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Fidel Castro Takes Blame for Persecution of Gays in Cuba: 'If Someone is Responsible, It's Me'


Andrés Duque at Blabbeando translates a front-page interview with Fidel Castro published in today's La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper:

- Who, then, was directly or indirectly responsible for not putting a stop to what was happening in Cuban society?  The Party? Because the Communist Party of Cuba still does not 'explicitly' ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- No - says Fidel - If someone is responsible, it's me...
"It is true that at the time I could not take care of that issue... I found myself immersed, primarily, in the October Crisis [as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is known in the island], in war, on political matters..." 
- But this became a serious and grave political problem, Comandante
- Understood, understood ... We didn't know how to give it value ... systematic sabotages, armed attacks were happening all the time; we had so many problems, some terrible, problems of life or death - you know? - at we did not give it enough attention.

Read the full translation at Blabbeando.

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  1. I'll give him his due. Health care system works and he takes responsibility. Would that our own politicians have a backbone and a conscience.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 2:31:56 PM

  2. So Grabbie Mr nice guy whi has just insulted me and half of Europe plus South America because we see what Cuba has done.

    You compare a busy president at the height of attck from your relatives-I'm sure they are- with a nasty opportunistic campaign manager??

    How the f*ck is that the same????

    You right winger are so off the wall, no one can have a conversation with you!

    Fidel, you have shown more honesty then Melhman who not only did not apologize but says he's a virgin to boot.


    Posted by: Rowan | Aug 31, 2010 2:40:36 PM

  3. This guy just refuses to die.

    Posted by: Jack M | Aug 31, 2010 2:49:47 PM

  4. I appreciate his simple "If someone is responsible, it's me...". Refreshing words from a politician.

    Posted by: Uluwehi | Aug 31, 2010 2:51:05 PM

  5. I don't like any homophobic person left or right. Now Fidel and Ken know. That's nice. They're all shit. Screw'em.

    Posted by: jeffg166 | Aug 31, 2010 2:53:49 PM

  6. who are you referring to jack? grabbinewscum or fidel?

    Posted by: alguien | Aug 31, 2010 2:57:28 PM

  7. LOL @ Jack M

    Posted by: Wes | Aug 31, 2010 2:57:32 PM

  8. Grabbie answer my question how you can compare a campaign manager with the president of the one lefty country America has tried to destroy?

    Why is capitalism better Grab? And to who? How many times do you guys need to mess up South America before you realise some people are just not inherently mean, cruel and sociopathic like you guys are??

    I perish how any left wing person can live in your land with you mad guys.

    If someone does not want to be mean to someone else, they are the enemy because you feel you will lose money.

    Grabbie I am proud and left. You're not in high school in the USA but on the internet where lefty people like me in Europe can live with their opinions in peace.

    Thank god.i

    Posted by: Rowan | Aug 31, 2010 2:58:56 PM

  9. Rowan,

    To be a leftist in the United States is to be very lonely and marginalized but there are still a few of us maintaining some sense of hope. The main problem is being able to speak freely. I personally think that this country will continue to turn rightward until it implodes and is forced to change.

    Posted by: American Left | Aug 31, 2010 3:23:01 PM

  10. The truth is that the ruling regimes in Communist countries in the 20th century were (and in some cases still are) strongly anti-gay: Cuba, the Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, East Germany, etc. Homosexuality has regularly been viewed in those systems either as counter-revolutionary or as an unfortunate product of decadent Western capitalism which will cease to exist in a true Communist society. (I've always wondered if Communist leaders feared that anyone capable of rejecting sexual norms in favor of their own self-knowledge was too individualistic to be trusted in a communitarian system.)

    Despite Castro's disclaimers in this interview, the imprisonment of gays in Cuban concentration/work camps continued long after the crises he references had been resolved. The mixture of Communist ideology and pre-existing cultural machismo and homophobia resulted in the widespread Cuban belief that being gay was not only unmanly, but also incompatible with someone being a dedicated, strong fighter for the Revolution; the imprisonment and death of Cuban gays were the inevitable consequences.

    Posted by: Sancho | Aug 31, 2010 3:29:00 PM

  11. @Grabbin, is there a reason you're hanging out on a gay website?

    You're obviously a republican, and from the f word you tossed around so easily, either straight ("straight") or so self loathing that you have my pity.

    If homosexuality offends you so much, why are you here? Really. This is pretty sick. Why are you here?

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 4:01:58 PM

  12. Craig:

    The Cuban heath system SUCKS; and Fidel is a BILLIONAIRE (fact)...he goes to Spain or flies in his specialist doctors when required.

    And of course most Cubans live in POVERTY with no hope of improving their situation through personal initiative. Neither is there any healthy democratic discourse in Cuba because it's been a a one party, one man dictatorship for 51 years.

