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Rainbow solidarity: in defense of Cuba

por Leslie Feinberg

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Featuring an insightful look at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) life in Cuba, this chronicle illuminates the progress the country has made from centuries of backward attitudes and oppression to the current state of enlightenment. From the mores of the Colonial period to the roles that Hollywood, the CIA, and Wall Street played in depicting Cuba as a "police state" for gays and in reinforcing the oppression, this overview provides a backdrop of the past and illustrates the persecution and exploitation originally planted by Spanish colonialism and further cultivated by U.S. capitalism. Details on the gradual transformation follow as the narrative examines the impact of the political and institutional initiatives taken by Fidel Castro and the Cuban leadership to overcome bigotry and prejudice against LGBT people--among them free health care and education, guaranteed jobs and housing, special health care for AIDS victims, and widespread sex education.… (más)

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I have enormous respect for Feinberg's work on gender. However, hir astonishingly specious claims, baseless assertions, and cherry-picked factoids about LGBTQ life in Cuba are pure propaganda. Most of the gay and lesbian Cubans I know, children of the Revolution, are as far from the Miami right wing as you can get. However, their lives as gay people on the island were (and are) deeply circumscribed under Castro. Feinberg's attacks on the late poet and writer Reinaldo Arenas and hir fuzzy linkage of the film adaptation of Before Night Falls with the CIA are shockingly devoid of both supporting evidence and intellectual honesty. Further, the well-documented "AIDS parties" (in which despairing young queers injected themselves with friends' HIV-positive blood as a political statement), Castro's infamous UMAP camps, the double lives many Cuban gays are forced to lead, and the testimonios of those seeking asylum in other countries, are completely ignored or whitewashed. This book offers anything but solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Cuba and the diaspora. ( )
  nolapoet | Nov 9, 2009 |
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Featuring an insightful look at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) life in Cuba, this chronicle illuminates the progress the country has made from centuries of backward attitudes and oppression to the current state of enlightenment. From the mores of the Colonial period to the roles that Hollywood, the CIA, and Wall Street played in depicting Cuba as a "police state" for gays and in reinforcing the oppression, this overview provides a backdrop of the past and illustrates the persecution and exploitation originally planted by Spanish colonialism and further cultivated by U.S. capitalism. Details on the gradual transformation follow as the narrative examines the impact of the political and institutional initiatives taken by Fidel Castro and the Cuban leadership to overcome bigotry and prejudice against LGBT people--among them free health care and education, guaranteed jobs and housing, special health care for AIDS victims, and widespread sex education.

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