Homophobia a la Chavez?


HAVANA TIMES — I don’t know if around here people are familiar with the pink triangle that homosexuals had to wear in concentration camps back in the days of Hitler’s regime.

However sometimes I get the feeling that a small pink triangle is next to the images I’ve been seeing in recent weeks.

I’m not doing to do a study on the roots of homophobia in Latin America, nor specifically of it in Venezuela (during my time as a student I researched too much about it and this one page is way too little space for the subject).

Nor am I going to talk about the public apology — at the insistence of several activists and collectives that advocate gay rights — Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro was forced to make for his homophobic statements at a public event.

Despite the open marches by the gay “community” in the streets of Caracas, I’m certain that a good portion of the people here continue to maintain “catholicized” thinking in relation to the issue.

What has caught my attention is how it is being exploited by certain political factions.
Let me explain.

In February of this year, a popular state-run television program (“La Hojilla”) aired an “accusation” — complete with proof — concerning the homosexual orientation of the opposition candidate Capriles.

Since then one has been able to see graffiti all through the streets highlighting the gayness of this opposition figure vis-à-vis the idealized virility of President Chavez.

Yet the matter hasn’t stopped at the street level or TV. It has now shown up in Facebook, which as anyone familiar with this social network knows has considerable scope and can be used by any type of power.

In these “social networks” he’s sometimes dressed up like a woman, others times he’s placed naked with blacks eager to “sodomize” him (here, obviously going from homophobia to open racism). They dress him in butterfly wings or feature him half-naked and stunted under the legs of a muscular and almighty Chavez.

Do those who believe in the goals of Chavez need to try to disqualify an opponent based on a detail of his personal life?

Do the Venezuelan people need a guide who is displayed like some rooster, a super gladiator, a soldier, an invincible being, a wooer of all women?

There’s no doubt that to some extent Capriles is benefiting from this controversy surrounding his sexual orientation. Just like any politician these days, he’s taking advantage of all the votes he can get from the LGBT community – but that’s not the point.

What’s clear to me is that it’s too dangerous when people follow a supposed ideal, discriminate and try to humiliate those who don’t fit the patterns of their minds.

And it’s worse if behind them moves the hand of power, reinforcing or encouraging these minds at their convenience.