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Mariela Castro Visits Liberty Bell in Philadelphia: VIDEO


Cuban gay rights activist and daughter of President Raul Castro is in Philadelphia to pick up an award from Philadelphia's Equality Forum after a brief tussle with the State Dept. over a visa approval, which she was granted last week.


The AP reports:

Mariela Castro spoke briefly to reporters during her sightseeing tour. Asked about the health of her uncle and father, Castro replied: "They're wonderful, and I learn a lot from their example."

Commenting on the gay rights movement in the U.S., she said, "In this election especially, they showed that they form a very important vote in American society."

A married mother of three, Castro leads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which is part of the island nation's public health ministry. She is the country's most prominent gay rights activist, having trained police on relations with the LGBT community and lobbied lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions. She was elected as a deputy in Cuba's parliament in February.

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  1. Does anybody know where Cuba stands when it comes to gay rights?
    Mariela seems a very likable person.

    Posted by: George F | May 4, 2013 3:34:49 PM

  2. @George F

    Like any country, there are always people who are hostel to the LGBT community. Cuba is an interesting place when it comes to LGBT people, they are more accepted than people think. Most people would admit they know someone who is gay, friend or family. And of course there is always the "if im not the one taking it in the a** im not gay" which is popular, they even have their own slang words for these identities.

    Posted by: Javier | May 4, 2013 4:03:50 PM

  3. I am under the impression Cuba treats its Gay citizens well. There is no legal discrimination like here in the States.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | May 4, 2013 4:34:39 PM

  4. I think she'll be president of Cuba some day -- hopefully soon. If she's for gay rights, I'm guessing deep down she wants democracy for Cuba and it's people. They would make a mint on tourism alone and hosting gay weddings in a beautiful place. Mariela Castro for Presidente!!! That would be historic!

    Posted by: Bee Bop | May 4, 2013 4:42:01 PM

  5. I agree; Castro likely will be president of Cuba one day.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | May 4, 2013 6:30:11 PM

  6. "President"

    As if there were any competing political parties. There's a single dynasty that has been in political power for decades with no allowance for real contenders.

    Mariela Castro, unlike most Cubans, enjoys the spoils of her family's brutal regime.

    And no, Cuba has no recognition of gay relationships. Mariela is just the PR person that has yet to have her regime deliver on campaign promises. The US at the very least has 10 states, which combined are much larger than the population of Cuba which benefit gay people with meaningful legal recognitiona nd an actual democracy.

    Posted by: Lucrece | May 4, 2013 6:56:37 PM

  7. No, Cuba does NOT treat it gay citizens well. There are no gay bars or clubs in Cuba (the gov't hasn't yet allowed one to open). All gay parties are underground and illegal. Gay meeting spots, like on the Malecon and the stretch of there to the Yara movie theater, are closely watched by police. Any signs of affection could be punished by the police (a friend went there and kissed a guy, with the Cuban guy receiving a fine of two months' salary). When I was there, a guy I put my hand on told me to stop because the police were watching him. It may not be as bad now as in the time of Reinaldo Arenas (read, or at least watch, Before Night Falls), but gay rights are highly curtailed in Cuba.

    And for what it's worth, I am 100% opposed to US policy against Cuba and think travel restrictions should be lifted ASAP and embassies and ambassadors exchanged. However, that doesn't change the fact that Cuba treats it gays miserably.

    Posted by: Brad | May 4, 2013 7:36:52 PM

  8. For an alternative, a Canadian str8 friend and his wife had a splendid trip to Cuba. After a few nights at a hotel, they found a b&b, happened to be run by a lesbian couple, and they kindly arranged other places for them as they traveled around--several gay and all open businesses that are part of the broader community. I've heard stories at both extremes--now want to find out for myself!

    Posted by: JoelD | May 4, 2013 9:15:34 PM

  9. Her "wonderful" father and uncle are two of the worst dictators in the world. They are responsible for countless deaths and denying basic human freedoms Cuban citizens. Her happy go lucky father ran homosexual concentration camps in the 1960's.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 4, 2013 10:30:51 PM

  10. Very interesting insights ...Thank you all!

    Ah...I also want to mention that a gringo speaking in Spanish -like the one who is guiding Mariela on the clip- makes me stick up my ears and wag my tail!

    Posted by: George F | May 5, 2013 12:08:30 AM

  11. Human Rights for Cuban LGBT folks, wonderful absolutely, now how about the same rights for ALL the Cuban people. PRESIDENT really people, you all need a reality check and not “oh I went there on vacation and had a wonderful time”. President of the POLITBURO is a little different. If say LGBT rights had been an issue in the 1950’s and Khrushchev’s daughter was able simply because of birth rights to be an advocate, would you all be so excited (?) How did she ever get a travel visa from CUBA I wonder, must have connections NO?

    Posted by: NE Rich | May 5, 2013 8:34:05 AM

  12. She was elected in a one-party state. Her father and uncle are virtual dictators who only have to really answer to the Cuban military elite [you know, the guns with the guns]. STOP GLORIFYING HER. She doesn't deserve it. She's engaged in nothing more than a PR campaign for her family and Cuba's status quo. It's embarrassing that all anytime has to do is say they like gays, or think gays should be allowed to marry, or whatnot, and a lot of gays and so-called advocates fall over themselves trying to praise them. I've said it before, it bares repeating: If Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Satan, came out and said nice things about gays, there's be no shortage of gays coming on here and acting like young girls [or some gay men!] drooling over Justin Bieber.

    As for Cuba, I don't care if the U.S reestablishes relations with Castro, Inc. But it amuses me when some people blame Cuba's obvious massive failings due to the U.S. There's a huge world outside the U.S., and many powerful, wealthy countries have diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Yet the island is still stuck in a time warp, circa 1959. The vast majority of Cubans are by any reasonable standard abject poor, barely enough resources to buy a pot to p*ss in. Their revolutionary leaders are FABULOUSLY wealthy, including Ms. Castro. Some posters on here should be ashamed of themselves.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 5, 2013 10:19:18 AM

  13. And speaking of racism [REAL racism], how many of Cuba's power elite are black or even mixed? How many are lily white, like Ms. Castro?

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 5, 2013 10:22:30 AM

  14. There are plenty of other LGBT activists from around the world to give awards to other than the daughter of communist dictators. The US spat with Cuba is contingent on her uncle dying. Until that happens relations will not improve. The USSR used to give a lot of aid to Cuba in exchange for Cuban military assistance in various African civil wars, but China has no use for Cuba and so they've been using foreign tourist dollars and repatriated Cuban-exile money to survive.

    It would have been much better to give an award to a Russian activist risking life and limb than this highly pampered woman.

    Posted by: anon | May 5, 2013 10:34:28 AM

  15. There is nothing virtual about the Castro family dictatorship- they have been in complete control of Cuba since 1959. Now I'm all for honoring those who help the LGBT world wide community- but seriously they could have found someone more deserving than this communist princess.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 5, 2013 5:53:31 PM

  16. Her father and uncle are responsible for forcing gays into "rehabilitation camps" to slave the gay away but she's really pretty and nice so lay off her!

    Posted by: Vince Barnes | May 5, 2013 7:19:40 PM

  17. Castro Regime locked up homosexuals for many years simply for being homosexual.

    Posted by: Patrick | May 5, 2013 7:44:49 PM

  18. Adolf Hitler was an animal rights advocate and was very kind to children, but not too many people remember Hitler for his kindness to animals and children.

    Posted by: Patrick | May 5, 2013 7:47:13 PM

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