Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

07 de Marzo del 2000


Pinar del Río.- Parents are getting more concerned than usual about plans afoot to increase the government's communist indoctrination of the children. A few days ago, an irritated mother was telling Cuba Free Press that her son's teacher was forcing the 10-year-old boy to be in front of the family TV at 8 p.m. weekdays to watch the government's "news" program.

As if that were not enough, the teacher subjected the boy the next day to a quiz about the news he had watched. Activities of this kind have now become the rule in Cuba's schools.

Parents say this worsens a now traditional practice developed by the communists' education system in that it violates more rights of both parents and students. Why this boundless intensification of political indoctrination among school kids?

Even though the government press addresses the issue without digging inside its essence, information has started to leak out about some other changes that have been made and still more to come later.

One change will expand the study of history to all grades and levels of learning and to rank that subject on a par with Spanish and math. This would not in itself be so worrisome if there were the certainty that our rich history were not being manipulated - which it has been for 40 years.

We all well know that upon implementation there will be more misrepresentation of Martí as an anti-American to the bone and with almost-Communist ideals. And Maceo will also be misrepresented as someone whose spirit goes around still holding a machete in his hands and leading a revolutionary demonstration along the Malecón (Havana's seaside boulevard). Both Martí and Maceo will be falsely depicted as ecstatic to know that their bloody struggle finally brought victory - on Jan. 1, 1959!

The final objective is to have the students reach the conclusion that all the blood shed by our martyrs, from Cacique Guamá to date, has been sacrificed for the sake of achieving this marvel of a country that we now have!

And all our martyrs, if living in our times, would think more or less like the people who have governed us for lo these many decades. The Marxist monopoly has enforced that objective not only on history professors but also on all other faculty members. They all must take appropriate actions to achieve the goal. Should the teachers fail to do so, a rigorous set of rules and regulations that governs the political endeavors of teachers would bring them serious problems.

One eye-catching measure will spend funds to place a color television set and a video cassette recorder in every school. This is reminiscent of the junior (secondary) and senior (pre-university) high school classrooms of the 60's and early 70's. At that time a couple of TV sets per school allowed students to observe almost every morning some interesting experiments that could not be performed in the schools.

It is also reminiscent of other audiovisual materials that were then extremely important for certain learning. But unlike those ancient times, the current TV sets will be used for the transmission of elaborate political programs. And they will be conducted surely by a team of specialists with a maximum of doctrinal preparation.

Paradoxically, they do not do time management to allow the boarding school children to watch what is still left of children's television, an increasingly disappearing act in our television programs.

Something else that must be cited in this context is the use and abuse of minors in the political demonstrations and meetings that take place with unbearable frequency. Minors provide a good part of the human conglomerate that is mobilized to give a false look of authenticity to these demonstrations.

Besides the moral mistreatment to which minors are subjected with these brainwashing activities, we must also cite the physical mistreatment involved. The children are forced to walk long distances on foot and to stay for hours exposed to the burning hot sun.

Perhaps the most remarkable occurrence is the repetitive mobilization of children and young people to do farm labor. It is no longer enough to have time set aside for such work under written rules and regulations, also quite excessive.

Farm labor already takes half of each day's session in the so-called "Schools in the Countryside." It also takes 45 consecutive days of the school year in the urban schools.

But now the authorities may suddenly close classrooms any day and send the kids off to do farm labor without even consulting their parents. So at the end of the day when a child is due home and does not arrive, then what?

Parallel to this use of young people and children as forced and cheap labor on farms or for other activities for which the state seems not to have enough workers, there is a not-very-covert political interest in these practices.

The ruling class will use the children to force a greater submission of parents to that class. And will the mobilization and manipulation intensify to a degree such that the students can become mindless automata or robots?

There are more fingers on the two hands than are needed to count how many parents approve of this marvelous new offensive directed toward the students! But there are also more fingers than needed to count how many of them will publicly rebel against it.

What is involved in this case is of a higher order than plain self-protection interest. That is because a protest by the parents would mean a sacrifice for their children also, for the kids would see their prospects of access to a good school or a good career and even a good job in the future go down the ditch.

On March 3 an education officer named Luis A. Cordero was openly saying in an interview on the noon TV news that the future for each student will be proportional (note!) to the contents of an "AVAL" (meaning in this context "a student attitudinal affidavit"). Each AVAL would be signed by each school's Youth Organization, a political-correctness policing agency.

It is by no means secret what kind of words will be applied in those dread affidavits or who will actually be signing them. And in case this diabolic mechanism does not work, there is an even more drastic resource at hand.

Such a "resource" is found in Article 316 of the Modifications to the Penal Code. The code establishes "penalties of imprisonment from three months to one year or fines of from 100 to 300 'quotas' or both" for whoever, among other things "induces a minor to (...) refuse the educational labor that is inherent to the national system of education or to fail to perform the duties related to respect and love of the fatherland."

It is useless to say what can be considered by the authorities to be "educational labor" and "respect and love for the fatherland."

When this entanglement is seen in the context of recent events, there is room for wondering about how much moral authority there is to address the legal concept of "Parental Authority" ("Parental Rights" equals "Patria Potestas") when these procedural ways are nothing but the flagrant violation of such rights.

Parental authority is not only the right of a father to have custody of his son in the absence of the mother as they try to make it look around here. It is a concept that goes much further. There is no need to be a judge or a lawyer to know that nobody should decide against the parents' will how to educate under-age children with respect to religion or politics. Much less should anyone not related to a child assume unilaterally the prerogative to decide his or her relocation away from school premises during school hours for activities that have nothing to do with formal education.

Internationally, educators usually agree that children should go to school to learn and get well educated so that when adulthood arrives they may be able to form their political ideals on their own. But here there is a total lack of even the more elemental teaching of ethics and a complete lack of respect for parents when the school decides to use mechanisms of force to create a personality that has a communist and socialist or any other such extreme political hue.

Politics does to a youngster what a grasshopper does to an ant. With politics we crush the youngsters' innocence and we sacrifice for the sake of an unseemly goal a time in their lives that the Creator has conceived for much healthier endeavors.

Orestes Martín Pérez, Cuba Free Press.

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