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Cuba rides the “progressive” wave to erase past repression against homosexuals

Probably Che Guevara and Fidel Castro would deny the current Cuban “revolution” if they observed the turn it has taken in favor of selling itself as a “progressive and democratic” political model. Even more so, if they saw how the regime that currently governs Raul Castro overturned the entire apparatus of state propaganda to promote the vote this Sunday in favor of the “yes” of the new version of the Family Code. The endorsed norm contemplates, among several novelties, the figure of same-sex marriage. Something unthinkable beginning the decade of the 60s.

But now the regime handles things differently. That was seen in the results of these votes. According to the National Electoral Council (CEN) controlled by the dictatorship, they had a participation of 74% of the electoral roll. In other words, of the 8,425,147 registered voters, 6,251,786 cast their ballots at the polls. Of that total, 66.87% voted in favor of “yes”.

Gone are the adjectives of “sexual perverts” or “bourgeois” homosexuality outlined by Fidel Castro along with Che Guevara. As well as the many initiatives to counter minorities in their desire to train the “new man” and the “bearded warriors” who defended their revolution.

The forced labor camps created under the slogan “work will make men”, or the “I National Congress of Education and Culture” held in 1971 and where the Castro dictatorship branded homosexuality as a “pathological deviation”. Everything was silenced. Today Díaz-Canel and his cabinet celebrate the modification of the law.

The “transformism” of the Cuban regime

The Castro dictatorship declares victory even when the island’s media mention that these votes had the highest abstention in history. It was 26%, being “unprecedented in the history of the regime, which had already reached a record of more than 15% in the plebiscite on the current Constitution, in 2019.”

In Cuba, voting is officially voluntary, but behind that there are groups like the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) that pressure citizens with threats or some kind of state aid in the midst of the crisis. That was one of the ways for Raul Castro to get the votes for the new Family Code.

However, this shift and its “pinkwashing” strategy —to appear supposedly progressive by appealing to the community known as LGBTIQ+— did not happen overnight. The regime has been planning it even before the death of Fidel Castro. In 2010 he admitted the persecution against homosexuals.

Previously, in 2008, Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of the dictator Raúl Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, in her position as director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), managed to get the State to finance transsexual operations. On May 17 of that year, the World Day Against Homophobia was celebrated in Cuba with her holding the hands of two homosexuals in a mobilization.

An ambitious process of ‘transformism’ could be called an initiative by the regime to grant rights “to politically abused but symbolically charged sectors, with the aim of surviving the current crisis of the regime’s legitimacy.” It was one of many steps to whitewash the repression and homophobia led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Rights are not voted, they are guaranteed

The Cuban National Electoral Council announced the results without cross-checking, auditing or guaranteeing the vote count or data consolidation. In addition, voting abroad is restricted. To this is added, that the new Family Code had already been published in the Official Gazette previously before the elections, denounced Electoral Transparency. It was only clarified that it would enter into force “once endorsed”. The regime already took it for granted.

On the other hand, minority rights were put to the vote. “This goes against human rights because these are not plebiscite, but are guaranteed,” said the organization.

So, what is rescued from election day is that it was a tactic to obtain political gain through novelties such as equal marriage or surrogacy in Cuba. Pamphlets in favor of “yes” were seen in the same voting centers, as were the social networks of Díaz-Canel and his spokespersons.

Gone are the foundations on which the Cuban revolution was built.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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