Mariela Castro’s Game of Appearances

By Jancel Moreno

Mariela Castro

HAVANA TIMES — May is here and Cubans paraded in squares across the country to celebrate their achievements as the laboring masses, or at least that’s the picture state-controlled media, that is to say, the government, were trying to sell.

A couple of weeks later, another important moment comes, when the government somehow shows the world how happy those of us who live under their nonsensical laws are, the 18th National Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be hosted in the western province of Pinar del Rio this year.

A few days before the long-awaited circus of fake colors and joy, which gives the wrong picture of what we minorities experience on the island, CENESEX director, Mariela Castro Espin, made her masterful play, although I would say it’s the same play she’s always made.

It involves grabbing the media’s attention and promising a string of lies which have come out of her mouth for years, including Same-sex Marriage which we have been calling for, but this time she did so by trusting the changes the new government ruling the country will make; that’s what she told foreign and national media anyhow.

Mariela seeks to calm the cries of those who have exposed CENESEX’s authoritarian power and are looking for an alternative in projects such as the Arcoiris Project, or Manos project which have broken away from official ranks and are attracting more and more followers.

It’s the same promise she makes every year, marriage for LGBTI Cubans leave Mariela’s smiling lips, which, to my knowledge, only reveal a cynic smile which she doesn’t want to give but it’s better to lie to the media and her followers, than accept what she herself said in Mexico a year ago: “We don’t have same-sex marriage in Cuba because we don’t like to imitate.”

Raul Castro’s daughter is only looking to get us on a wild goose chase while the police continue to attack gays, lesbians and transsexuals on Cuba’s streets, while those opposed to the totalitarian regime’s ideology and wrongly named “ethical principles” are marginalized at its educational institutions, including universities. While a wave of Cuban are waiting for asylum in European countries for the above-mentioned reasons, because many of them are a clear example of these violations.

We just have to wait and see what happens in the future, with a new President, a new National Assembly and that same smiling face, Mariela.

I wish that when this article is published, somebody tells me in the comments that we gay Cubans finally have the right to get married, but in the meantime, a happy May 17th to everyone, which is the only thing we can celebrate.

12 thoughts on “Mariela Castro’s Game of Appearances

  • See my comment of 12 May above Bob.

  • Once again Nick you are choosing to ignore what I wrote about Mariela Castro Espin, choosing to concentrate on one comment – that about her father – which thousands of the LGBT community in Cuba experienced. Re-read the first paragraph of my comments – they are factual and do not criticize. Do you disagree about my comment upon Jancie Moreno’s article? Have you any comments about the article?
    Finally, don’t you agree that the National Assembly should simply apply Article 36 of the constitution?

  • As I say Mr MacD, at the last count 26 out of 195 countries have legalised gay marriage.
    I think I would be correct in saying that this progression and legalisation has occured this century?
    I am predicting that Cuba will take this step sooner rather than later.
    You criticise Mariela mainly due to her family background. This would surprise no-one who is familiar with your comments.
    If she plays a part in Cuba legalising gay marriage then well done to her (regardless of her surname).

  • Carlyle: I find it a bit of a stretch to say the “Cuban Five” and other members of the Red Wasp network were “caught” when they themselves turned over their complete identity to the FBI as part of the documentation that the violent anti-Castro Cubans in Miami were planning to blow up another Cubana airliner in a few days.

    FWIW, I personally believe their story that they were only spying on the violent anti-Castro extremists and not on the US itself. One was an immediate terrorist threat while the other was no more that a nearby politically unpleasant but rational country.

  • OK Nick, following a trip to Toronto where she saw a group gay marriage, Mariela spoke of the spiritual component. Three years ago as Head of CENESEX, she led the Gay Pride march in Havana during which there was a symbolic ‘marriage’, and she also proposed a reform of the Family Code to permit gay marriage. She also as a Diputado voted against the Labour Code in the National Assembly as it didn’t protect homosexuals, lesbians and transsexuals.
    As the daughter of a man who had his share of responsibility for imprisoning and giving hard labour to gay people – she has received much applause. However, I think that Jancel Moreno’s point is that Mariela has both physically and verbally danced around the subject of gay marriage for years without actual achievement, but she has had a pulpit.
    So whereas I agree with you about those religions which prate about “belief” and “unnatural”, it is the Cuban communist regime which has been and remains the obstacle. Why don’t they just implement Article 36 of their Constitution?

