Military Units to Aid Production


Military Units to Aid Production

Military Units to Aid Production or UMAP’s (Unidades Militares para la Ayuda de Producción) were allegedly established by the Cuban government in 1965 as a way to eliminate "bourgeois" and "counter-revolutionary" values in the Cuban population,[1] in particular, among those who neglected taking part in the military service (like conscientious objectors) or who had been rejected from it (most especially, members of the Cuban LGBT community).

Raúl Castro, then Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, declared in April 1966 that "in the first group of fellows who took part in UMAP's were some youngsters who didn't have a proper behavior in life; these young fellows, partly due to their education and the influence they got from the environment, had taken it the wrong way in the front of society and consequently have been incorporated to UMAP's in order to help them to find the right path so as to fully assimilate to society".[2]

In a similar fashion, Fidel Castro told the American journalist Lee Lockwood in 1965 that "we have never believed that an homosexual could personify the character and behavior required to regard him as a true revolutionary, a real communist. This type of deviation crashes with our concept of a communist partisan. But, above all, I don't believe that anybody could have a definite answer about the causes of homosexuality. I think we should treat this problem carefully. But I'll be sincere and tell you that homosexuals should not be allowed to occupy functions where they could influence the youth. ... In the present state of affairs, we must instill in our youth the spirit of discipline, of self-sacrifice and hard work. This attitude might not be the correct one, but it is our sincere opinion on the issue".[3]

Between 1965 and 1968 some prisoners considered to be counter-revolutionary were incarcerated in the UMAP forced labor camps in an attempt to reform them. Supplied with information from local Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), Cuban police conducted investigations on various individuals.

The camps were closed in 1968 after Fidel Castro sent personnel incognito to experience the treatment. He sent several men from the Communist Youth whose identity was also kept secret. Shortly after these visits and reports, the camps closed, but there are other opinions regarding the closing like U-2 aerial photos taken of the UMAP's Concentration Hard Labor Agricultural Camps, primarily located in the Province of Camaguey and Oriente, complains from the Human Rights, negative world publicity and several democratic countries protests that made Fidel Castro's decision to close the unpopular concentration camps in Cuba.[4]

References


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