Office of Civil Rights
September 15, 2013

Date: 06/05/2013 Description: Hispanic Heritage Month 2013: Victor Garcia-Rivera - State Dept Image A native of Cuba, Victor Garcia-Rivera and his family fled the Castro dictatorship, with nothing but the clothes in their luggage, when Victor was a child. After becoming a naturalized citizen, he wanted to pay back the country that gave him liberty. Becoming a diplomat had been his dream when he graduated from college with a B.A. in economics. He did not pursue that goal, because being gay at that time led to an automatic denial of a security clearance.

An accomplished musician, he toured in the North and South as a singer/songwriter/guitarist for several bands. His songs received airplay on radio and TV worldwide. Later, he produced the first rock radio show transmitted to Cuba, prodding the Cuban Government to ease their ban on rock music. Victor went on to a career in business, first as demand manager at a chemical company, then as vice president of a structural steel export company. When the Department of State opened its doors to LGBT applicants and their partners in 2009, Victor took and passed the Foreign Service generalist exams, joining the 167th A-100 class in May, 2012. He is a management-coned officer, currently serving his first tour as a consular officer in Tijuana, Mexico. Victor and his spouse volunteer at an orphanage in Tijuana for children with HIV. He recently secured a grant for the orphanage from the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust Fund. Victor also serves as the GLIFAA (Gays & Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Association) representative in Tijuana.