  • Successful spies operate for many years without being caught Bob. Examples include the “Cambridge Five”, John Cairncross and George Blake. Even when after some 25 years, Blake was caught, tried and jailed, he succeeded in escaping from Wandsworth Jail in London. Now that’s a successful spy!
    I have also mentioned Leonov, who as a KGB officer advised the Castros commencing in 1953 in the USSR, then in Mexico, then in Havana, but who in 2016 was introduced on Cuban TV as: “A writer and historian”. Quite a good one for the man who was Vladamir Putin’s boss in the KGB. My own father operated for MI6 in France during the Nazi occupation, North Africa, Italy, Austria, Eastern Europe, Korea and Vietnam to my knowledge, and died peacefully in Vienna when over ninety.
    One of my father’s colleagues Graham Greene was at one time MI6’s man in Cuba. He like Compton MacKenzie, was an author. It is only in recent years and well after their deaths, that the public have become aware of their activities as spies. Greene also wrote the script for “The Third Man” which was filmed in Vienna in 1948/9 when my father was Head of Station. He also wrote: “Our Man in Havana” – very tongue in cheek!
    Nothing can change the fact that the Cuban five got caught and in consequence being known, lost their usefulness as spies. In mentioning that Gerardo Hernandez was now a Diputado, I was illustrating that he could no longer be a spy.
    I have a deep respect for spies irrespective of political belief, as they risk all for their country. In my father’s time the Russians shot most of those they caught -as did the Nazis and the British during the Second World War.

  • Bob Michaels,

    You make a very valid point.

    It was not a good or moral choice to back the terrorists and imprison those who infiltrated them.

    But that’s politics folks!

  • Carlyle: Please do some work and learn about the actual mission of the “Cuban Five”. They were successful in gathering information and transmitting such to the US FBI to prevent another Cuban airline bombing by associates of Luis Posada Carilles and Orlando Bosch that was scheduled in a few days. The FBI used the information provided by the Red Wasp network to stop the bombing. That is success. The information provided the FBI by Red Wasp included everything including the names of the Red Wasp members involved. The FBI then used that information to arrest the “Cuban Five” and others.

    I am a proud American but admit the US government has made mistakes. The arrest of the “Cuban Five” and others involved is not something I am proud of.

  • It’s interesting that you would close with the mention of Nickolai S. Leonov who is rumored to have been Paul’s gay liaison with the KGB.

  • Not for the first time Mr MacD’s comment makes no reference at all to the article (other than the traditional rant against assorted Castros) !

    In December 2017 Australia became the 26th country in the world to legalise gay marriage. I don’t know if there have been any additions since then??
    (There are 195 countries in the world).

    Cuba’s attitude towards LGBT people has been historically poor.
    It is improving – heading in the right direction. One only has to look at neighbouring Jamaica to see somewhere with infinitely worse attitudes.

    I hope Cuba will show a progressive element and become one of the minority of countries to make this step. On balance I think it will take this step sooner rather than later.

    They should try to do it soon because I believe that interest in Christianity (both catholic and evangelical) on the island is on the increase (These god-squad people have the traditional opinion that being gay is the work of the devil or some such thing).

    I have heard many non-communist believing Cubans state that being gay is not natural and against the wishes of some god or other.

  • Mariela is also now an ‘elected’ Diputado. As such she is one of the 603 who rubber-stamped her father’s decision of five years ago, to appoint Diaz-Canel as President. She spoke glowingly of this on Cuban State TV, immediately following Diaz-Canel’s ‘election’ on April 19th.
    Her brother Alejandro operates the MININT security which not only controls the internal spying by the CDR, but also Cuba’s external spying – for example the failed (they were caught) “Cuban Five”. One of those was Hernandez who (surprise, surprise) is also now an ‘elected’ Diputado. He was the other Diputado selected to speak along with Mariela on Cuban State TV following the “election’ farce of Diaz-Canel.
    Its all a very cosy system for the privileged few.
    As for what happens in the future with “a new President, a new National Assembly and that same smiling face Mariela”, the answer is the same policies. controlled by the same dictator, Mariela’s non-smiling face father, Raul Castro Ruz as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. His original KGB minder Nickolai S. Leonov who is also still alive and kicking, has reason to be proud.

  • When I last sent to Cuba in January 2018 I still felt the homophobic fears. My close friend in Cuba I remember him tell me the worst thing is for my son to be maricon which is a very bad word to use. And I didn’t push the subject because I could sense that him been ex military and the way he grew up on the Communist system his views are hardned and I need to approach the subject carefully.

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