New York – To mark International Day of Tolerance, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations held a special screening of the HBO Documentary Film Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution.
The 40-minute film follows the Director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) Mariela Castro Espín, as she champions for the rights of Cuba’s LGBT community.
The event was attended by Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations; Mariela Castro Espín, Director of CENESEX; Jessica Faieta, UNDP Regional for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Jon Alpert, HBO Documentary Producer.
“This documentary recognizes the work of Mariela Castro and the CENESEX”, said Rodolfo Reyes, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN. “They mobilize, educate and win hearts and minds. They are heroines and heroes in the fight against any form of discrimination based on diversity in sexual orientation.”
Mariela Castro mentioned that her work has not been an easy process and much dialogue, communication and education is needed. “If we do not communicate, this stays in a small circle and we do not influence our people in this change of consciousness. The people of Cuba are very sensitive to social justice issues”, she said.
“The work of Mariela Castro is not limited to social mobilization”, said Jessica Faieta. “Through CENESEX she has been able to work and provide support to the LGTBI community in multiple areas such as psychological, educational and labor, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable population, the Trans-gender.”
”During the years that I lived and worked in Cuba, I have been able to witness firsthand how this vibrant society has worked to break down the stigmas and fight against discrimination” she added. “UNDP in Cuba has a long history of working with LGTBI organizations. We have supported the national response to HIV since 1998 in close collaboration with national institutions and volunteer network.”
Cuba is one of the least affected countries by HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, and its national response to the virus has achieved significant achievements. Treatment coverage for people living with HIV is one of the highest in the region and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it to be the first country to eliminate mother-child transmission of HIV in 2015.