Cuban police prevent activist from attending Pride march
An independent Cuban LGBT rights advocate on Sunday said security agents
prevented him from attending a Pride march in Havana that he organized.
Navid Fernández Cabrera, president of the Shui Tuix Foundation, in a
press release said two security agents were standing in an intersection
near his home in Havana's 10 de Octubre neighborhood around 8 a.m. when
he and his partner left their apartment building.
Fernández said he and his partner were trying to go to the Prado, a
boulevard that divides Old Havana from the rest of the Cuban capital on
which the march was scheduled to take place. The advocate maintains the
two security agents "would not allow us to leave the block."
"They told us that we could not go to the gathering," said Fernández.
Fernández said he was unable to use his telephone until 12:30 p.m.
because it had been disconnected.
A press release the Shui Tuix Foundation issued earlier this month said
the march was to have begun at the Cuban Capitol at 10 a.m. The event
was expected to continue to Havana's oceanfront promenade known as the
Malecón where participants were to have read a declaration of human
rights within the context of the normalization of relations between the
U.S. and Cuba that President Obama announced last December.
"The re-establishment of conversations between the governments of the
United States and Cuba motivates us, in order to achieve a better
democracy for our community and perhaps an improvement with respect to
our rights on the part of the government of the Castros," said the Shui
Tuix Foundation in its press release that announced the Pride march.
Fernández said around 50 people had gathered in front of the Capitol
before the march was scheduled to begin. The Washington Blade could not
immediately confirm whether it took place.
Advocate critical of Mariela Castro
Fernández, 50, is a vocal critic of Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of
Cuban President Raúl Castro who spearheads a number of LGBT-specific
campaigns through the National Center for Sexual Education that she directs.
The National Center for Sexual Education, known by the Spanish acronym
CENESEX, last month organized a series of events in Havana and the
provincial capital of Las Tunas that commemorated the International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington
is scheduled to perform with a local gay chorus next month in the Cuban
capital after Mariela Castro formally invited them to the Communist island.
Fernández last month during an interview with the Washington Blade at
his Havana home mockingly described CENESEX as a "scientific
institution" that conducts research.
"Their 'fabulous' idea initially has been the Day Against Homophobia and
they later added the last name Transphobia to it," he said. "It is 10
days of events, and what do they do in these 10 days? Scientific events?"
"The population does not receive this information," added Fernández.
"The population is not interested in these scientific events."
Neither the Cuban Interests Section in Washington nor CENESEX responded
to the Blade's request for comment. A spokesperson for the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana on Sunday declined to comment on Fernández's
"What happened in the morning did not surprise me," Fernández told the
Blade in a follow-up email. "This is something that occurs all the time
with members of civil society."
Source: Cuban police prevent activist from attending Pride march -