Her father is the president of Cuba and she’s also Fidel Castro’s niece. And if that’s not enough, she is also the country’s leading advocate for gay rights. It is a surprising stand for someone with a family of tradition and “macho” Cuban men. Her name is Mariela Castro.
During a transformative time in Cuba, her reforms are perhaps the most progressive. In 2008, Mariela Castro’s campaigns helped spur the government to pass a law permitting sex-change surgeries in Cuba. It is an operation that is free in the country.
Mariela Castro advocates for gay rights in CubaHer father is the President of Cuba and she’s also Fidel Castro’s niece. And if that’s not enough, she is also the country’s leading advocate for gay rights. It is a surprising stand for someone with a family of tradition and “macho” Cuban men. Her name is Mariela Castro.
She displays none of the formalities of someone so close to the seat of power. She is the director of the National Center for Sexual Education and uses this role to champion lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Castro says there’s been a lot of change for the good.
“Our work has led to a dialogue in Cuban society, a sort of open attitude towards addressing these different issues on different points of view.”
Every year for the past seven years, Mariela Castro has organized gay pride parades to mark International Anti-Homophobia day. Castro also says even though her father took a very firm stance against homosexuals, she says he supported her.
“We always discussed it,” she says. “He would even tell me fight for it, fight for it, and win it; do your work and convince the people.” Although Mariela says making politics is hard, she says she will continue to work with more determination and more intelligence.
Correspondent Michael Voss was granted rare access to this accomplished member of the First Family. He sits down with Mariela Castro for this exclusive interview.
On Twitter: @CastroEspinM, @CENESEX, @TransCuba