Val and George reacted with surprising aplomb to pototo's announcement, respecting his opinion without endorsing it, which may not be what pototo expected (certainly it wasn't what I expected). George maintained that gays have a place in civil society, whether here or in Cuba; and Val insisted, rightly, that condemning the persecution of gays is not an endorsement of their lifestyle. Also challenging pototo in somewhat more forcible terms was one of Babalú's two resident gay commenters, Cangrejero de Caibarien, whose presence on the blog has significantly increased the level of tolerance there. It was not too long ago that "the guys" were hurling gay insults at non-gay dissenters. The presence of these two prolific gay commenters has put the sophomoric trio on their best behavior, which is a good thing because our enemy's first line of attack has always been to try to label anti-Castro Cubans as the very thing that we denounce. This takes the form of equating intemperate words with intemperate acts; frustration with repression; and personal prejudices with state-induced pogroms.
Frankly, Pons' cartoon did not merit such a reaction from pototo since Babalú reproduced it without comment, that is, without explicitly endorsing it. Nothing is more detrimental to the cause of Cuban freedom than to fight among ourselves about which group has been victimized more by the anti-Cuban Revolution. But we live in the U.S. where the game of victimhood is a national obsession and it could hardly be unexpected that some Cuban exiles would also become addicted to it.
But let me correct myself. One thing is more deleterious than parsing one another's pain: To suggest that the persecution of some may be justified or even commendable. Tyranny is odious whatever its guise or whomever its victims. Once we sanction the persecution of one group, we have sanctioned persecution itself. Then its application to other groups becomes subjective, and tyranny devolves from being an absolute evil to a partial evil, or a tolerable evil, or a necessary evil, or even an acceptable evil. Acceptable for others, of course. Man rarely clamors for evil to be a part of his life. Nothing can be more noxious to Christ's new commandment than establishing exceptions to the Golden Rule.
In the struggle against Communism in Cuba homosexuals have not evaded their duty or shown less courage in confronting the regime than has any other group. In fact, the only victory that Cubans have ever obtained against Castro's propaganda juggernaut is owed to them. The documentary Improper Conduct (1984), which exposed the regime's systematic persecution of gays as gays, forced the liberal media to admit for the first time (25 years after the fact) that human rights were violated in Cuba, and convinced the "small s" socialist countries in Europe that had hitherto regarded Castro's Stalinism as a more disciplined version of their welfare states, to condemn in international forums what they had never condemned before -- Castro's persecution of his own people. Homosexual were regarded then in the most condescending manner by liberals: not as political beings entitled to their natural rights as citizens but as sexual beings indifferent to politics whose persecution, therefore, was onerous because it was unnecessary.
Nevertheless, regardless of the prejudices which sustained it, the reaction against Castro's persecution of gays as depicted in Improper Conduct was universal and devastating in the extreme to the proggresive image of itself which the regime projected to the world at large. Even today it is still struggling to shed the image of intolerance that replaced it, but it has stuck for good and no amount of burnishing at home or abroad over 25 years has managed to unstick it, not even the appointment of Raúl's daughter as Communist Cuba's "Gay Czarina." The cancelled Gay Pride March has given a needed reality check to those who regard the promise of free sex-change operations (which has nothing to do with homosexuals) as yet another Raulian reform and happy omen for Cuba's indefinite future.
The damage to the regime's international reputation caused by its persecution of gays has contributed more to making Castro's Cuba a pariah state than has its placement by the U.S. on the State Department's List of Terrorist States, which has now became a joke with Bush's opportunistic removal of North Korea.
When anyone in Cuba, white or black, young or old, gay or straight, sane or Obama-supporter, raises his voice against the regime or puts his life on the line to protest it, the last thing that any exile should do is shout him down.
Guajiro de Broward took over where pototo left off, accusing Cuban gays of being allied with Fidel Castro in a worldwide conspiracy to destroy Christianity. Giraldo, coming from the other end of political spectrum on this issue, concluded like pototo that he could no longer continue to contribute to Babalú:
This blog's homophobia gives [me] the creeps. ¡Qué asco! I'll never come back here. Comparing the gays to Stalin!!! Incredible! Babalú's readers, in general, are just a bunch of intransigent troglodytes. If this is the kind of people we'll have to deal [with] in a free Cuba, then why take the trouble to change anything?
Posted by: giraldo at June 28, 2008 04:30 AM
In the liberal media being attacked from both sides of an issue is considered proof of objectivity. Of course, it is no such thing. It merely shows that one is playing both sides.