Chavismo’s LGBT Problem

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Rummie Quintero was supposed to be Chavismo’s first ever transgender candidate, but the PSUV-GPP coalition said no.

A couple of weeks ago, CC fellow blogger Audrey M. DaCosta wrote about Tamara Adrian, Venezuela’s fist-ever transgender candidate for public office. Her story made headlines and shone a much needed spotlight on the LGBT agenda in Venezuela. Now, thanks to Chavismo’s handling of their own gay and transgender candidacies, Adrian’s run for office has also given the opposition coalition (MUD) an edge in shaping the debate around this issue, and courting the LGBT electorate during the upcoming campaign.

Adrian’s candidacy has caused serious frictions in Chavismo’s LGBT community, after three transgender candidacies from within the PSUV-GPP coalition’s base were ultimately left out of their final electoral roster.

Although PSUV held primaries back in June, and allocated candidacies accordingly, several spots on the party list were promised to GPP, a coalition of minority parties and social movements loyal to chavismo. Hoping to fill some of these spots, and assured by Nicolás Maduro’s public demonstrations of support, pro-government LGBT organizations held a special primary to select gay and transgender candidates for the PSUV-GPP ticket. 4.780 people voted.

In an interview with Tal Cual, Leandro Viloria, member of the Ejercito Emancipador Revolucionario group and one of the three winners of this LGBT primary, says that his candidacy was vetoed by PSUV campaign chief Jorge Rodríguez, who refused to even meet with him to discuss his claims. Rummie Quintero, a transgender activist also elected via LGBT primaries, says that PSUV and GPP are playing the blame-game with each other as a means of buying time and dodging the issue until it’s too late.

Neither Viloria nor Quintero nor Luis Marchant, the third primary winner, were finally included in Chavismo’s grand coalition.

In answering to Maduro’s forceful insistence that Chavista candidates will represent everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, Viloria complained that “there was no diverse representation within the revolution” and that their movement “…lost a battle inside the PSUV against homophobia”. In his interview with TalCual, Viloria suggested that pressures from Evangelical Churches that are closely allied with Chavismo could be a key factor in this case.

Rummie Quintero recognizes that Tamara Adrian’s candidacy is an important breakthrough for the transsexual community in Venezuela and asks the PSUV-GPP alliance for “…a strong response”. But Viloria has dismissed Adrian’s candidacy and what she can actually achieve if elected:

“If Tamara Adrian wants to propose (same-sex marriages), that will be vetoed because it comes from the opposition. Every single bill that the opposition proposes, will be vetoed.”

Sadly, in this case, political differences trump the the fight for a joint cause.

In addition to Adrian, the MUD’s roster of candidates also includes gay-rights activist and political prisoner Rosmit Mantilla among its hopefuls. That’s two more than PSUV-GPP’s zero. And while this by no means represents a victory for LGBT representation in the Venezuelan political sphere, its a good step in the right direction. It also makes PSUV seem intolerant by comparison, something the MUD should smartly use to their advantage in presenting a more progressive image to the electorate and perhaps even winning over some detractors.

Chavismo has struggled to portray itself as a unitary front for the December 6th elections by crushing all forms of internal dissent in the process. This is just the latest episode in a long list to be aired in public. Their so-called “perfect alliance” isn’t what they want people to believe.

1 COMMENT

  1. I miss some reporting about the actual demographics of evangelicals.
    I do not have figures but I do know lots and lots of evangelicals in Carabobo who are opposition. The vast majority of them are Baptists or belong to similar churches and they tend to be opposed to gay marriage, etc. Those evangelicals who are chavistas, of which there are a lot as well and probably more but not so extremley more, tend to belog to Pentecostal churches or splitter groups from the Pentecostalist currents.

    • I agree with you that evangelical churches have grown quite a lot around here in recent years. They have taking places in former movie theaters, stores and even night-clubs.

    • not only evangelicals, which have expanded exponentially lately, millions of traditional catholics are not tolerant to the gay community.
      Most people in venezuela are extremely conservative regarding gender issues, which is why PSUV, being ultra-populist in nature, will always alienate gays.

      • People arent that piously catholic either but the core culture is machista and does not foster respect for gays, instead gays are mostly viewed as a kind of joke . Chavistas know that if they propose a candidate it has to inspire somekind of respect or it has no chances. The oppo was lucky to have Tamara who is really someone who regardless of her sexual identity commands instant respect as a person of sterling character and outstanding talent , Middle class people (who have been the backbone of the opposition) are also more open to enlightened view on gays than Venezuelans of more common social origin .

        Evangelicals as recent converts to a new religious passion will tend to be more severe and harsh in their moral judgments than ordinaryVenezuelan catholics and thus less receptive to any sign of gay emancipation..

      • Vagabonda, on a bad day I wonder, did the 1960s not happen in Venezuela? Can we not get the family values, which are great, which distinguish Venezuelans in a good way from their angst ridden individualistic counterparts in places like where I live,with some reasonably expanded notion of family, and values?

  2. LGBT is minuscule issue for Chavismo, for the Opposition, and for Vzla.

    If it is a political issue at all. It’s a fake political moniker at best, much less important than the “female quota” crap, in such a war-zone country where finding cheap pasta or toilet paper and basic survival occupy close to 90% of many peoples’ limited brains today.

