The daughter of Cuba’s president praised US president Barack Obama yesterday after he came out in support of equal marriage rights for gay couples.

Mariela Castro, a prominent gay rights activist in the island nation and niece of Fidel Castro, said she hoped Mr Obama’s announcement, making him the first sitting president of the US to support marriage equality, would have legislative repercussions around the world.

According to AP, in her role as head of the National Center for Sex Education, Cenesex, she said the president’s position was “humane, understanding, in which he even recognizes that he too has been changing his opinion in favor of marriage, the free union of same-sex couples.”

“Hopefully his words will be taken seriously in the political and legislative decisions made in different states and in the whole world.”

Under Fidel Castro many gay men suffered in Cuban labour camps as the regime ‘re-educated’ homosexuals, with homosexuality being seen as a symptom of corruption by capitalism.

Gays were incarcerated in Military Units to Aid Production (UMAPs) between 1965 and 1968.

Castro believed that hard work would rid the men of their “counter-revolutionary tendencies.”

In 2010, Fidel Castro took responsibility saying if anyone were culpable it would have been him and that the persecution of gays was “a great injustice”.