Cuba: Raúl Castro supports gay unions too
Raúl supports gay unions too
After US President Barack Obama made headlines this week for expressing his support for gay marriage, Cuban President Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela announced her father supports gay marriage also.
Mariela Castro, Director of the National Center on Sexual Education, told reporters her father supported gay rights — including unions between people of the same sex — though he has not made these opinions public. ‘He himself has said that, like socialism, we cannot advance if we keep living with these prejudices.’
Mariela Castro said she hoped to see a bill legalising same-sex unions pass the Cuban Parliament before the end of the year.
Mariela made the statements while leading a crowd of about 400 in a ‘Conga Against Homophobia’ in Havana on Saturday. Mariela said she hoped the march would lead people to see LGBT rights as human rights.
Cuba’s Communist government repressed homosexuals after the 1959 Revolution. Many were sent to prison or work camps in an effort to rid the nation of homosexuality.
The government’s attitude became more accepting in the 1990s. In January, the Cuban government made discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
Cuba launches tourism fair
The government launched a tourism fair this week on Cayo Santa María, with the goal of attracting more tourists to the island. Representatives from Argentina were the fair’s special guests, as that country has become the eighth largest source of tourists to Cuba.
70,000 Argentines visited Cuba in 2011.
At the fair, Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said that domestic tourism also increased last year. In 2011, 824,000 Cubans traveled within the country—a 32 percent increase over 2010.
While he announced that foreign tourism brought in $2 billion to the Cuban economy last year, he did not address the economic impact of domestic tourism.
200 Cuban migrants detained in Mexico
More than 200 Cuban migrants crossing Mexico on their way to the United States were detained in Mexico on 7 May. On Monday they began a hunger strike to protest the legality of their detention and the conditions of their holding centre.
The Mexican National Migration Institute said the migrants did not have permission to cross the country because they must first assure the Cubans do not have a criminal background.
They said the hold up owed to delays from the Cuban consulate in providing the necessary documentation. Once it was obtained, they said, the Cubans would be permitted 15 days to stay in the country.
Many Cubans use this time to travel to the US border. Cubans who make it to the United States are guaranteed political asylum.
Members of the independent National Human Rights Commission visited the prisoners at their holding center in the Mexican state of Chiapas this week. They said the prisoners complained about overcrowding, lack of medical care and proper food, and lack of information about their legal status.
CNN Mexico reports that 30 of the 200 prisoners were transferred to Veracruz on Friday after the Cuban embassy provided their necessary documents.