Cuba's Castro to speak at Pride

Dr Castro, who arrives in the UK next week, will be one of the speakers addressing crowds in Trafalgar Square following London's LGBT Pride Parade on Saturday 4 July.

Mariela, who is a leading LGBT activist in Cuba and Director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), will also address delegates at the TUC's LGBT Conference at Congress House on Thursday 2 July.

CENESEX promotes equalities and LGBT rights and runs diversity projects to educate and challenge prejudices within Cuban society. Mariela describes CENESEX's goal as being to contribute to "the development of a culture of sexuality that is full, pleasurable and responsible, as well as to promote the full exercise of sexual rights."

Speaking at events with Mariela Castro will be Dr Alberto Roque, a gay activist and one of the organisers of Cuba's first International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) marches in Havana this May. Both will also take part in a Q&A session before a screening of Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate – the first Cuban film to feature a gay character and address issues of homophobia in Cuba) at the Barbican on Saturday evening 4 July.

Dr Alberto Roque will also be speaking at a public meeting in the House of Commons alongside Dr Aleida Guevara, daughter of Che Guevara on Tuesday 30 June, as well as the Cuba50 weekend Festival at the Barbican on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June.

"We are delighted that Dr Castro and Dr Roque will be taking part in Pride celebrations and the TUC LGBT Conference in July. It provides a fantastic opportunity not only to dispel much of the misinformation that exists in the UK about Cuba's policy and attitudes towards the LGBT community, but also to hear about the work being done within the island to challenge prejudices in society," said Cuba Solidarity Campaign Director Rob Miller.

All three are available for interviews.

For more information or interviews contact:Natasha Hickman on +44 (0) 20 8800 0155, mobile +44 (0) 7813 689777, or email communications@cuba-solidarity.org.uk

Note to Editors:1. Mariela Castro Espín was born in 1962 and is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX). She is the daughter of Cuban president Raúl Castro and Vilma Espin and the niece of former president Fidel Castro Ruz. Vilma Espin was President of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) from its foundation in 1961 till her death in 2007. The FMC not only worked for women's rights and equality in Cuba but paved the way for much of the LGBT rights being carried out in Cuba today2. Aleida Guevara was born 1960 and is eldest of the four children born to Ernesto Che Guevara and his second wife Aleida March. She is a paediatrician based at Havana's William Soler Children's Hospital and has also volunteered on medical brigades in Angola, Ecuador and Nicaragua.3. Cuba50 is an initiative of, and coordinated by, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, an NGO which campaigns for an end to the US blockade of Cuba and for normalisation of relations between the UK and Cuba. For more information see http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk 4. The weekend festival is the highlight of over 200 events throughout the UK in 2009. It features Cuba's greatest dance band Los Van Van, nueva trova legend Pablo Milanés, the dynamic Afro-Cuban rumba company Yoruba Andabo and many more of Cuba's finest artists. Alongside these acts performing on the Barbican's main stage, will be live music, workshops and family events on free stages throughout Saturday and Sunday. For more information see http://www.cuba50.org