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Fidel Castro takes ‘responsibility’ for persecution of Cuban gays

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Former Cuban President Fidel Castro called years of official persecution of homosexuals under his Communist regime an ‘injustice.’ In an interview published this week in a Mexican newspaper, he said he takes responsibility for the repression.

‘If someone is responsible, it is me,’ Castro told Carmen Lira, editor of the left-leaning daily La Jornada. Here’s the second part of the Castro’s interview in Spanish. La Plaza reported on the first part here.

After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Communist government arrested gays and sent many to labor or ‘re-education’ camps. Homosexuality is no longer criminalized on the island nation and Castro’s niece, Mariela Castro (daughter of current President Raul Castro), is a prominent activist for expanding gay rights in Cuba.

Numerous books and films have depicted the period of persecution, including the novel Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas, later adapted into a film. Here’s a video by the Guardian newspaper on the contemporary gay and transgender culture in Cuba.

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In the interview, Castro said the repression against gays occurred in a tumultuous period while the Communist government was defending itself against ‘traitors’ and the CIA. ‘But in the end, after all, if someone must assume responsibility, I offer my own,’ Castro told Lira. ‘I cannot blame anyone else.’

— Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City


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