The government of Cuba announced Tuesday that it has canceled this year’s edition of a parade. It is widely seen as a sign of progress on gay rights on the island.
The state-run Center for Sex Education headed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of Communist Party First Secretary Raul Castro. Furthermore, she said in a Facebook post that the “Conga Against Homophobia” scheduled for an unspecified date this month had been canceled on orders of the Ministry of Health.
Furthermore, the statement attributed the cancellation to “new tensions in the international and regional context that directly and indirectly affect our country and have tangible and intangible impacts in the normal development of our daily life and the implementation of the policies of the Cuban state.”
The marches were to have taken place less than three months after Cubans overwhelmingly approved the draft of their country’s new constitution.
Evangelical church groups publicly highlighted their opposition to an amendment in the draft constitution. The amendment that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. Hence the government’s decision to remove the amendment late last year sparked widespread outrage among independent LGBT activists.
People are protesting
“I am confident that nothing or nobody will be able to force us back into the closet,” wrote Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, a gay Cuban blogger. He writes under the pen name Paquito el de Cuba, on Monday.
Rodríguez has close ties to CENESEX. Activists who work independently of Mariela Castro’s organization have sharply criticized the decision to cancel the marches.
“Why didn’t they cancel the May Day parade,” asked one activist on Facebook.
Certainly, officials have said the cancellation of the marches was only effective for this year. And the issue would be revisited in 2020.
Activist Isbel Diaz Torres said the move was “perhaps [a sign the government is] once more ceding to pressure from religious fundamentalism that has shown itself to be quite active recently.”
Source – latimes.com, washingtonblade.com, newnownext.com