By Luis Rondon Paz
HAVANA TIMES – A few months ago, there was an uproar in the media about Cuba’s new draft Constitution. Many of its points touched on aspects relating to Cuban society, and a special emphasis was placed on Art, Private property and LGBT people’s rights.
I will give my opinion about the latter, which is the result of years of researching this disjointed community, and why it was news last week that “The National Assembly announced that the country’s new constitution would erase the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage from its draft.”
I’m convinced that the draft proposal was just another of the Cuban military regime’s strategies to divert people’s attention here on the island and public opinion abroad.
If I’ve learned anything after all these years, it’s just how powerful mass media is in the hands of a totalitarian system like Cuba’s, which has been sowing the seed of hate, discord and fear in Cuban people’s minds for over a half century.
Therefore, it really didn’t come as a surprise when the results of a poll of Cubans’ opinions in relation to same-sex marriage came back negative overall.
This is due to the brilliant and intelligent way that the regime approached the LGBT issue, creating a kind of time bomb in both of its target audiences’ minds: Cubans living in Cuba and foreigners abroad.
(Yet again) it showed progressive countries in the First World that it was a regime that is slowing moving away from its totalitarian and restrictive policies, giving more opportunities to the Cuban people; and that it is a country with a society that tolerates sexual diversity.
Of course, it goes without saying that this is a superficial picture that the media has been responsible for painting with the help of publicity, political propaganda and a lot of public relations and marketing (which hasn’t only worked in Cuba).
This has created a positive public image for the regime as a result. Appearing to be a more open place in the world’s eyes, when in reality, the only thing they have done is mutate a system which is still rigid, totalitarian and psychologically aggressive.
How did the Cuban system manage to cover up its real intentions with this proposal in the draft Constitution?
Well, let me explain in the simplest way I know how:
It’s been proven that you can alter people’s behavior and attitudes using propaganda and publicity. With a well-designed communication strategy and the media controlled by the government, a series of news items was designed and distributed which would have a significant impact on society both via official and alternative media. Making sure that its message would reach as many people possible.
They used repetition in their discourse, overvaluing same-sex marriage, public image and they managed to achieve their main goal: negative attitudes of rejection in different sectors of Cuban society, to the point that public order was even on the verge of being compromised.
The strategy worked like clockwork, and once again, Cuban society were guided to look elsewhere and to forget the state of ruin their country has fallen into.
Sadly, when the Party’s Leadership and their followers announced that the amendment to the draft law would be erased because “all opinions need to be respected”, they washed their hands clean of this issue and closed the door to sexual minorities’ rights in Cuba, yet again.
I believe that the problems Cuba suffers go far beyond legalizing the union of two human beings regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
I’m sure that if this damned draft proposal (which never came to light) had been approved with a decree-law a decade ago, at the same time that the anti-homophobia campaign was launched, Cuba’s LGBT community would be living another reality, without a big hoo-ha and religious melodrama. But that wasn’t the government’s intention.
I must admit that I saw this coming from the very moment I caught wind of the rumor this proposal existed, before it was discussed by the National Assembly some years ago.
Today, it’s crystal clear that legalizing same-sex marriage never was, isn’t and never will be in the Constitution. It isn’t in the Cuban regime and party’s interests.