Cuba festival bans film spotlighting Fidel Castro’s intolerance toward gays

by WorldTribune Staff, December 9, 2016

A film that exposes the horrendous treatment of homosexuals during Fidel Castro’s reign has been banned from a Cuban film festival.

“Santa et Andres,” a film by 33-year-old Cuban Carlos Lechuga, was barred from the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana due to a “question of principle,” Cuban film official Roberto Smith said, according to a report by AFP.

Cine Yara, in Havana’s Vedado district, is one of the main venues for Havana’s International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
Cine Yara, in Havana’s Vedado district, is one of the main venues for Havana’s International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

“The film presents an image of the revolution that reduces it to an expression of intolerance and violence against culture and makes irresponsible use of our patriotic symbols and unacceptable references toward comrade Fidel,” Smith, director of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), said in a statement.

Traditionally stigmatized in Cuba, homosexuality was fiercely repressed for many years under Castro’s regime, which interned gays in work camps in the 1960s and ostracized them in the 1970s.

The fictitious plotline of Lechuga’s film was inspired by the lives of Cuban poet Delfin Prats and other gay intellectuals such as Virgilio Pinera, who were banned from publishing and displaying their work on the island during a five-year period from 1971-1976.

Lechuga, who defended his work calling himself a “patriot who lives and works in Cuba,” declined to speak to AFP until after the festival’s end.

American invitees to this year’s festival include Oliver Stone, who will present his latest film, “Snowden,” and Brian de Palma, organizers said.

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