CELL BLOCK Q

Cuban Police Beat 18-Year-Old Trans Woman To Death In Jail Cell

While First Daughter Mariela Castro Espin says Cuba may soon begin debating whether or not to recognize same-sex unions, it appears others in authority in the island nation are less compassionate toward the LGBT community: Cubanet is reporting that an 18-year-old trans woman was beaten to death after being taken into police custody earlier this month.

An inmate in the jail where the woman, known as Jessica, was held says at least four police officers—including sector chief Boris Luis Caballero—beat her savagely and left her limp body in her cell.

When Jessica was discovered dead in the middle of the night, her corpse was taken to an unknown location.

LGBT Asylum News reports that numerous incidents of harassment, arrests, raids and violence by police have been cited by Cuban bloggers recently.

Dissident Roberto de Jesús Guerra, who was released from prison after two years in 2007, said last year that raids by police on LGBT meeting at several sites in the Cuban capital have been stepped up.

According to Imbert Leannes Acosta, director of El Observatorio Cubano de los Derechos de la Comunidad LGBT (Cuban Observatory of the Rights of the LGBT Community), repression of LGBT in Cuba is increasing, not only in Havana but “we have documented Matanzas [North Cuba] and Guantanamo [East Cuba] cases.”

They may get some help from an unexpected source: A U.S. State Department document released by Wikileaks suggests that independent LGBT groups in Cuba are receiving funding from American sources.

Cubanet via LGBT Asylum News. Photo: Natalie Mainor