by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

Cuba suspends the country’s traditional gay march

15 May, 2019

by Eugenia Tovar, Misiones, Argentina.

Cuban authorities cancelled a traditional gay march without offering clear reasons for it, which generated controversy in the LGBT community.

Since 2007, the so-called Conga against Homophobia was one of the axes of a program for diversity organized by the Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) - directed by Mariela Castro - and this year it would be developed between the 6th and the 18th of May.

And even though in this 12th edition some workshops, talks and cultural galas were going to be held, the organizing committee of the conference suspended the parade on the instructions of the Ministry of Public Health due to "the current situation that is experiencing the country," said an official note without giving details.

But, wait, what? Just like that?

Normally the march would take place around May 17 to commemorate the World Day to Combat Homophobia. So, this means that the Cuban’s government literally cancelled the march with less than two weeks to go!

Cuba is experiencing economic difficulties stemming from the crisis of its main ally, Venezuela, and the tightening of sanctions by the United States, which seeks a change in the political model of the island.

However, the explanation for the cancellation of the march was so vague that some activists of the LGBT community attributed it to the pressure of evangelical groups that last year began a campaign that impacted on the new Constitution regarding marriage.

Since the end of 2018, in a gesture of unusual challenge, the evangelical churches made activism and ceremonies against egalitarian weddings while religious leaders called to vote against the Constitution that was proclaimed on April 10.

As for the arguments about the financial tension in the country, the activists also distrusted, since they claim that the conga generated little expense and other recent marches were not cancelled.

One of the main references of the LGBT community, the journalist Francisco Rodríguez, defended Cenesex from the attacks of the disillusioned. "Now it is taken for offended people who never went to the conga or fought against homophobia in their closet, just to speak ill of the government," he wrote on Twitter, while in his blog he exhorted not to give so much relevance to the march and to engage in the legislative battle that is approaching, because it will be necessary to approve a new Code of Families in which will be discussed on the equal marriage.

What’s more, all of this discomfort led individuals to start complaining and activating their groups of combat in order to fight against this unfair governmental decision.

The Cuban police interrupted Saturday a march for the rights of the LGBT collective (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual), an alternative to the official demonstration that was not held this year, and that managed to advance some 400 meters along the traditional Paseo del Prado in Havana.

Shouting "Yes you can", "Cuba diversa" or, "The biggest Cuba", the LGBT activists showed their disagreement for the official suspension of the conga (parade) in the annual Conference Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which it organizes the National Center of Sexual Education (Cenesex), that works under the trusteeship of the Ministry of Health.

So, what’s next for the LGBTI community in Cuba? It’s a matter of time, but we are seeing a backward feeling in regards to this community is not only Cuba, but almost in all of Latin America, and it is a real shame.