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?