The first ever Cuban Gay Pride was cancelled yesterday, before the event could even begin, with several organisers beaten and arrested by the police.

Activist Mario Jose Delgado announced the cancellation of the march mere minutes before it was supposed to start from Don Quixote park in the capital city, Havana.

It was planned to begin in the neighborhood of Vedado and end at the Ministry of Justice with the aim of delivering the demands of the LGBT community to the Castro government.

These included an end to violence and repression of Cuban homosexuals, and an apology to the Cuban people for the introduction of UMAP concentration camps (Military Units to Aid Production) that were created in the 1960s by Dictator Fidel Castro to suppress and punish homosexuals and religious youth who opposed his Marxist ideologies.

“The president of the Cuban League Against AIDS and the president of the Foundation LGTB Reinaldo Arenas in Memoriam have been arrested,” Delgado said. “They were to be here with our written demands but now we cannot carry out our activity.”

In May, Mariela Castro led a public rally against homophobia that briefly brought gay activists out of the shadows. Nevertheless, the daughter of current Cuban President Raul Castro has refused to make a comment on the march’s cancellation despite being an advocate of LGBT rights.

Last week, Aliomar Janjaque, one of the arrested organisers of the event stated: “We want to raise awareness but we don’t want to provoke a wave of repression against the gay community. If there is a hostile reaction from the government, we will stage a much larger demonstration. We will take to the streets.”

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