Castro Acknowledges Cuba's Past Homophobia
In an interview, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro acknowledged Cuba's post-revolution anti-gay persecution.
In the interview, published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Castro admitted to a series of atrocities he allowed his government to commit against the LGBT community.
According to the blog SameSame; during the 1960's gay men were arrested and forced to work in labor camps. Others were forced to join the military to undergo "political re-education" where they were often subject to abuse by their commanding officers.
"They were moments of great injustice, great injustice," Castro told Carmen Saade of La Jornada. "If someone is responsible, it's me."
Castro's recent media blitz comes after his 4 year long hiatus from the public eye. In 2006, after a serious fall and other health concerns, he relinquished control of Cuba to his younger brother Raul Castro.
Castro, who is known for making inflammatory anti-gay remarks in the past, took a distinctly contrite tone during the interview.
He blamed his personal ineptitude toward LGBT issues on the rigors of leading a country. "We had so many and such terrible problems... that we didn't pay it enough attention," he said. "The biggest problem was always medicine and food, which is true even today."
Castro's change of heart toward the gay community is indicative of Cuba's push for gay rights. Persecution of gays ended when homosexuality was decriminalized in 1979. Citizens also have access to free gender reassignment surgery and legal recognition of same-sex unions is under debate.