From daily News Line in Britain:
Shut G-Bay Down! 17 Years Of ‘Temple Of Torture’
8th May 2019
- The notion that the men in Guantánamo Bay are ‘the worst of the worst’ is a myth
- Despite evidence that torture isn’t effective as a means of interrogation, Donald Trump supports its use
- Trump insists that no more detainees can leave the prison – not even the five men cleared for release
Here are five of the most compelling reasons why Guantánamo Bay should be closed for good, says Reprieve.
1. The ‘worst of the worst’ myth
More detainees have died in Guantánamo than have been convicted of a crime.
The US’s claim that Guantánamo detainees are the ‘worst of the worst’ does not stand up – US authorities started to release those who had been abducted and imprisoned as early as 2002, the year the prison opened.
Now, only 40 remain from a total of 780.
In fact, within a year of opening, Guantánamo’s operational commander complained that he was being sent too many ‘Mickey Mouse’ detainees.
As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights points out: ‘According to official information, only 8% of Guantánamo detainees were characterised as ‘fighters’ for Al-Qaeda or the Taliban; 93% were not captured by US forces; and most were turned over to US custody at a time in which the United States offered bounties for the capture of suspected terrorists.”
The majority of the detainees were never even charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one.
In total, the US has only convicted six of the 780 prisoners who have been through Guantánamo’s gates.
2. Trump’s temple of torture
Leaked documents from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2004 detail ‘an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture at Guantánamo.’
The ICRC documented the use of humiliating acts including solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions, exposure to loud and persistent noise and music, and regular beatings.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur for Torture has made it clear that indefinite detention in itself amounts to torture.
The main conclusion of the US Senate’s 2014 probe into CIA torture was that it ‘was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence.’
But Donald Trump has said he would like to ‘bring back waterboarding’ and ‘a hell of a lot worse’, adding: ‘Don’t tell me it doesn’t work – torture works … if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.’
3. The expensive mistake
It costs the US tax payer $445 million a year to keep the remaining 40 detainees held in Guantánamo. This means that it costs $29,000 per prisoner per night to keep Guantánamo open – far more than any federal or state prison.
4. The legal black hole
In opening Guantánamo Bay in 2002, the US Government sought to create a legal black hole – where it argued neither US nor international law applied.
Choosing an offshore facility in Cuba as the base, the administration claimed that detainees were not covered by the US Constitution because they were not on US soil, and that their enemy combatant status meant they could be denied legal protections.
The ‘legal protections’ in question ranged from being denied access to lawyers and fair trials to the systematic use of torture.
5. The prison of no exits
Last year, Donald Trump proudly announced that nobody else would be released from Guantánamo.
There are 40 men still in the prison – five of those have already been cleared for release in a rigorous process involving six separate US agencies including the Department of Defence and the Director of National Intelligence.
They have been deemed to pose no threat, yet Donald Trump won’t allow them to leave.
Reprieve says: ‘We led the fight for access to the men held at Guantánamo, and were one of the very first organisations allowed inside.
‘Since then, we have secured freedom for more than 80 men illegally detained without charge or trial – more than any other organisation.
‘After 9/11, the US government systematically designed and implemented a programme of abducting and torturing terrorism suspects, before imprisoning them without due process in Guantánamo Bay.’
Reprieve’s Clive Stafford Smith, who was one of the three lawyers who demanded and successfully sued for access to the prison, said: ‘Since 2002, 779, including at least 15 children, have been imprisoned at Guantánamo.
‘The vast majority of them were sold to the US for large bounties – typically, around $5,000 for each man.
‘So far, just four detainees have been convicted of a crime – fewer than the number who have died in detention.
‘No-one has ever been held accountable for the illegal detention and abuse at the prison camp and it remains open to this day.’
Commenting on a leaked letter from Javid to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year, Foa said: ‘Sajid Javid has undermined the UK’s decades-long opposition to the death penalty and Guantánamo Bay in an attempt to outsource our justice system to the US.