    Fidel is disingenuous. He's talking this smack now because times have changed and the international leftist elite today champion gay rights, unlike in the past when he and people like Che could get away with persecuting gays and nobody anywhere cared. He now realizes it's necessary to act contrite to placate international leftist.

    Anybody who can't see through this (very wealthy, born wealthy, 'radical') old fraud are idiots.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 31, 2010 5:30:47 PM

  13. >is there a reason you're hanging out on a gay website?

    I'm not Grabbin but I can you give you my reason. It's a guilty pleasure of reinforcing my contempt for the Left. On this website the gay Left is always ready to find excuses for an anti-gay totalitarian ideology such as Islam or a vicious anti-gay left-wing totalitarian regime such as Cuba. On the other hand, you throw a hissy fit when an entrepreneur gives his own money to John McCain.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 31, 2010 5:32:31 PM

  14. Rowan:

    I'm guessing by your name (if it's your real name, that is) that you're in the,, 'Great' Britain...are you British? Or do you prefer Welsh? English? Scottish? Irish? European? *Sigh* ....

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 31, 2010 5:47:00 PM

  15. Castro's no friend of the lgbt community, and perhaps his daughter will change cuba's legacy in that regard. Castro is a dictator, and there's no such thing as a friendly dictator. However, can any of you criticizing castro's rule (and in many cases, justifiably) really say that life was better for the average cuban under batista than castro? If so, you'll also agree that life was better for the average chilean under pinochet's rule than it would have been under allende's...and then we know for a fact that you're no longer talking about reality, but are pushing a pretty vacant agenda.

    Now it's good to oppose the political arrangement of cuba now (and good to oppose any dictatorship, in fact), but not so that it can be yet another satellite puppet government of the u.s., fraught with human rights abuses, government corruption, the rule of might and money rather than law, and the kind of unrelenting poverty that only pure capitalism can generate for most of its citizens. Would that be any better than it is now? why advocate for it?

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 31, 2010 5:47:08 PM

  16. Hi Rat. I live in the conservative paradise of Arizona. We're now 49th in the nation on public education. Thanks, Republicans. I know Mississippi is ahead of us, but we're trying as hard as we can to race to the bottom.

    Heath care? At least they have it. I have a great job, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. I broke both feet last November. The emergency room bill - after insurance - was almost $800 plus another out of pocket of $550 to the podiatrist that actually treated me.

    The emergency room visit entailed two x-rays and an Ace bandage on each foot. That is out of pocket expenses. I was out of work for 45 days, (I'm a truck driver), and was living on $375 a month in disability insurance, that I pay for.

    I realized then and there, for all intents and purposes, I DO NOT HAVE health care. The recession the republicans caused? Reduced our $50k incomes to less than half that.

    Thanks! Did a great job. BTW,this week? I've made $35 so far. That is coming damn near the $2 a day in many 3rd World countries. I have an 84 year old mother to take care of, and a 23 year old son in college.

    The stimulus money you guys hated? Yeah. That's what provided most of the $19k I've earned this year. THIS is what the world is like without the stimulus money: the $35 in 3 days. That's how the world was LAST year before the stimulus.

    So, yep. Thanks for all the Republicans did. Great job.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 7:52:01 PM

  17. So, tank. Let me get this straight. You waste your days posting to a gay website, and you're not gay. Have you ever thought that somewhere in this world, you could actually put your time to use?

    I dunno? Making a living? Helping feed the hungry? Teaching kids to read? ANYTHING?

    Is this the best life that you can claim? I pray for you. Truly.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 7:56:05 PM

  18. Craig, how much of your yearly income do you give to unicef or other charities (list them, please) as a percentage? How much? And, what is your yearly income so that I can compare how much you give to how much I give? Well? We're all waiting on what productive member of society you are...

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 31, 2010 7:59:35 PM

  19. $2 per day, craig? On, that'd be a dream for 1.4 billion people on this planet. See, they survive on $1.25 per day, and those are real dollars, meaning that it goes just as far there as it does what do you do to try to change this situation, craig? What are you actively doing?

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 31, 2010 8:03:13 PM

  20. Read Before Night Falls by R. Arenas, there´s the movie, but the novel is superb, so you can have an idea of being gay on the island.

    Posted by: Carlos | Aug 31, 2010 8:32:18 PM

  21. No shit sherlock!

    Posted by: Harry | Aug 31, 2010 8:43:56 PM

  22. Tank, I volunteer regularly with two AIDS groups, I have worked extensively with my church's homeless shelter, including spending more money than I care to think buying and preparing singlehandedly meals for 15 homeless people at a time.

    I adopted a 23 year old homeless veteran as my son, and spent almost all of the money I had and was able to borrow from my retirement account to support him while he got established in college so he could take advantage of his GI bill.

