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NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera Praises Uganda's Anti-Gay Laws

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Wednesday Sep 3, 2014

As the primary elections approach, New York City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera is coming under fire for comments he posted in January praising Ugandans for their anti-gay laws, even as the country faces widespread international condemnation for it.

Joe.My.God reports that the "pastor" who is running for the state Senate in the Bronx's 33rd district against Sen. Gustavo Rivera posted a video this winter praising the African nation for all of the things that has made American withdraw aid to the impoverished country.

"Godly people are in government," said Cabrera said, referring to Uganda's leadership, as reported in Crains New York. "Gay marriage is not accepted in this country. Even when the United States of America has put pressure and has told Uganda, 'We're not going to fund you anymore unless you allow gay marriage.' And they have stood in their place. Why? Because the Christians have assumed the place of decision-making for the nation."

The video is replete with misinformation, including the claim that Uganda's anti-gay laws were responsible for bringing the HIV infection rate down from 30 percent to six percent. In fact, Voice of America recently reported that the countries HIV infection rate went down from 18 percent in 1991 to just under 6 percent in 2002, due to the ABC program promoting abstinence, being faithful, and using condoms.

It was actually Uganda President Yoweri Museveni's recently passed legislation, the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, that is being heavily criticized for driving HIV underground by criminalizing its transmission and enforcing mandatory testing. The legislation, signed into law on July 31, makes people hesitant to get tested because knowing their HIV status will now be used as criminal liability against them.

Recently, the HIV infection rate has risen to 7.2 percent, with 140,000 new infections per year. "Even the AIDS Control Program at the Ministry of Health and the Uganda AIDS Commission have acknowledged that this law will take this country a step backwards," said Asia Russell, Director of International Policy with Global Access Project. "So it's not only civil society it's also members of the government who are speaking out, not loudly enough, but speaking out against this law. We only hope it's not too late."

Cabrera is a conservative Democratic with ties to the hate group Family Research Council. He is a pastor with New Life Outreach International, and enjoys support from equally hateful Sen. Ruben Diaz.

He has said that if elected, he wants to join the Independent Democratic Conference. But IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx said that he would have a "litmus test" for candidates they support, which Cabrera would like not pass.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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