    It’s a minor political issue even in developed, civilized countries like the USA, where perhaps only 5% of the population is LGTB. And even for that LGTB small minority itself, many things are far more important.

    It’s the economy, stupid! Las colas y las escasez. Cuanto puedo robar. Que me puedo comprar. Donde consigo la medicina para no morir, que hago para que no me maten.

    Then, in the faaaaaaar distance, you might detect some obscure intellectual concerns, mostly propaganda, hypocrite political babble about noble stuff like “freedom”, or “equal opportunity” or “tolerance” or “equality”. Even Religion, Feminism, and race/ethnic concerns far outweighing sexual preference, especially in prehistoric, barbaric, under-educated 3rd world nations like Kleptozuela.

    Hey, Great if sweet Iris Varela and Delcy or Tibibitch and Luisa Ortega got happily married to each other soon, in whatever gender capacity or after whatever sexual surgeries they would like, but that’s hardly “a problem”, at all, compared to the real huge issues such a destroyed country has.

    The header of this post makes it sound like we are talking about Norway or Denmark tea-time concerns.

  3. What kind of corrupt sellout (or idiot) stays on a party where he and those like him are treated like second-class citizens at best, and like leprose at worst?

    Honestly. Sucking up to the PSUV, a party that exalts the Che Guevara, has been a losing strategy so far.

    • The many zeroes on the paychecks seem quite enticing for some people with low moral compasses.
      And sadly, Venezuela’s has plenty of people like that, from the criminal that rapes and kills to search the corpses for loose change, all the way to those people who constantly justify and excuse all kinds of illegal behavior on the grounds that they might want to do it at least once.

  4. “courting the LGBT electorate…”

    Which is minuscule – at most 2%. Of which transgendered is a minuscule component – about 0.01% , maybe 2,000 people in the whole country. These moves to have transgendered candidates are signals of virtue to the left-dominated cultural sphere, not responses to actual political pressure. (Tamara Adrian appears to be qualified for entirely separate reasons, whereas chavismo had a gay-only primary.)

    • Well, having zero LGBT candidates on its list would have made the MUD an easy target for acussations about intolerance and that usual bullshit the chaburrismo keeps croaking to demonize every non-chavista person and to cover their own psychopath sapos along with the other million stupid things they do on a daily basis to screw with the people.

  5. I agree that gay rights are an important issue in many places but in a country where even buying a frozen chicken or a loaf of bread is quite an adventure, and every weekend at least 80 people are murdered other issues such as public safety, sound economic policies, and basic freedoms take the driver’s seat. It is really hard to believe that either camp has a real interest in GLBT issues when both camps use being gay as an insult and slander each other using sexual orientation as a weapon. I have not followed Venezuelan politics in quite a while, but I still remember people in the opposition commenting about Tarek William Saab being a “maricón”, Roy Chaderton being a a “loca vieja” or Cristina Iglesias being a “cachapera” or chavistas hurling insults towards Leopoldo López or the mayor of Baruta Gerardo Blyde and triggering rumours about their sexual orientations as if it were an issue. That´s why all this sudden emergence of gay rights and gay candidates in Venezuelan politics doesn´t ring true. I even remember adecos and copeyanos triggering rumours about deputy X or senator Y or minister Z being a closeted gay or lesbian just to damage their reputations, think about Claudio Fermín, Liliana González, Erwin Arrieta, Paciano Padrón, Enrique Salas Feo etc. It´s not even matter of religious affiliation, homophobia in Venezuela goes beyond religion, it´s part of the culture and it will not change simply because the opposition has a transexual candidate, no matter how well-qualified Tamara Adrian may be (in fact she´s more qualified than many other candidates, I suspect). I think having a Pride parade in Caracas is a huge step, it means visibility, people konow that hays and lesbians are real but quitefrankly, I don´t think the country is ready to deal with gay issues in the political arena when people don´t even have food to eat.

  6. I agree that gay rights are an important issue in many places but in a country where even buying a frozen chicken or a loaf of bread is quite an adventure, and every weekend at least 80 people are murdered other issues such as public safety, sound economic policies, and basic freedoms take the driver’s seat. It is really hard to believe that either camp has a real interest in GLBT issues when both camps use being gay as an insult and slander each other using sexual orientation as a weapon. I have not followed Venezuelan politics in quite a while, but I still remember people in the opposition commenting about Tarek William Saab being a “maricón”, Roy Chaderton being a a “loca vieja” or Cristina Iglesias being a “cachapera” or chavistas hurling insults towards Leopoldo López or the mayor of Baruta Gerardo Blyde and triggering rumours about their sexual orientations as if it were an issue. That´s why all this sudden emergence of gay rights and gay candidates in Venezuelan politics doesn´t ring true. I even remember adecos and copeyanos triggering rumours about deputy X or senator Y or minister Z being a closeted gay or lesbian just to damage their reputations, think about Claudio Fermín, Liliana González, Erwin Arrieta, Paciano Padrón, Enrique Salas Feo etc. It´s not even matter of religious affiliation, homophobia in Venezuela goes beyond religion, it´s part of the culture and it will not change simply because the opposition has a transsexual candidate, no matter how well-qualified Tamara Adrian may be (in fact she´s more qualified than many other candidates, I suspect). I think having a Pride parade in Caracas is a huge step, it means visibility, people know that gays and lesbians are real but quite frankly, I don´t think the country is ready to deal with gay issues in the political arena when people don´t even have food to eat.

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