Cuba: Lizette Vila, Proyecto Palomas and International Men’s Day

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Today is International Men’s Day and Proyecto Palomas [Palomas Project or the Dove Project, Audiovisual Production House for Social Activism] joins global events for in greeting the International Men’s Day, which is celebrated every November 19 in several countries. Maya Quiroga (Cubanow) interviews Lizette Vila, film director and director of Proyecto Palomas:

What motivations led the Paloma Project to join this celebration?  International Men’s Day has been celebrated since 1992. In 1999, Trinidad and Tobago was the first nation in our region to express itself publicly. Since last year, we started celebrating it in Cuba. For that date we presented the documentary Estoy viva…lo voy a contar [I’m alive … I’ll tell you about it] about women survivors of violence, also as an homage to those good and mindful men who accompany us in the struggles for our rights and for life. If we work on the issue of inequalities, if the Palomas Project also has to do with male children and spaces free of violence, we cannot leave men outside our endeavor.

What concerns do you have as a woman and film director about the rights of Cuban men? Palomas has never stopped showing different realities: the pain, dreams, hopes, anguish, loneliness, sexual rights, and the challenges that Cuban men have, with conflicts similar to those in other regions. Has anyone asked why men have a shorter life expectancy than women (not only due to wars, violence, and terrorism)? Why do men suffer more cardiovascular disease than women? Why are men more depressed than we are, while depression has already been conceptualized by the World Health Organization as the world’s leading disability?

Why is it that, in Cuba, out of ten people living with HIV, eight are men who have sex with other men? Where is the pleasurable and responsible sexuality of these men? Where do bisexuals stand [in this context]? Where are the men who want to remain as sole family providers when it may not even be necessary because, today, some Cuban women earn higher wages than their husbands and maintaining a family is a duty to be shared by the couple?

The Federation of Cuban Women, with Vilma Espín at the helm, was always clear that we could not cut off men from our social project. Other institutions have also joined in the study of masculinities. How many men know that they are entitled to nine months of paid leave to care for their newborn children?

What are the actions that the Palomas Project will carry out this year with regards to International Men’s Day? On Saturday, November 18, at 3:00 in the afternoon at the Yara Cinema, we [led] an affirmative act as a tribute the International Men’s Day with the special presentation of the documentary Soy papá… de cualquier manera [I am a father. . .in any manner], written and directed by Ingrid León and Lizette Vila.

This documentary was an old project by Palomas that we were finally able to accomplish. It includes various life stories, the testimony of eleven men, pondering the concept sof being a father, biological fatherhood, and biographical fatherhood, which corresponds to those men who assume the upbringing of a child they did not procreate.

At the proposal of UNICEF, the documentary is part of the #LaPrimeraInfanciaImporta campaign, which encourages men to have a conscious and loving fatherhood, and to play an active role in the development of their children. The documentary [was] presented by actor Enrique Molina, a collaborator on the project. A group of artists, from different fields, offered their commitment to the network of the campaign called Únete, working to fight violence against women and girls, so that it may reach the Secretary General of the United Nations. [. . .]

[Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero.] For full interview (in Spanish), see http://www.cubanow.cult.cu/index.php/2017/11/16/proyecto-palomas-a-favor-de-los-derechos-del-hombre/.

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