‘There is no reason why people accused of murdering British citizens should not face British justice in a British court.
‘Justice is not served by turning such individuals over to a US justice system which has an appalling record of trying such cases, in large part as a result of torture and mistreatment.
‘Guantánamo Bay has, over a period of 16 years, seen repeated attempts to hold any judicial process fail.
‘Only four out of 780 detainees have been convicted in the military courts system.
‘The death penalty, as the government has accepted many times, is not effective as a deterrent and has led to gross miscarriages of justice.
‘Instead of kowtowing to the Trump Administration, Sajid Javid should use the laws already in place to bring these cases before a British court.’
On Monday, the US Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the government’s indefinite detention of an inmate at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison camp. Moath al-Alwi has been imprisoned and tortured for nearly two decades without ever having been convicted of any crime. The court’s action is for all practical purposes a repudiation of basic democratic rights and a tacit endorsement of the regime of abductions, renditions, torture, secrecy and indefinite detention without trial that has been erected in the course of the “war on terror”: here.
This 9 April 2019 video from TIME magazine in the USA says about itself:
By Alexander Fangmann in the USA:
Trump administration escalates threats against Cuba
20 April 2019
On Wednesday, in a set of twin events presided over by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced its reversal of a policy shared by Democratic and Republican administrations alike for nearly a quarter of a century by imposing a set of draconian economic sanctions against Cuba.
In addition to reversing a number of Obama-era measures loosening economic restrictions against Cuba, the administration is ending the regular waivers of Title III of the anti-Cuban Helms-Burton Act, which provides penalties even for non-US citizens and companies conducting business on the island. Title III, which has been continuously waived every six months by US presidents since the law was signed by Bill Clinton, authorizes US nationals to sue persons or companies for damages in US courts if they are found to be “trafficking” in property confiscated by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.
The statements of the two US officials, and Bolton’s in particular, delivered to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association near Miami, made clear that Washington’s ongoing actions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are part of an effort to re-impose the absolute dominance of US imperialism in the Western hemisphere. It is also part of the anti-socialist campaign launched by Trump and the Republican Party in an attempt to whip up support among the far right in advance of the 2020 elections.
Pompeo told a State Department press conference that the full provisions of Title III would take effect May 2. Those sued could have assets in the US seized in recompense or have US travel visas denied or revoked. Justifying the new measures in relation to Cuba’s support for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Pompeo said, “Cuba’s behavior in the Western Hemisphere undermines security and stability of countries throughout the region, which directly threatens United States national security interests.”
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier said at the press conference that 6,000 Title III claims have already been certified, with a potential for up to 200,000. The 6,000 claims already certified have a stated value of $8 billion. Notably, Title III claims have to be for confiscated property worth over $50,000, and the law mandates a $6,700 filing fee, shattering any pretense that this measure would benefit any but the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
Among the highest claims certified so far are those of Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola and Office Depot. Should they prevail in US courts, they would reap their rewards through the seizing of the US assets of foreign companies, mostly European and Canadian, operating in Cuba, exacerbating already sharp global trade tensions.
Pompeo said, “Those doing business in Cuba should fully investigate whether they are connected to property stolen in service of a failed communist experiment.”
Following the announcement, representatives of Canada and the EU, among Cuba’s biggest trade partners, issued a joint statement, saying, “The decision by the United States to renege on its longstanding commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act is regrettable, and will have an important impact on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.” They also stated they would be challenging the US action through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution framework.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, noting, “As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the application of unilateral trade laws with extraterritorial character, since they violate the norms of international law.”
Other measures announced include a reduction in the amount of remittances Cuban residents of the US are able to send to their families on the island to $1,000 every three months. Under Obama, restrictions on remittances had been lifted entirely, and while average remittances are around $200 per month, the restrictions will have serious repercussions for numerous families as well as small businesses, which have relied on such remittances essentially as a form of foreign investment.
