Many gay leftists, including many who worked on Boston’s Gay Community News, were not pleased with the way I became a vocal critic of Cuba. However, I want to stress that my admiration for the Cuban Revolution ended not only because of the gay issue but because of my perception and understanding of other failures of the Castro regime, which became dogmatic and tyrannical within a few years of taking power. Freedom for the Cuban people has not been possible under the Castros, as they established a police state with no civil liberties, the death penalty, and jail for dissenters.

The million-plus Cuban exiles are not all “bourgeois right wingers,” though certainly some are, but include many liberals and ordinary people just seeking a better way of life. Anti-gay policies have been softened in Cuba, which is a good thing, but certainly not due to the kind of grass roots organizing that has taken place in other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica. The Cuban regime does not allow this.

I also believe, based on my conversation with many different Cuban exiles, that the Cuban health care and education system (often cited by leftists) are over-rated. I am not well informed about the situation in the countries mentioned by David Morris in his comment, so I have no opinion about events there. However, I think anyone who admires Fidel Castro as a historic figure is as misled and misinformed as the people who admired Joseph Stalin when he was ruling the U.S.S.R.

Allen Young

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