control domestically and abroad. The US can’t affect change in Cuba or anywhere else, not even at home. Cubans will continue to seek ways to improve whether they come from the US or anywhere else…

  21. Yoani,
    I agree with you, I think Raul’s daughter should organize some kind of symbolic demonstration to condemn and honor the deaths in this latest massacre in the U.S. The LGBT community in Cuba should organize a march to demonstrate against this act of terrorism. Cuba and the United States just met recently to discuss how to fight terrorism. What a great opportunity for Cuba to show its commitment not only to LGBT rights, but, also to show the World Cuba’s commitment to fight terrorism

  22. As expected the documentary is piece of propaganda, which distorts the facts presenting an alternative that is false. Fidel Castro, who ordered the creation of the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP), concentration camps, has never apology to the victims of their families. Everything that happened in the island had been ordered and approved by him.

  23. Cubas Mariela Castro and Historical Reparations
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=115462

    Jimmy Roque Martínez
    December 14, 2015

    HAVANA TIMES – The HBO documentary Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution was just screened at the Havana Film Festival, where Jon Alpert, the director, and Mariela Castro, head of the National Sexual Education Center, spoke about the film.


    From the documentary: Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution

    Castro addressed the achievements of Cuba’s LGBT community and referred to the notorious Military Production Aid Units (UMAP), labor camps administered by the Revolutionary Armed Forces between 1965 and 1968.

    These camps sought to forge a “new man,” an issue addressed by the documentary.
    Fidel Castro’s niece explained that the Cuban revolution was part of the world, not the planet Mars, and that, as part of the world, it was also homophobic – it was not a perfect revolution.
    I concur that, at the time, homophobia was a very common phenomenon, but that does not in any way justify the creation of forced labor camps or removing people from university or their jobs because of their sexual orientation.

    It’s been fifty years since the creation of the UMAP and not one of the people responsible have asked Cubans for any apologies. The highest officials behind the idea are still alive. The minister of the armed forces at the time is the country’s president today.

    It’s time for them to apologize for the penalization, exclusion and punishment of thousands of Cuban homosexuals who showed an “improper conduct,” as so-called revolutionaries would say at the time.

    Refusing to accept responsibility for these actions, denying us an apology and infinitely postponing the legal acknowledgment of homosexual families, as well as the homophobic Population and Housing Census of 2012, are proof of the homophobia and unrepentant attitudes of many of Cuba’s current leaders.

    Where is the study we’ve been hearing about since 2011, which the CENESEX is allegedly conducting on this matter? How many people has it interviewed? Who is carrying out the research? When and where are its partial results going to be presented?

    I acknowledge the work Mariela Castro has done on behalf of Cuba’s LGBT community, it would be unfair not to. But, with all due respect, we need action by civil society, a valuable and powerful force.

    The declarations Fidel Castro made to the Mexican newspaper La Jornada are not enough. The people responsible must acknowledge the mistakes they made and genuinely and directly apologize to the victims and their relatives to atone for these crimes.

  24. CBS NEWS VIDEO: War veteran saves dozens during Orlando nightclub shooting – By Mark Strassmann
    ORLANDO — When Omar Mateen, opened fire with his military style AR-15 assault rifle on a gay nightclub in Orlando, there was one man who recognized the sound, a war veteran. Imran Yousuf, a Hindu who was the bouncer at the Pulse nightclub, never saw the gunman in the early Sunday morning hours. Right after last call, he was making his rounds, and barely missed coming face-to-face with Mateen.

    Yousuf, a 24-year-old Hindu, served as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan. On Saturday night, the combat zone followed him to Orlando.

    He ended up saving dozens of lives. “The initial one was three or four (shots). That was a shock. Three of four shots go off and you could tell it was a high caliber,” he said. “Everyone froze. I’m here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine pack everyone.” Yousuf knew just beyond that pack of panicked people — was a door — and safety. But someone had to unlatch it.

    “And I’m screaming ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ And no one is moving because they are scared,” he explained. “There was only one choice. Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch a we got everyone that we can out of there.”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/war-veteran-imran-yousef-saves-dozens-during-orlando-nightclub-shooting-omar-mateen/

  25. PBS NEWSHOUR VIDEO : Remember them: The names and faces of the lives cut short in the Orlando massacre – A mother of two. An Army reservist. A cancer survivor. A gay rights activist. A high school basketball star. These are some of the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The Newshour steps back to remember the names and faces of the 49 whose lives were cut short Sunday.

  26. GO FUND ME: In honor of Christopher Sanfeliz: Chris believed that people should be open and honest. He lived his life proud. Chris was kind, generous and had many, many friends. Tragically, he was killed in the Orlando massacare at the Pulse nightclub. We are raising money to help with his expenses and also to fund inclusive programs at his High School, Gaither in Tampa Florida.
    https://www.gofundme.com/297mht34

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