Pompeo also said that the US would be shutting down travel to Cuba for anything but family visits, eliminating several categories of travel that had been authorized by the Obama administration, which would now require authorization from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This is expected to have an effect on American tourism to the island, and will reduce family visits by Cubans and Cuban-Americans as airlines eliminate flights and raise fares in response to decreasing demand.
Another measure will ban so-called “U-Turn” transactions through which the Cuban government indirectly accesses the US financial system by making transactions in third-party countries.
Additionally, five Cuban entities will be added to the list that prohibits direct financial transactions with US companies. The only one named so far is Aerogaviota, an airline founded by the Cuban military.
The net effect of all these restrictions will be to further squeeze the Cuban economy, which is already facing shortages of energy and other imports resulting from slow growth, as well as falling deliveries of subsidized fuel from Venezuela. The hope, especially in regard to Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, is to discourage companies from doing business in Cuba or encourage them to exit. The strategy is, essentially, to starve the island into submission.
The political character of the actions of the Trump administration were made especially clear by Bolton’s appearance at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, near Miami, where he spoke to a group of ultra-right Cuban exiles celebrating the 58th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, an abortive CIA-led effort to overthrow the Castro government using an army of right-wing Cuban exiles. He ludicrously compared the counterrevolutionary band, which surrendered en masse to the Cuban military after a day of fighting, to “the brave men of Bunker Hill, Belleau Wood and Normandy.”
Referring to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as the “troika of tyranny”, Bolton’s speech was loaded with blood curdling anti-socialist rhetoric reminiscent of the height of the Cold War. Saying that “the twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere”, Bolton said it was time to “reverse the consequences of disastrous Obama-era policies and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”
Bolton also stated, “Today, we proudly proclaim for all to hear: the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well”, referring to the historic US policy of claiming unfettered dominance over the Americas.
Perhaps most provocatively, he appealed to the ultra-right elements in attendance to be prepared for a confrontation with the growing socialist sentiments in the US itself, saying, “We will need your help in the days ahead. We must all reject the forces of communism and socialism in this hemisphere—and in this country.”
RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED ON U.S. TRAVEL TO CUBA The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Cuba this week, including banning all U.S. travel to the island for tourism in response to the Cuban government’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. [HuffPost]
On Tuesday, the US government published new rules restricting cruise ships as well as some types of educational tours from traveling to Cuba. The aim is to exacerbate an economic crisis on the island: here.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Crickets in love behind ‘sonic attack’ at the US American embassy in Cuba
Who or what is behind the mysterious ‘sonic attacks’ that took place at the United States embassy in Cuba? Diplomats who stayed there between the end of 2016 and the end of 2017 were faced with unexplained health problems, such as hearing loss, headaches and nausea. According to the United States, Cuba was the instigator: it supposedly carried out attacks with sound waves.
The truth now seems a little more innocent. An American and a British scientist conclude after examining a sound recording that there is no question of an audio weapon, but of crickets during their mating season.
“I can almost certainly say that the released recording is a cricket, and we think we know what species it is”, says one of the researchers to The New York Times. It is Anurogryllus celerinictus, a cricket species that lives in the Caribbean.
The researchers came to this conclusion after studying a sound recording that was published in 2017 by news agency AP. At the time, various media, including the NOS, wrote that the sound “most closely resembles the chirping of crickets“. …
The ‘sonic attacks’ affair escalated sharply at the end of 2017. The US withdrew more than half of the staff of its embassy in Havana. No visa applications were processed at the embassy, and a negative travel advice for Cuba was introduced for Americans. Cuban diplomats in the US also had to leave the country. Cuba denies any involvement in an ‘attack’.
This video says about itself:
Baseball Fiesta in Barcelona 1992 – Summer Olympics
Cubans play baseball just as Brazilians play soccer – it’s their national sport. Pick any street in Havana and you are as likely to see impromptu games taking place as you are to see locals walking to the shops.
The sport was introduced to the island by American sailors back in the 1860s. Banned during the first Cuban War of Independence from Spanish rule in 1869 because Cubans began to prefer it to bullfighting, the baseball ban only increased interest in the sport.
