Calling All Cubans: Cell Phones, Gays OK!
Posted on Mar 28, 2008
Be it through changes in cell phone restrictions or proposed legislation recognizing same-sex unions and transgender rights, Cuba’s political future is looking up for many of its citizens.
Recently appointed President Raul Castro appears to be moving to act on the “structural and conceptual” changes he promised in last month’s inauguration speech. First on the list is the loosening of ownership restrictions on cell phones, a luxury previously limited to statesmen and employees of foreign businesses.
And while historically considered a “capitalist illness” punishable by forced labor, discussion around and policies on homosexuality appear to be changing as well. Led in part by the efforts of Mariela Castro, daughter of el nuevo presidente, legislation is in the pipes to give not just legal equality to same-sex partnerships, but also subsidies for transgender operations.
The Cuban president, Raúl Castro, today lifted restrictions on ownership of mobile phones.
Castro’s move was another indication that he is prepared to grant more freedom to the island’s residents.
Castro—who formally assumed power from his brother, Fidel, in February—promised in his inaugural speech to ease some of the restrictions on daily life within weeks.
He pledged “structural changes” and “big decisions” in the near future.
AP photo / Jorge Rey
Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, pauses to contemplate how the homoerotic imagery of Robert Mapplethorpe relates to the “new socialist man.”