Castro admits to marginalizing gays during revolution



HAVANA- Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has acknowledged discrimination against homosexuals during his rule in the 1960s and 70s, decrying the "great injustice" suffered by gays in the country.
"If there is someone responsible, it is me... but for sure at the time I could not be concerned with this matter", he told Mexican newspaper La Jornada in an interview published Tuesday on the official website Cubadebate.cu.



Castro admits to marginalizing gays during revolution
"I found myself primarily immersed in the October Crisis (the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962), in war, in political issues", said the 84-year-old Castro, who only recently has emerged from years of seclusion following surgery that ended his 48-year rule of the island.
Castro did not blame the ruling Communist Party for the discrimination, instead regretting that he himself did not pay enough attention to the plight of gays during an era of sabotage, armed attacks and assassination plots against him.
"Avoiding the CIA, which bought so many traitors, was not easy, but if anyone has to take responsibility, I take mine. I will not hold anyone else responsible", Castro said.
Like other Cubans, including some priests, considered "ideological deviants", gays in the 1960s were sent to labor camps for re-education and rehabilitation. Discrimination continued in the 1970s, with gays, in particular gay artists and writers, disgraced, marginalized, or in some cases driven into exile.
"Yes, there were moments of great injustice -- great injustice", Castro said.
"I am trying to narrow my responsibility in all of this, because of course personally I have no such prejudice" against homosexuals, he said.
The situation has improved greatly for gays and lesbians in Cuba, where Castro's niece Mariela -- the daughter of President Raul Castro -- heads the National Sex Education Center and has been campaigning for years for greater rights for gays and transsexuals.
Sex reassignment surgery is administered in Cuba, but same-sex marriage is not legal, and Mariela Castro said in January that there was still also reticence towards homosexuality in the Communist Party.
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Thursday, September 2nd 2010
AFP
           


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