Baseball became a symbol of Cuban freedom and independence and even former President Fidel Castro was known to pitch a few balls from the mound in his day.
Cuban baseball players are among the best in the world. The national team became Olympic champions three times. So, the biggest baseball competition in the world, Major League Baseball in the USA, wants Cuban players. However, for a long time, Cuban-United States relations were very bad. That meant Cuban players could only travel to the US, eg, via Mexican criminal gangs extorting them.
Under the Obama administration, there was some improvement in US-Cuban relations. However, Donald Trump has ruined much of that improvement. In spite of that, the baseball federations of both countries did not give up, and have an agreement now.
From the Washington Post in the USA:
MLB, Cuban Baseball Federation reach agreement; Trump administration signals it has issues with deal
19 December 2018
Major League Baseball on Wednesday reached a historic agreement with Cuba’s baseball federation, modeled after those with leagues in Japan and Korea, that would regulate and streamline the entry of Cuban players coming to the U.S., the league announced. But it remains to be seen whether the Trump administration’s harder line against the Cuban government leaves room for the agreement to work in practice.
The agreement, the result of years of negotiations between MLB, the MLB Players Association and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), is designed to end decades of fraught relations between MLB and Cuba and eliminate the need for Cuban players to defect. …
However, a State Department spokesman said that players will have to travel to a third country to apply for a visa, like other Cuban nationals, per current U.S. policy.
This 1 November 2018 video says about itself:
U.S. Backed Right-Wing in Latin America
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Washington imposes new sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba
3 November 2018
US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced an escalation of US sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela during a bellicose speech delivered in Miami on Thursday to an invitation-only audience of right-wing exiles and Republican functionaries.
Bolton’s speech on the Trump administration’s policy toward Latin America amounted to a demand for regime change in Cuba and Venezuela, as well as Nicaragua, and a naked assertion of US dominance over the hemisphere, with repeated statements concerning behavior that Washington would not “tolerate” on the part of countries to the south of the US border.
Coming just five days before the US midterm elections, the speech was unquestionably part of the Trump administration’s drive to turn out its base, which in Florida includes Cuban exile organizations that have been based in Miami since the 1959 revolution that overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
While Bolton’s bombastic rhetoric was no doubt intended to throw out red meat to his reactionary audience, it also provided a genuine expression of Washington’s increasingly aggressive and militaristic policy toward Latin America.
He labelled Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua the “Troika of Tyranny”, a deliberate imitation of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric that was employed during the launching of protracted and continuing US wars in the Middle East.
He continued, declaring that this “triangle of terror is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western hemisphere.”
He vowed that the so-called troika had “met its match” in the Trump administration, which would “no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores.” He vowed that they would “meet their demise”, that “their day of reckoning awaits” and that Washington looked “forward to watching each corner of the triangle fall.”
Bolton called upon the rest of the hemisphere to “look to the north, look to our flag” for its inspiration, presenting the United States as the champion of “human rights” and the “rule of law.”
The absurdity of this pretense was made plain by a speech delivered by Trump just hours after Bolton’s address in which the US president vowed to violate US and international law by imposing a blanket denial of asylum against Central American refugees and threatening to have US troops shoot down immigrant men, women and children on the US-Mexican border.
The most significant of the new sanctions announced in Bolton’s speech was a measure aimed at impeding Venezuela’s exports of gold, which have become an important source of foreign exchange … US officials claim that Venezuela has exported some 20 tons of gold to Turkey, a NATO ally with which Washington has come into increasing conflict. Caracas and the government of China also recently signed an agreement to develop what the Venezuelan government termed a strategic alliance to develop the country’s gold-mining sector.
The gold sanctions announcement claims that by evading other US sanctions aimed at strangling the Venezuelan economy, the country’s trade in gold involves “deceptive practices” and “corruption”. Significantly, it adds that the measure can be extended to any other sector of the economy on the same basis, opening the door to the rapid implementation of a US embargo against Venezuelan oil, which accounts for roughly 98 percent of the country’s export earnings.
