State Department Denies Mariela Castro Visa to Pick Up Gay Rights Award in Philadelphia

Mariela Castro, the Cuban gay rights activist and daughter of President Raul Castro, is being honored at Philadelphia's Equality Forum but the State Department has denied her a visa to pick up the award, the AP reports:

CastroState Department spokesman Noel Clay said he could not comment on the case because visa records are confidential.

Mariela Castro, the niece of retired leader Fidel Castro, is director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education. As that country's most prominent gay rights activist, she has instituted awareness campaigns, trained police on relations with the LGBT community and has lobbied lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.

Guillermo Suarez, spokesman for Cuba's United Nations Mission, confirmed that Mariela Castro was in New York on Thursday attending meetings related to the U.N. population conference in Cairo in 1994. She is one of the experts designated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to work on the 20-year follow-up to the action plan adopted in Egypt, Suarez said.
"That's why she asked for the visa and it's the reason for her presence in New York," he said.

Cuban diplomats are barred from traveling more than 25 miles from Manhattan.

The Equality Forum released a statement, which read in part:

“Over the past 11 years, Equality Forum has invited leaders of the featured nation to attend. For those who needed a visa, all past visas have been approved,” stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum.  “It is shocking that our State Department would deny Ms. Castro travel to a civil rights summit – especially one held in the birthplace of our democracy that enshrines freedoms of speech and assembly.”

“Mariela Castro runs the leading Cuban LGBT organization that offers support and services to LGBT youth and seniors, provides HIV and STD education and prevention, and combats homophobia,” said Lazin. “These are shared values that deserve the right to be heard regardless of political systems.”


  1. ratbastard says

    She’s nothing more than part of a PR campaign by the Castro Bros. and Cuban military junta that own and operate Cuba. Cuba is really controlled by an organized crime syndicate made up of elite military officials, who use their positions and power to simply enrich themselves. The communist party elite are very wealthy and live the life of a wealthy American or European, Castro himself is a billionaire. Much of that wealth comes from Cuba being used as a drug trafficking transshipment point between South and North America. They play up the communist aspect on the international stage to attract sympathy from western liberals and ‘progressives’. Their most current schtick is being gay-friendly and supporters of gay rights, because they know this attracts the friendly attention and support of western liberals and ‘progressives’, and makes them [Cuba] appear to an open and ‘progressive’ society. It’s all a game.

    If I see one more gay man or woman wearing a Che t-shirt,I’m gonna puke. Che was very anti-gay actively participating in their oppression, imprisonment and even murder.

  2. Monrocsol says


    We do not do this type of stuff in our country. Anyone working toward the common good of people, anywhere in the world, should be allowed to come to our country and be acknowledge for their humanitarian work. It is a disgrace that we allow this type of stuff.


  3. David Hearne says

    What a pant load! In the first place, to say that a public record or a public decision of this type is “confidential” is pure BS. Unless the State Dept. maintains that Miss Castro is a terrorist, a spy, or supports terrorism or spying then they are doing this arbitrarily and capriciously to appease the members of Congress who have to have a boogey man in Cuba to have a reason to get up in the morning.

    When a pissant little country like Cuba is such a big deal to the Imperium of America clearly all of our other problems have been solved.

    We have 12 million illegal aliens in this country. We have FIVE PERCENT of the population of Mexico in this country ILLEGALLY, and we can’t let some woman from Cuba come for a legal visit?

  4. ratbastard says

    To clarify [if anybody cares] I could personally care less if she were allowed to visit. I agree with others that the U.S. pays too much attention to Cuba [primarily due to the powerful Cuban-American lobby], and that we have much bigger fish to fry. But she’s still a uber tool and fraud.

  5. mymy says

    this is due to political influence of the anti-castro exile community (mainly in Miami) in Washington. The exiles have been dictating cuban-american policy in the US for over 40 years. Representing the wealthy aristocracy of the pre Castro era, they talk about freedom and liberty unless you disagree with them. Otherwise, you are labeled a communist or anti-american. Conservative, anti-gay catholics, and right wing politically. NO THANKS….just saying

  6. ratbastard says

    She’s a fraud. anybody with half a phuking brain can see through her, her family, and the Cuban revolution. There are shills on here who would have nice things to say about Hitler or Charles Manson if these men had said something nice and friendly regarding gays.

