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Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

April 16, 1999, Cuba Free Press. >

FOR THE "JINETERAS," A NEW PHASE OF CUBAN EDUCATION BEGINS By Alberto Iglesia, Cuba Free Press (as translated by a volunteer).

HAVANA - Nearly 40 years ago a new phase for Cuban education began when the late Commander Camilo Cienfuegos started to bring down the walls of that symbol of General Batista's government known as the Columbia Fortress and which today is Liberty City. Fidel Castro's slogan, "Convert barracks into schools" was realized.

The Cuban People saw an outburst of schools all over the nation. The country became a huge school; the read-and-write campaign required thousands of youths to separate from their families for the first time and go to the far away mountains, hills and plains of the "patria" - fatherland.

Nurseries, elementary and pre-university schools were established in the rural areas. Statistics were presented in order to reveal to the nation and the world the relationship of the hundreds of teachers and technicians with the numbers in other countries.

In those days, much of the Cuban public cheered the new education mode as an effort which supposedly benefited the working and low-income family. Their children would obtain scholarships and receive uniforms, food, transportation, etc. in addition to an integral education at "no cost."

The revolution's leaders' basic goal was the take-over by the new social system, so as to replace the ethic, civic and moral patterns which used to rule the Cuban people. Soon the education programs started to change, turning schools into centers of revolutionary instruction to form the "new man." The "bourgeoisie's" morals had to be replaced by the class with power, "the socialist's morals."

"Compañero" (comrade) replaced the title of professor or doctor or teacher" or simply "prof" - depending on the education level of the institution. The professor started to address the student by his/her name or nickname instead of using the last name which was the norm before the "barbudos'" (bearded ones') arrival. (Castro's guerrillas let their beards grow and therefore were called barbudos.) In this manner the usual distance between teacher and pupil faded.

The ethical and moral associations among pupils and between teacher and pupil eroded, rapidly and convincingly. Among the former sexual promiscuity increased. In the instance of the association between teacher and pupil, great moral scandals ensued which up till then were unknown in Cuban education. The penalty for the teachers was transfer to another institution.

Currently the Cuban people recognize the real cost of the existing education system. The separation of the teenagers from their families during the time when they need their parents' guidance is the primary cause of their acquiring licentious behaviors.

Now when a law is passed which punishes the licentiousness through the practice of "jineterismo" ("jinetera" comes from the Spanish word "jinete," or jockey, and the former thus means sex rider) or prostitution and other social distortions among the young people, I remember when Castro in one of his 'kilometric' speeches recognized the new form of prostitution in Cuba.

In connection with the current offensive against the "jineteras" a pre-university center for the re-education of prostitutes has begun in a rural area of Pinar del Río Province. I doubt very much if these young women who are now being re-educated in this center remember when years ago they entered the same building dreaming of becoming professionals, but not through sexual intercourse.

Maybe they remember that they did not start selling their bodies to foreigners for a few dollars, a pair of panties or a meal in a restaurant. Instead, many at first traded their bodies to a teacher so as to pass this or that subject.

Alberto Iglesia, Cuba Free Press.

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