Also announced was a new set of sanctions against Cuba targeting some two dozen economic entities allegedly tied to the country’s military … . This is in addition to some 180 Cuban entities targeted by the Trump administration last year.
Bolton delivered his speech on the same day that the United Nations General Assembly condemned the 58-year-old US economic blockade against Cuba, with 189 countries voting for the resolution and only two – the United States and Israel – voting against.
In a question-and-answer period after the speech, Bolton indicated that the Trump administration is considering implementation of a section of the 1996 anti-Cuba Helms-Burton Law to take effect, allowing Cuban exiles in the US to file lawsuits in federal courts against companies doing business involving properties that were expropriated in the wake of the 1959 revolution. The measure has been routinely waived for over two decades because of its extra-territorial reach.
As part of its “America First” global trade war policy, it appears that the Trump White House may break with this practice, leading to a direct conflict between Washington and its leading trade partners, including Canada and the European Union, which both have extensive investments in Cuba.
While no new sanctions were announced against Nicaragua, Bolton advanced the same kind of charges and demands for regime change leveled against Cuba and Venezuela, vowing that the government of President Daniel Ortega “will feel the full weight of America’s robust sanctions regime” with measures coming “in the very near future.” …
Amid all of the denunciations and threats, Bolton pointed to a supposed bright spot in the Americas, the election last month in Brazil of the fascistic former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, who has celebrated the country’s former military dictatorship and its regime of torture and threatened that his political opponents would have to choose between jail and exile.
Bolton described Bolsonaro as a “likeminded leader”, whose election was one of the “positive signs for the future of the region” and demonstrated “a growing regional commitment to the free market principles and open, transparent and accountable governance.”
Among Bolsonaro’s attractions for the US administration – aside for the affinity between the fascistic views of Trump and the Brazilian president-elect – is his vow to pursue a policy aligned with that of Washington and against the influence of China in the hemisphere. During the Brazilian election campaign, he denounced Beijing for attempting to “buy Brazil” and even made a provocative trip to Taiwan last February in an affront to the “one China” policy recognized by Brazil since the 1970s.
Behind all the posturing about “human rights” and the refusal to tolerate “despots”, US policy in Latin America is driven ever more openly by its strategic conflict with China, whose influence has steadily grown in a region long regarded by US imperialism as its “own backyard”. Once again, US officials are invoking the Monroe Doctrine and Washington’s supposed “right” to intervene to prevent “outside” powers from poaching on countries it regards as semi-colonies.
The Trump administration in September recalled its ambassadors from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama and threatened to cut off aid over the decisions by the governments of these countries to break with Taiwan – which had cemented ties with previous anti-communist dictatorships — and establish relations with Beijing.
Not extremely logical of Trump, as United States Republican President Nixon already in 1972 did exactly what El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama do now, recognizing the Chinese government in Beijing.
Even so, as Bolton was making his speech in Miami, the presidents of both El Salvador and the Dominican Republic were both in Beijing meeting with President Xi and other top officials, while China and Panama announced on the same day that Panama City would host a China-Latin America Caribbean Business Summit next year, focused on promoting economic-commercial cooperation between both regions. To the extent that the influence of China’s trade and investment challenges that of the US, Washington will respond with increasing provocations and militarism.
Notable in Bolton’s speech was his repeated denunciations of “communism” and “socialism”, and his insistence that the economic and social catastrophe in Venezuela—a country where finance capital has only strengthened its grip over the economy over the past 20 years- is an example of socialism “implemented effectively.”
Underlying this reactionary rhetoric is the fear within the US ruling class that the desperate conditions being created by the crisis of capitalism is producing a new revolutionary challenge from the Latin American working class.
Last year, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad, and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is largely directing US policy toward Latin America under the Trump administration, sounded the same theme on Twitter: “The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator”: here.
