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In defence of Bernie Sanders’ remarks on Fidel Castro | Letters

Sam Cordery highlights Cuba’s progressive policies in recent years, while Arthur Michelson says that praising some aspects of the Castro regime is not the same as excusing it. Plus, Alwyn Eades points out how Cuba fares in comparison with its neighbours

Re Aaron Hicklin’s article (If Bernie Sanders thinks Cuba is worth defending, he should talk to gay dissidents, 27 February), the former Spanish colony of Cuba is in the Caribbean, where eight out of 28 states have yet to legalise same-sex relations and 18 have no anti-discrimination laws. Cuba has never hidden the early abuses of the 1960s – Fidel Castro himself reflected: “Yes, there were great injustices … if someone is responsible, it’s me.” But Cuba is not stuck in the 1960s. Hicklin fails to mention the sexual diversity education courses that have run across workplaces, community centres and schools since the 1980s, or CENESEX (National Centre for Sex Education), founded in 1989, well-known for its advancement of LGBT rights. What about state-funded films and theatre such as Strawberry and Chocolate and Muerte en el Bosque, challenging homophobic attitudes?

He also omits the fact that trans people have received free gender-reassignment surgery and support since 2008; Adela Hernández, a trans woman, was elected to a municipal council in Villa Clara (2012) and with majority support in the National Assembly; and Cuban society is currently debating same-sex marriage as part of updating the family code.
Sam Cordery
Coordinator of 2019’s Rock Around the Blockade solidarity brigade to Cuba

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