Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cuba: Independent reporter says a gay rights organization has been launched

In an article posted online on Monday at the anti-Castro portals and at, Manuel Guerra Pérez, a reporter for the newly formed Associated Free Agency (ALAS), writes that a new gay rights organization called the Cuban Movement for Homosexual Liberation (MCLH) was launched at a ceremony that took place in Havana's Arroyo Naranjo neighborhood which involved twenty or so participants [NOTE: Pictured are members of ALAS, the journalist association, not of MCLH, the gay rights organization].

Leannes Imber, identified as the president of the new organization, said that the inaugural ceremony began with the group singing the national Cuban anthem as a symbol that gays and lesbians are also part of the Cuban society.

Imber said "The organizers of this movement will denounce the cases of repression and human rights violations to which [gays] are subjected by the government of this island."

Considering Cuba's well-reported persecution against gays and lesbians in the past, there has been mounting evidence that the country's leadership has been changing its ways and being more inclusive and welcoming. But who knows how they will react to an organization that might challenge their record of human rights abuses against gays and lesbians from within?

In related news, an article posted yesterday in MartiNoticias, says that the Cuban government has finally allowed "Los Siete Contra Tebas" - by Cuban playwright Antón Arrufat - to be staged in Habana after being banned for almost forty years.

Arrufat tells MartiNoticias that he never knew the exact reasons why the play had been banned but that he believes it was part of the government's "witch hunt" against dozens of intellectuals and artists who happened to be gay which lasted for decades.

As for ALAS reporter Manuel Guerra Pérez - who reported on the new gay rights organization and who made a living as as a school custodian - he was fired on October 2nd, according to his ALAS colleague Katia Sonia Martin Veliz.

She implies that the firing was related to his journalistic activities and says that his supervisors criticized his "questioning attitude" and "untrustworthiness." Miami-based blogger
"anti-establishment attitude."

UPDATE: In a new article by Richard Rosello posted on Bitacora Cubana on October 25th, the name of the leader of the organization is corrected (Leanes Imbert Acosta) and a contact e-mail is given for the organization ( ).

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