By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro was in Philadelphia in May to receive an award for her gay-rights activism.
But the visit almost didn’t happen.
Each year, the Equality Forum — an LGBT civil rights organization based here in Philadelphia — features a different nation at a multi-day summit. In 2013 it was Cuba, and Mariela Castro, the daughter of Raul and niece of Fidel, was asked to participate.
However, the US State Department stepped in and was not allowing her to travel to Philadelphia from New York, where she was speaking to the UN.
Following a public outcry the decision was reversed, and Castro was permitted to come to Philadelphia.
After visiting the Liberty Bell, Castro, through an interpreter, said a lot of work still needs to be done but knows that one day relations between the US and Cuba will normalize.
(Interpreter:) “And one day that dream is going to be a reality. Someday.”
Castro, the director of the Cuban Center for Sex Education, participated in talks on the challenges facing gay and lesbian people in her country. She also received an award for her human rights work.