MIAMI – As Hurricane Ian approached, the Cuban government announced on Monday that about 66.9% of the voters with valid ballots were in favor of legalizing LGBTQ+ marriage and family planning.
Andy Gomez, a University of Miami expert on attitudes in post-Fidel Castro Cuba, said the island’s communist leaders do not prioritize civil rights or freedom, but control.
The vote on the national referendum comes amid an economic crisis.
“The government is trying to find ways where they can somehow appease or please different segments of the community, so they don’t see the type of social unrest that they saw that past July,” Gomez said on Monday.
Cubans continue to deal with daily power outages and shortages of both food and medicine. Gomez fears Hurricane Ian will further damage the already crumbling infrastructure, especially in the western area known for its tobacco production.
Despite the threat of the hurricane, the government’s media on radio, print, and television headlined the results of the national referendum. The measure, which has more than 400 articles, had been approved by Cuba’s Parliament and the National Assembly.
There were images of Raul Castro, 91, his daughter Mariela Castro, and Miguel Díaz-Canel casting their ballots on Sunday. Díaz-Canel tweeted his reaction on Monday: “Love is now the law.”
Alejandro Rodríguez in Cuba said he voted against the measure because he didn’t consider same-sex marriage to be a “right.” Urselia Morales, 75, said she voted in favor of the referendum because this will allow all families to benefit.
The Cuban government reported that 6.2 million out of the 8.4 million eligible voters turned out to vote on the “Families Code” referendum and 5.8 million ballots were valid.