Fidel Castro admits to mistreating gay people following the Cuban Revolution

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Fidel Castro as a young man

For years, opponents of Fidel Castro's half-century reign as President of Cuba used Castro's mistreatment of LGBT people to undermine his support with left-wingers in the international community. And it worked, as Castro acknowledges in a new five-hour interview, which may turn out to be the ailing ex-leader's last.

He admits in an interview with Mexico City's La Jornada newspaper that his government "persecuted" gays and sent them to labor camps for no reason other than homophobia.

"They were moments of great injustice, great injustice!" he said. "If someone is responsible, it's me."

"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death, that we didn't pay it enough attention [to what was happening to gay people]."

As the country moves toward legalizing gay unions, Castro admits they are still way behind the rest of the world in many respects. "The biggest problem was always medicine and food," he says, "Which is true even today."