Gay Cubans Demand Rights Ahead of Pride
BY Julie Bolcer
June 29 2012 9:12 AM ET
Three days before the Pride celebration in Cuba, gay activists presented demands for rights to lawmakers and held a kiss-in demonstration in Havana.
El Nuevo Herald reports on the events that took place Thursday in preparation for the second annual Pride march. Some 50 people, including gay rights activists and dissidents, delivered a petition to the National Assembly of People’s Power calling on the government to comply with international human rights agreements it has signed.
In addition to calls for the government to investigate employment discrimination claims, “The petition also calls on lawmakers to launch an investigation of the Military Units to Aid Production, or UMAPs — hard-labor camps created by Fidel Castro during the 1960s to detain homosexuals and government critics — and requests trials for government officials responsible for the camps,” the Herald reports.
The Pride march on Sunday will be organized by the Cuban League Against AIDS, the Open Door Foundation and LGBT Observatory, three groups that are independent of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) run by Mariela Castro, daughter of Preisdent Raúl Castro. The younger Castro has successfully lobbied her father’s government to cover gender reassignment surgery and is calling for marriage equality, but a recent visit to the United States generated opposition from Cuban-Americans outraged by the country’s overall human rights record.
The Herald reports that activists also staged the “Kiss-In for Diversity and Equality” at the Ramón Fonst sports arena. Project Rainbow, a self-described “anti-capitalist and independent LGBT group” held the event to mark the Stonewall riots. Last year’s Pride march in Cuba was marked by police attempts to stop participants.