HAVANA TIMES – On Saturday, Cuba’s LGBTIQ+ community took to the street and marched from Central Park down the Paseo del Prado promenade in Havana, just like they had announced on social media.
The event came in response to the fact that CENESEX (the institution that is led by Mariela Castro) canceled the scheduled anti-homophobia conga parade, just a few days before.
The unofficial protest began with great joy and ended in violence, as was to be expected. With a police cordon that ran from Old Havana to Vedado (it seems that they were afraid of a popular uprising).
According to the Public Health Ministry, it wasn’t wise to take to the streets because this could be “misinterpreted by counter-revolutionary groups” given the current situation in Venezuela. That’s to say, the Cuban government canceled the annual parade out of fear. For its part, the LGBTIQ+ community stated that CENESEX was giving into Church groups pressure, as they had threatened to take to the streets if the parade took place.
Let’s remember that last January, in Lennon Park in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, twenty-something members of the LGBTIQ+ community came together to protest the government’s retreat on Article 68, which would have paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage, in the new Constitutional. In addition to this, there was a public kissing session at the entrance to churches which did result in arrests and threats to activists on this occasion.
After seeing images of protests in Venezuela, where the government headed by Nicolas Maduro went as far as to trample some protestors with tanks, there is no doubt of what the Cuban government might do if they ever found the leadership of its army threatened, given the current situation in Cuba with the US government cornering it through economic means.
Our current government has received Fidel Castro’s legacy, the puppeteer of Leftist power in Latin America. To hell with ethics, principles, the Right or Left, in a world where capital, multinational corporations and businessmen reign supreme. In Cuba, imports have been cut, Cubans’ basic needs are on the line, yet investment for building hotels is on the rise.
The Cuban government shuffles the deck after the failure of Venezuela’s opposition attempt to overthrow Maduro with Operation Freedom. If a US-led military intervention takes place in Venezuela, a conflict would break out between the world’s superpowers. We shouldn’t forget the Russian and Chinese interests in this country.
Amidst all of this, it’s clear that the power of Protestant Churches in Cuba has grown, to the point that General Raul Castro’s daughter can’t dance her conga, after having minimized CENESEX’s political power too after what happened with Article 68 on same-sex marriage.
Another scary fact and it hits close to home, is that Daniel Ortega supported making all types of abortion illegal in Nicaragua in 2006. In the middle of an election campaign he agreed to suspend an article of the Criminal Code, which had been in force since 1893, which stipulated therapeutic abortion as a legal concept. The reason for abandoning tradition was to seek support from both the Catholic and evangelical churches.
I imagine that a response will now come from Cuba’s churches and then the hungry people, because of shortages, encouraged by the LGBTIQ+ community’s bright light in a besieged island, conditioned for social explosion.
Giving into these impulses, won’t the same script that the Cuban government has successfully designed with the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan leaders unfold here? The people in both these countries took to the streets, they bravely defended their rights. The result: fatalities, people injured, economic destabilization and hardship for the same people who took to the streets. Something that was genuine in the beginning has been converted into a vicious cycle of violence by those in power.