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F. Castro's Regime and Homosexuality: No to Inclusiveness and Tolerance

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In 1965, Fidel said that “we would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true Revolutionary, a true Communist militant” (West 16). This comes after Cuba’s swing towards the Soviet bloc in which Fidel “[asserted] Revolutionary control over key institutions of the ‘bourgois’ social order” (Skidmore, Smith and Green 125) such as the media, courts, unions, universities and schools. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Fresa y chocolate is set in 1979 during this time of homosexual intolerance under Castro’s regime. Using mise en scène and the evident dialogue between Diego and David, Alea’s Fresa (53:28-58:56) criticizes the Castro regime’s intolerance of homosexuality by proposing that Cuba’s politics be more liberal and inclusive of intellectual minds who want to fight for Cuba.

Alea creates a mise en scène that showcases Diego’s character as an honest revolutionary. In the establishing shot of the scene and throughout, Diego (Jorge Perugorria)’s apartment is filled with art in the forms of drawings and sculptures, an abundance of books on the bookshelf, and Diego is also seen wearing a cross necklace. Deborah Shaw writes, “It had become clear that the revolution was not open to everybody, certainly not to its protagonist, Diego, a non-conformist, bourgeois Catholic homosexual” (20-21). Diego is well established as being truly intellectual and knowledgeable about Cuban politics, yet he is outcasted because he is a homosexual and a Catholic, something that Fidel did not tolerate in communist Cuba. The intolerance of the Cuban government is highly criticized in that people like Diego who prove themselves to care about and fight for the future of Cuba are being disregarded because the government cares too much about personal details rather than overall politics.

The dialogue of the film reveals the filmmakers’ negative position towards the government system. In this scene, Diego and David (Vladimir Cruz) address Diego’s homosexuality and what it means for him to be a homosexual in revolutionary Cuba. Deborah Shaw writes, “Strawberry is a defense of the prohibited and hidden identities of others, and this is why much of the dialogue takes the form of justification” (26). In this scene, there is no background music to make their conversation seem less important; they have an important dialogue about the failure of Castro’s government to include the gay intellectuals who are active in bettering Cuba. Despite being gay, Diego says “I’m still decent and patriotic.” David says, “But not a revolutionary,” to which Diego responds, “But who says I’m not?” Diego is constantly justifying his reason to be a proud Cuban because people like David automatically assume his homosexuality is an illness and views him as a lesser being. “What do you believe in,” asks Diego. “Cuba,” says David. “So do I,” says Diego. This scene continues to show Diego’s passion for a liberal and inclusive Cuba which is reflective of what the filmmakers’ believe Castro’s exclusive politics should be.

In order to address an agenda of a politically tolerant Cuba, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea creates a mise en scène that reveals the ideal lifestyle of a Cuban revolutionary. Alea also executes a critical dialogue throughout the scene that directly confronts David’s homosexuality as a gateway towards a liberal and inclusive political standpoint. This ideal lifestyle of a revolutionary suggests that one can be politically active and passionate about Cuba, while having a liberal personal, artistic and religious life beyond that. Should Cuba’s government be more liberal and inclusive of all, they would have more support in improving Cuba for the future.

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F. Castro’s Regime and Homosexuality: No to Inclusiveness and Tolerance. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from
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