    Yes, tank, I actually do give away most of the money I have. There have been many weeks this year where the $5 I dropped in the plate at church was literally every dime I had. I rarely walk past a panhandler where I do not give him something. Often this represents much of what I have on me at the time.

    I have frequently done this to the extent that I did not have cash to eat on, but knew that a truly needy person was enjoying a meal on me in exchange.

    Tank? Jesus tells the story that people will call to God, and he will either know them or not based on what they have given to HIM. "How did we know you?" they will ask. When you gave to the least among you, you gave to me. When you saw me naked, you clothed me. When I was hungry, you fed me. ...

    Tank, I believe that to be true with every fiber of my soul. Why adopt a 23 year old as my own son? Because I see in him the genuine face of God, and I know that I have not adopted him, he has adopted me.

    Care to challenge me any further on whether I'm answering to God or not? I can keep going.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 8:43:56 PM

  23. @Tank, again.

    Tank, do you give? I find that God intends me to know that giving is not easy. I find that often I go out on a limb and give more than I can afford. There have been times, like now, that I have no idea how the bills are going to be paid. I just know that God does, and that is fine with me. It is all that I need to know.

    I know that my son ate this month, and that is more important than knowing that the power bill was paid on time. God provides. That is all I know.

    Tank, if you stumbled on an accident, would you help? I have.

    I have stood in freezing temperatures in Flagstaff at 3 am in the dead of winter, using my semi truck to shield a couple who overturned their vehicle and stood shivering with no coats or protection as they watched every thing they owned being run over by thoughtless souls who could not be bothered to help.

    I flagged traffic for an hour waiting for the highway patrol to arrive. I stripped my bed and gave the couple my blankets, and gave them my coats to keep warm.

    I've stopped in the middle of nowhere in west Texas in the dead of night to make sure that a pair of college kids were rescued after their car ran off the road so far away that it couldn't be seen. They had been out there for hours waiting for them. God was with me when I glanced at the right place at the right time and saw one of them frantically waiving someone down.

    I've driven 50 miles out of my way, and spent the last $20 I had, buying a car load of college aged kids gas to make it to Flagstaff one winter night. They were terrified and had no idea how far in wilderness they were. You do that, do you?

    One of my student drivers started screaming at me once, and instead of firing him I talked to him. His wife had cervical cancer, they were broke, and she wanted a divorce before they kicked her out of the apartment for non-payment of rent for several months.

    I emptied my bank account, gave him all that I had, and arranged for upper management at work to give him more aid. Dad died of cancer. I cried most of the night when this student told me about the cancer. It's called empathy, Tank. I hope you feel that way too sometimes.

    I can go on a lot longer than this, Tank. Enough?

    My adopted son? Oh yes. He does this too. If I give him $10, and know that's all the money he has, I've seen him give it to people right in front of me that need help. I've seen him go hungry to help others, too.

    It's why I adopted him and love him so much. I know his life's story, and I know that God loves him even more than I do.

    How about your list of charitable deeds, Tank. Care to share?

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 8:55:19 PM

  24. Tank, one last thing. Ever hear of the widow's mite?

    Jesus valued that more than all the wealth given by the pious. Keep that in mind. It's not how many dollars, it's how joyously and how dear the gift is. It's not the monetary value, it's the cost to the giver.

    And since you insist, yes I've made $19k so far this year, supported two other people on it that are dependent on me, and there have been weeks on end that I've gone hungry to feed my son.

    So no, i really don't give a damn about how many dollars or percentage of income you donate. That's between you and God. I know that God is well satisfied with my charity, thank you.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 8:59:10 PM

  25. Tank. Once again. Jeez.

    What am I actively doing?

    Well, at the company I work for, we try hard never to have a layoff. Everyone gives up a lot so that everyone has something. We try to make the pain spread evenly so that all can endure.

    I curious. What would you have me do. I'm available 24/7/365. I don't know if I have a 14 hour day in the morning, or no work at all, until 6 p.m. Most driving jobs are like that.

    We hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and endure.

    Many were the weeks last year where I worked a 70 hour week, and did another 20 hours on the weekend in a specialty skill I have that is non related. Same company.

    Know any great jobs that like to have people show up any time their other job doesn't need them? Yeah. None of the other drivers did, either. We're all in the same boat.

    Really nice guy that's a Republican and a multi-millionaire owns the company. You know what? Love the guy to death. I'd follow him anywhere. There are years he doesn't make a dime on this company, others he makes a good living for him and his heirs. It's just life in the trucking business, Tank. Sorry my life offends you so. I think my employer would have a few choice words for you, though. He's an amazing gentleman. I've never heard a harsh word used to describe him. I also couldn't be more proud working for him. It's where my career is, and has been.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 31, 2010 9:18:29 PM

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