Cubalex, 30 September 2019 — Last April 18th, in the city of Guantanamo, pastors Ramón Rigal and Ayda Expósito received a citation from the municipal tribunal. On that day they started a summary process against them, which ended up with jail sentences of 2 years, and a year and a half, for “actions against the normal development of a minor”.
The Christian leaders, who belonged to the Iglesia de Dios in Cuba, had decided to provide home education to their children Ruth and Joel, aged 13 and 9 respectively. They adopted “the certified methodology of the Hebron College of Guatemala study plan,” according to the Liga Evangelica.
In the legal action against the pastors, the prosecutor indicated that “home education is not permitted in Cuba, because it has a capitalist basis” and that only teachers have the ability to “inculcate socialist values.”
For their part, the parents expressed their right to decide what type of education thier children should receive, as laid down by Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In spite of the fact that the island is signatory to the Declaration, the country is solely able to conceive of state schools providing secular education.
“Numerous religious groups, including the Catholic church, have repeatedly brought up the lack of options in Cuba in respect of primary and secondary education, especially for parents who do not want their children to be educated in an aggressively atheist curriculum, according to Anna-Lee Stangl, Head of the Christian Solidarity Defence Union.
The Cuban state guarantees a free and accessible education, but does not allow parents or legal tutors to choose other programmes for children. Students may not receive a religious or moral education in accord with family beliefs in study centres.
Individuals are not at liberty to run educational institutions or other options which do not provide a secular programme. Education is the sole prerogative of the state, which imposes on parents the duty of educating their children in moral, ethical and civic values in conformity with life in a socialist country.
More than that, the teaching is based on precepts promoting ethical, moral, civic and patriotic values, including military preparation, which is in conflict with the moral and religious convictions of some social groups.
Translated by GH