The other day, Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro created a dilemma for the left, even while playing a sick game of Keeping Up With The Joneses. He gave an interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, in which he said (too simply and/or absurdly) that, while it was ultimately his fault, he was too busy with other matters to stop putting gays and HIV-positive men in gulags. But he was somehow not too busy to actually, y'know, put them there, as if there was some deadly holdover from the Batista regime that just kept on keepin on.
[Castro] said he was not prejudiced against gays, but "if anyone is responsible (for the persecution), it's me."Frankly, Castro is trying to rewrite history, and based on pure contemporary expediency. Now being pro-gay is chic, and being anti-gay will cost you support from leftists -- a commodity Castro always has relied on. So he has to give an atonement interview. (See some of the reaction here at Gay Patriot, where some leftist trolls are comparing Castro favorably with Ken Mehlman, as if marriage amendments were remotely comparable to the Cuban Gulag.)
"I'm not going to place the blame on others," he said.
Castro, 84, said he was busy in those days fending off threats from the United States, including attempts on his life, and trying to maintain the revolution that put him in power in 1959.
"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death," Castro said.
"In those moments I was not able to deal with that matter (of homosexuals). I found myself immersed, principally, in the Crisis of October (Cuban Missile Crisis), in the war, in policy questions," he said.
If it weren't too easily accessible to call a "secret," one of the Left's dirty little secrets is that it was as guilty of homophobia, if not more so, than the political right for most of the 20th century. Hard as it may be to believe now, Topic H really has only prompted live-wire public issues at all for the last 40 years or so and only been a litmus test for right-left sympathies for about the last 25.
this Wikipedia article (which also casts doubts on the narrative, swallowed whole in the Reuters article above, that it all ended around 1980) makes the rationale quite explicit (with citations of Castro's own words):
Castro's admiring description of rural life in Cuba ("in the country, there are no homosexuals") reflected the idea of homosexuality as bourgeois decadence, and he denounced "maricones" (faggots) as "agents of imperialism." Castro explained his reasoning in a 1965 interview:
"We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true Revolutionary, a true Communist militant. A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant Communist must be."
None of this was atypical. Hard as it may seem to believe now, with Bohemia rather than class defining the right-left cleavage, Communists idealized the traditional family as the producer of new workers and were sternly moralistic. Homosexuality was a retreat from social responsibility and a wallow in non-productive selfishness. Indeed, many of the great homosexual artists of the 19th and early-20th centuries were forthright enemies of egalitarianism -- Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, early Genet -- and hated as such by the Marxists and socialists of the period.
All this by way of saying ... if you have a memory or knowledge of politics that goes before about 1970, you know that, just as with the Democratic Party and blacks, the Left has been the enemy of homosexual persons as often as their friend. Castro will always remind us of that, regardless of his pathetic attempts at revisionism.