Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Irony of Mariela Castro's Visit to the United States


This week, the U.S. State Department reversed its initial rejection of Mariela Castro’s visa to travel to the United States. The purpose of the trip for Mariela, who is also Cuban dictator Raul Castro’s daughter, is to attend an LGBT conference where she is scheduled to receive an award for her work with the gay community in Cuba. All that is seemingly benign, until of course, you get to thinking why this Irony-Tour is allowed in the first place.   

Perhaps the height of the Irony-Tour was Ms. Castro’s visit to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. There she paid lip-service to the significance of freedom and civil rights, not only to the United States, but to the international community as well. Did she mean Cuba, too? While I don’t mean to undermine whatever work she has done in Cuba to help the condition of gays in her country – what’s the point of this visit?

If Cubans did not have Mariela Castro as an advocate for gays, what would they have? They certainly would not have the democratic avenues that exist in the United States for gays to express their political views and wield their political power. Cuban gays have no independent judiciary to challenge actions like Proposition 8 in independent Cuban courts. Also, Cuban gays have no unfettered and unregulated civil society by which to persuade their national leaders and fellow Cubans to support whatever measures the gay community considers important.  

Even if Mariela were successful in achieving equality for gay Cubans on the same level as non-gay Cubans, what is the playing field we are working with? Truth is, even if gay Cubans were to achieve Mariela’s equality – all Cubans are oppressed. She should stop acting like she’s doing gay Cubans a favor. Do us all a favor Mariela, go back to Cuba and call for real equality and freedom.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know you can do better than this, since you’re Young and you’re not supposed to be linked, at age twenty or something, to cold war, non factual rhetoric like the one used by the infamous PAC “US-Cuba democracy”, which was the first in picking up your post and ironically and whose jobs is buying federal legislators’ souls to maintain a failed policy towards Cuba. I don’t think that’s democratic. The center of your speech is democracy. Being a law student you should know that the essence of democracy should be the willing of the citizens. No matter how many times lunatic politicians, mostly based in Miami, want to ignore the desire of the majority of the American people including their constituents of engaging with Cuba by repeating lies about Cuba. The present and future of Cuba it’s something up to the 11 million Cubans living in the Island to decide. I’d advice to you going to Cuba and see what Cuban gays think of themselves and of Mariela, and avoid repeating arguments that looks like a boring videocassette in the era of blue ray players. Since you will be a lawyer anytime soon, I’d also advice using your talent in defending gays in the US. according to statistics provided by the FBI 2010 showed an overall rise of two per cent for all hate crimes, but this was markedly higher for anti-gay incidents and also for hate crimes based on religion, which rose nine per cent. Only that year, 1,706 hate crimes related to sexual orientation were reported. So you have a lot of work to do.