El Blog de Mariela Castro

A Message of Friendship

On my visit to San Francisco and New York

Dear friends,

In 2002, during George W. Bush’s Administration I got visa to travel to the United States twice. The first time I got it too late, so I wasn’t able to attend a Congress on Sexology I had been invited to.  The second time, I was able to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), one of the world’s oldest associations dealing with the studies on this topic, founded in 1957 (which in its 2009 meeting, held in Puerto Vallarta, acknowledged my work with the Public Service Award).  Since then, we have maintained close professional ties.

I was committed with the World Association on Sexology (WAS) to promote and held its 16th Congress in March, 2003 in Havana, where a numerous group of participants from the United States was welcomed.  A truly enriching and friendly experience.

A year ago I had submitted a summary of my work and a panel proposal to attend the 30th Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), to be held in May, 2012 in San Francisco.  After eight years, the congress once again was held in the United States, as its venue had been changed due to the fact that delegations of Cuban scholars were denied visa.  Some people told me that I would find it difficult to get the visa, but there were no valid grounds to deny it.

From the moment I got the visa and till my return, the trip was full of surprises.  I covered a very tight schedule and wasn’t able to fulfill all the invitations I had got from NGOs and state institutions in San Francisco and New York.   The kindness of the people was beyond all my expectations.  How to explain the knowledge about CENESEX’s work and its impact not only in Cuba but in the United States as well?

Each spontaneous embrace convinced me that there is a lot in common between our peoples, that there are more reasons for becoming closer than for becoming apart, and that the division imposed by the blockade is artificial and mutually detrimental.

It never crossed my mind that I would visit Castro street in San Francisco, a symbol of the struggle of some progressive social  movements demanding their civil liberties in a distinctly classist society, and that I would be accompanied by Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s closest collaborator.

In New York I also had the privilege of meeting good Cubans, who love their homeland and are committed to the rights of the LGBT community; who are part of a multicolor city, not only in terms of sexuality but also in terms of its culture and people. Talking with these persons with different nationalities and with my fellow countrymen, confirmed my suspicion that majority of the Cubans in the States long for having relations with the land in which they or their parents were born.  This increasingly deep and irrepressible desire, however, is not represented by certain Cuban-American Representatives with limited ethics.

Part of the population is aware that the hostile US foreign policy towards Cuba is determined by private interests of an increasingly small group of politicians of Cuban origin who do not know Cuba nor represent the almost 1, 8 million Cubans living in that country, much less the over 300 million Americans whose civil liberties are being violated by acts and amendments promoted and advocated by these groups.

How is it possible that Americans’ constitutional right to travel to Cuba be conditioned by the personal agenda of this small group of unscrupulous politicians?  How is it possible for this group to use the millionaire funds of American taxpayers to restrict their civil liberties?

I still haven’t been able to say farewell to San Francisco and New York cities, were I was welcomed with love and generosity.  In retribution I could only but invite them to our Island, which is not alone, and to CENESEX.

I have a lot of information to share in following articles.  This has been a very moving experience that proves the infinite love and solidarity that characterizes our two peoples.

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