Over two-thirds of Cubans voted for the new Family Code proposed by Raul Castro last September. How has it changed people’s lives in the country?
Before that, you could get married if you were 14 and your parents approved, and there was a lot of child marriage, especially among women. So, the main changes are that we ended child marriage and there are a lot of same-sex marriages happening. Which is amazing. But on the other hand, if you talk about the problems the community has, you will be persecuted. The government doesn’t want anyone to say anything about what’s wrong with the country. Take Brenda Diaz, a trans woman who was imprisoned in the male jail for participating in protests. She has been beaten up not only by the inmates, but also by the policemen.
More than 1000 political prisoners
Why did an authoritarian government allow its citizens a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage?
For that, we need to understand the context. In 2018, the constitution was changing and it had a law that allowed gay marriage. At some point, they took that out of the constitution.
The LGBT+ movement took to the streets to protest against it… A bit later, in July 2021, it was the first time when everyone in Cuba went out on the streets to protest against the government, because of all the other things: we didn’t have medicines, we didn’t have food and we didn’t have freedom. As a result, we had more than 1,000 political prisoners. I still have friends who are imprisoned and some people were exiled. I feel that the government has used the vote on marriage just to give the illusion of democracy, because in Cuba we cannot vote for president. We cannot vote for many things.