By Father Geoff Bottoms in Britain:
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Cuba’s newly proposed constitution will, if adopted, open the door for same-sex marriage in the country. Catholic priest Father Geoff Bottoms offers his reflections on Cuba, same-sex marriage and the Catholic church
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Cuba broke new ground with the first overtly gay film Strawberry and Chocolate directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio.
Set in 1979 it is the story of a flamboyant gay artist Diego who attempts to seduce a straight and idealistic young communist called David but without success.
David conspires to befriend Diego so that he can monitor the artist’s subversive life for the state, yet as they discuss politics and the nature of free artistic expression a genuine friendship develops between the two.
This video is a clip from the film Strawberry and Chocolate.
It could almost be a parable of the evolving promotion of gay rights in Cuba that has been in train for decades.
Take for example the LGBTQ cultural centre known as El Mejunje, meaning The Mixture, located in the centre of the city of Santa Clara. Founded in 1985 it is an open space shared by everyone regardless of sexual orientation in order to promote social integration and includes a theatre, a cafe, an art gallery and a small music venue ranging from rock and roll to Cuban folk music.
Activities also include social and cultural initiatives aimed at both children and adults, film screenings and there is a gay disco every Saturday night.
Discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of sexual orientation is now illegal in both the state and private sector, with recent legislation imposing fines and suspending the licences of employers who discriminate on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality.
Sex-change operations were legalised as long ago as 2008 and are carried out at no cost to the patient, with dozens being performed in the last year.
Yet the leading light in the campaign for gay rights has been Mariela Castro, the director of the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), who is a member of the National Assembly and daughter of former president Raul Castro and Vilma Espin.
CENESEX has been advocating same-sex marriage since 2007 and Cuba is set now to become the latest country in Latin America to approve gay marriage after the National Assembly recently approved a new constitution that defines marriage as “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender.”
This replaces the current constitution’s definition of marriage as the “voluntary union between a man and woman.” The new constitution will be put to a referendum later this year.
Needless to say the churches are opposed on the whole to any such change to the traditional understanding of marriage and five Protestant denominations have openly criticised the move.
The Roman Catholic Church’s position is that homosexual inclinations are “intrinsically disordered”. although gay people should be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
Yet Pope Francis is on record as saying that he is in no position to judge and that gay people should realise that God loves them and made them like that, so they should love themselves.
The Anglican Communion is divided on gay issues and same-sex marriage in particular with some branches actively providing gender-neutral wedding services or a blessing of civil unions.
The Methodist Church is in the process of reviewing the whole concept of marriage which includes the possibility of gay weddings.
The problems about sexuality which continue to sap the churches’ energies are really about gender.
Early Christianity understood women’s bodies to be inferior versions of the superior male body, but this was replaced during the Enlightenment with a binary model that prevails to this day.
As a result of this understanding, a pattern of patriarchy, androcentrism and sexism emerged in both church and society that has been challenged by the both the sciences and the feminist movement which paved the way for a more enlightened attitude towards sex, gender and sexual orientation that is more fluid and increasingly seen as forming a spectrum or continuum.
It is in this context that marriage is being evaluated so that even on a traditional understanding marriage is now seen more as an equal partnership than a question of the woman being subordinate to the man.
All of this is a far cry from the bride’s promise in the medieval marriage rite “to be bonny and buxom at bed and at board” where the relationship was bound up with the idea of property.
It remains to be seen whether Cuba’s inclusion of same-sex marriage in the proposed new constitution is ratified by the people so that it joins Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia in Latin America in recognition of gay marriage.
Homosexuality was an issue in the early days of the Cuban Revolution and the country has made great strides in the area of LGBTQ rights compared with seven other Caribbean island nations where homosexuality is a criminal offence.
If approved, Cuba’s evolving social project is set to become even more revolutionary.
Father Geoff Bottoms is a Catholic Priest and member of the Cuba Solidarity campaign executive committee. He will be leading a study tour to Cuba in November 2018 including visits to El Mejunje.