Fidel Castro Takes Full Responsibility For Cuba’s Persecution Of Gays

Fidel Castro thas old a Mexican newspaper La Jornada that he accepts responsibility for Cuba’s persecution of its  persecution of thousands homosexuals in Cuba in the 1960s, calling their internment in forced-labor camps “a great injustice.”

Castro said that the revolutionary government’s actions represented “a great injustice – a great injustice! – whoever committed it. If we committed it, we committed it. I am trying to limit my responsibility in all that because, of course, personally I don’t have that type of prejudice.” The interviewer paraphrases him as saying that “everything came about as a spontaneous reaction in the revolutionary ranks that came from the nation’s traditions. In the old Cuba, blacks were not the only ones discriminated against; there was discrimination against women and, of course, homosexuals.” Was the Communist Party to blame, the interviewer asks. “No,” Castro responds. “If anyone is responsible, I am. True, at that time I couldn’t concern myself with the subject. I was deeply and mainly involved in the October Crisis, the war, the political issues. But in the end, if responsibility must be assumed, I assume mine. I’m not going to blame others,” Castro says.

Mariela Castro, Fidels niece, is also a gay rights activist and daughter of current President Raul Castro which might have some bearing on Castro’s change of heart.

I am happy for the Cubans. This is a tiny step forward, maybe a very big step forward considering in what high regard many Cubans still hold Castro. But I wonder what the late Reinaldo Arenas would have to say in response?

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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