EDUCATION IN ELIAN’S CUBA: WHAT AMERICANS DON’T KNOW
The education that children like Elián González receive in Cuba from kindergarten on is geared to create a new type of human being. Implicit in the 1976 Cuban constitution is an all-encompassing structure to educate and mold children. Parents do not have the authority to deviate from this structure.
Dr. Alberto Luzárraga, an attorney in New Jersey said, "The Code of the Child and of Youth (law #16, June 28 1978) demands that every child receive communist formation so that he develops a communist personality. Article 8 of that code requires that the state protect him from other influences. It says so in these words: ‘Society and the State work for the efficient protection of youth against all influences contrary to their communist formation.’ The Cuban constitution demands the same and states in its article 39 that the education must be Marxist. Article 62 of the Cuban constitution states ‘that no rights granted by this constitution can be exercised against the existence of and objectives of the communist state.’ The infraction of this article is punishable."
Shortly after a child's birth, parents must report the infant to the "Identity Registry" of the Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for enforcing internal security. There, the parents are given a "Minor's Identification Card" which the child must carry at all times until he or she reaches 16 when an adult ID card is issued. A minor not carrying this card risks detainment by State Security police (SS).
The Minor's Identification Card consists of 17 pages, including personal data, a photograph, all addresses where the child has lived as well as schools attended. In addition, it contains information on the political conduct of the child, with input from both schoolteachers and the SS.
Beginning in preschool, children are taught songs and poems praising the revolution and Castro, establishing a personality cult around his figure. Also, belief in God is discouraged. They are taught instead, to believe in Castro.
According to information provided by Cuban independent journalist José Orlando González Bridón, who lives on the island and is published by Cuba Free Press, from birth babies are controlled by the regime. Once they begin their elementary education they are controlled by the Pioneers Union. This government organization is in charge of the indoctrination and encourages the children to be like "Che" Guevara. The Pioneers motto is "We want communism, we will be like Che."
The children’s reading assignments deal almost exclusively with military themes, including commemorative dates of the Cuban Revolution and the exploits of guerrilla leaders. Lessons in assembling and disassembling firearms are commonplace in Cuban elementary schools, as are documentaries glorifying violent guerrilla groups held up as role models. The children are often bused - without parental notification or permission - to participate in such activities as "acts of repudiation" (violent public denunciations) against pro-democracy citizens or political protest rallies to shout insults and slogans supplied by the government, like the ones demanding the return of 6-year old Elián González.
Compositions and essays, primarily of political content, at the fourth and fifth-grade level concentrate on "Yankee imperialism" and on denouncing Castro's "enemies," fostering intolerance and extreme hatred toward anybody who wants democracy.
Pura Castilla, a Cuba Free Press independent journalist recalls with bitterness that nine years ago when her grandson became 7 and Castro’s regime automatically stopped giving him milk he commented, "Mother, the only milk left was for my little brother, the milkman said that there is no more milk for me."
Referring to all the noise that Castro is making about the rights of the father of Elián González in Cuba over his son, Castilla comments that those rights do not exist in Cuba. She points out that when children enter secondary education at age 11, they are sent to schools in the countryside without the parent’s consent.
These schools are notorious for using children to supply free labor for picking citrus fruits 8 hours a day rather than receiving their classes. Independent Cuba Free Press’ journalist Orestes Martín Pérez. Castilla reports that the children are drafted into these "schools" until age 16. González Bridón points that at that age all children are "registered in computer records and an 11-digit inventory number is assigned to each one, as if they were somebody else’s property. As such, they are controlled by the state for the rest of their life."
He explains that during this period the children are controlled by the Student Federation of Middle Education, another government organization in charge of continuing their communist indoctrination to create this new type of human being. He says, "in addition to the control and indoctrination exercised on the students by these government-created and directed organizations for that purpose, when children become 14, they are also controlled by city blocks through the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution."
These committees are in charge of the surveillance of each city block to control and inform to the SS on the conduct of each citizen, including students when they are not at school. The information is kept in the files kept on each person of each block. The information is used to control behavior. Food, housing, household goods and clothing, as well as education, health care and job opportunities depend upon the information in these files. This is a fact from birth to death that is known to all Cubans, though unknown to most Americans due to decades of the pervasive U.S. media cover-up.
Female students must face yet another government organization. González Bridón describes the function of the Cuban Federation of Women: "Its only effective function is to collect money to keep up the communist regime running."
When children reach pre-university or technical school level, the same Student Federation of Middle Education plus the Young Communist Union controls them. After they finish, they are forced into military service. Castilla says, "no parent can prevent it. Not even if your son is physically incapacitated, because if they want to obtain a professional degree they have to serve at least one year wherever the government sends them, if not they lose the right to go to the university."
Higher education in university is reserved for those who, according to the student Cumulative Academic Record – which begins when they enter school - are considered "good communists." In these cumulative records, teachers become watchdogs recording the student's political, religious, and academic behavior as well as that of the parents. A student’s record that does not demonstrate an unwavering devotion to Castro’s regime will last until death, and prevent him or her access to higher education and jobs. That is why Cubans from childhood learn to be very careful in their public conduct, and to lie and pretend loyal allegiance to Castro’s regime in order to survive.
"The ones who manage to enter university," says González Bridón, "are controlled by the University Student Federation." He explains that this is another even more rigid government organization in charge of controlling personal activities. This federation is under the strict supervision of the Young Communist Union and ultimately, the Cuban Communist Party under Castro’s control.
He says that all youngsters in Cuba, "have been victims of cruel psychological treatment all their life. In reality, they never have a childhood. They have been trained as soldiers preparing for a Great War, they have lost their youth and hopes. The revolution betrayed them for life."
Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
Mr Balzquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
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