  7. Dearcomrade says

    Washington is more afraid of South Florida voters than Cuba.She and her father are no more thugs or frauds than the Chinese government. You know, The country that produces almost every item in our homes.

    Cuba is the little mouse that roared and stood its ground against the U.S. Sure they were oppressive and did horrible things to their people. Ever heard of Saudi Arabia, China, Russia? Ever heard of water boarding? How about rendition?

    Don’t forget to swing by the mall this weekend and pick up a Che Guevara t-shift.

  8. Dearcomrade says

    I hear there is a prison in Cuba were people are held for years without trial or any hope of ever being released. Its called Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

  9. ratbastard says


    No sh*t Sherlock. And does it matter if we have a ‘progressive’ Nobel Peace Prize winning [!] person of color president? Where are all the noisy demonstrations from the mainstream left or right on our wars and very cozy relationships with nations controlled by rulers who do things to their own people that the average western ‘progressive’ would sh*t bricks if done to them in their comfortable liberal democracy.

    ‘Progressives’ love Cuba because it stood up to their daddy [the U.S.], and it’s quaint [read: backwards] and a great place to vacation. Big business multinationals love China because doing business they have an incestuous relationship with the fascist criminal organization that runs China.

  10. ratbastard says

    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, comrade? It’s a tough world, comrade. Too bad we all can’t sit around a campfire and sing kumbaya. To bad we can’t just open up our prisons and let all the violent antisocial people out. But realistically, we can’t. They’d hurt us and even kill us if given the opportunity.

  11. jamal49 says

    The south-Florida gusanos still have enough influence to keep Ms. Castro out of the U.S.

    Rat, honey, as one who majored in Latin American studies and focused specifically on the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, I respectfully suggest that you are all wet.

    In spite of the best, worst efforts of the U.S. and successive presidencies from Eisenhower onward, Cuba has survived everything that U.S. reactionaries have thrown at her.

    Why? Because the Cubans who stayed behind and didn’t abandon their country have been determined to get el tio Sam off their backs. It hasn’t been pretty and certainly not perfect and, yes, we can find mucho to nitpick about the decades of “communist” rule.

    Cuba isn’t so backwards. They have a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. They have a higher literacy rate than the U.S. They have a superior public health-care system compared to the U.S.

    You ask the average Cuban in the street and they will tell you that things could always be better. But, they also know that prior to the Cuban revolution in 1958, Cubans were virtual slaves to U.S. corporations who worked hand-in-hand with the Mafia and the corrupt Cuban aristocracy to keep 90% of Cubans under the thumb of 10% of Cubans (the cowards who fled after Castro took control).

    What harm could have been caused by permitting Mariela Castro entry into the U.S.? She has been a fierce advocate for gay rights in Cuba and she is a fantastic woman!

    It is an act of cowardice and petty politics for the State Dept. to have denied Ms. Castro the visa. I imagine that, right now, President Obama will brook nothing that will give fodder to conservatives who want nothing more than ANY issue they can scrounge up to continue undermining his presidency.

    Regardless, it is shameful.

  12. says

    She’s an absolute dynamo. The last thing America’s conservative Right wants is a strong living example that Cuba and many of its citizens are, to use their language, More American than they are.

  13. ratbastard says


    Majored where? And who were your professors and what were their ideologies?

    Give me a break. You people are shameless. If you had to live like the average Cuban is forced to live, you wouldn’t be a happy camper. And of course Cubans in Cuba are AFRAID to say anything negative against their government. And for good reason!


    And of course our resident Canadian troll, Mr. Miller, had to chime in. Good ol’ Cuba…where would jaded, blase, spoiled middle class Canadians go for a charming vacation in a quaint country if Cuba entered the 21st century and average Cubans had the same things and aspirations as average Canadians?


    FINALLY: Ms Castro’s dad MURDERED people for being gay. He imprisoned people for being maricon. As did his buddy, Che.

    Absolutely shameless.

  14. says

    And yet, this Cuban lady can put a public face and voice to her championing of Equality, while despite being safe in the US of A, ratbastard is still a pathetic little coward who can only make his comments anonymously. Your dad is apparently dead, ratty. He’s not around to be embarrassed by you anymore. So why still such a little wimp? Don’t be mad that the Cuban lady has bigger balls than you. It aint her fault.

    She’s a visible presence. You’re an anonymous coward.
    Thems be the facts.