The Cuban government's policies on their gay citizens have been in the news quite a bit these days. Mariela Castro-Espin, daughter of the famed Fidel, successfully fought for approval of government-funded sex change operations in the country, a startlingly progressive shift in attitudes. They even had a gay pride parade planned, until the government became skittish and shut everything down. But at least they tried. Better luck next year.
Although we must question the government's motives behind these recent changes in attitude. The local community isn't really aware of any pro-gay developments -- the papers never write about these stories, very few people have access to the internet, and Castro's cronies aren't exactly walking around telling the country they are handing out sex changes for free. This news is being spread more to the international press, perhaps to paint the picture of Cuba as a gay tourist paradise, and bring in ever-more-valuable foreign money to the country?
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Never mind the fact that Castro's Cuba has one of the worst track records on gay rights in the world, with a long list of abuses like torture and imprisonment. But pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Look at the lovely beaches instead! It's a gay tourist paradise!
- Dan Renzi