This is not an invitation to get into The Cuba Discussion, but it is good when any world leader looks back on a nation’s past misdeeds against LGBT people and says, “You know what? That was wrong.”
Fidel Castro this week admitted responsibility for the persecution of homosexuals in Cuba in the 1960s, calling their internment in forced-labor camps “a great injustice.”
In the second installment of an interview with the editor of the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, 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.
Joe points out that Fidel Castro’s niece, Mariela, has been the de facto leader of the Cuban gay rights movement, and likely deserves some of the credit for this.