Teacher Dismissed from Job for Reporting Fraud / Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces

GUANTÁNAMO, Cuba, November, www.cubanet.org – Alain Lobaina Laseria is a mathematics graduate and worked in the Pedro Agustín Pérez Basic Secondary School in the municipality of El Salvador in Guantánamo. However, he has been dismissed from his employment for reporting failures and irregularities related to the education system.

When one teacher at the school went to complete a work mission to Haiti and another transferred to a polytechnic, Alain, who until that point had worked as a tutor, had to teach mathematics and physics to eighth grade students.  Upon receiving the groups he carried out an examination to check the students’ knowledge and the results were disastrous.  In one of the groups no one passed and in the other, from 72 students, only 7 passed.

As the course advanced Alain noticed that the students level of knowledge was extremely low. After carrying out the second test in mathematics, he failed 8 students because they had handed in their exam papers almost completely blank. After reporting the results, the teacher in charge of the grade carried out an analysis and threatened him, saying that he could not fail those students. From that moment onwards his situation in the school became very difficult.

Then he decided to write, under the protection of Article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic, a letter to the government and the municipal Party in which he reported the fraud that had been committed in the school and how he had been pressured to pass 100 percent of the students.

Furthermore, as a response to the public call to the highest levels of government and the Party to combat corruption and all kinds of violations, Alain reported other cases of fraud committed in Polytechnic No. 2, in the San Justo neighbourhood, in the Vocational Computing Polytechnic, in the Pre-University Vocational Institute of Exact Sciences and in the educational centres of the city of Guantanamo.

Shortly after Alain sent his letter, the Provincial Director of Education turned up at the school and read it in front of all the workers.  The purpose of discrediting him in front of his colleagues and making an enemy of him was made clear through the following warnings: “All of this school’s workers can be involved in this….this letter cannot be published in the Venceremos de Guatanamo Newspaper…and we will not tolerate a Gorbachov here in El Salvador”

In the final test, Alain failed various students, being the only teacher who didn’t promote 100 percent of students. In the re-evaluation test he caught a student copying the exam responses from a cheat sheet and reported the incident to the school administration. However, all he achieved was to have the school principal, Angel Velazquez, the secretary of the Party named Leticia, the municipal education teacher leader and the secretaries of the UJC (Young Communist Union) and the trade union reprimand him as if he were the guilty one.

Although Alain was opposed to the fraudulent student sitting another re-evaluation test, the aforementioned people agreed to allow it and they never investigated to find out how, suspiciously, the boy obtained the correct responses to the exam.

Upon starting this school semester, the principal of the school cancelled Alain’s work contract.  All this has occurred after the Granma Newspaper has repeatedly denounced academic fraud and the radio program “Speaking Clearly” of Rebel Radio and the television program “The Roundtable” have adopted similar positions.

Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces

Cubanet, 19 November 2013

Translated by Peter W Davies

Does Human Trafficking Exist in Cuba or Not? / Victor Ariel Gonzalez, CID


“Cuba is not the place of origin, transit or destination of human trafficking”.  This was declared by Isabel Moya Richard, the director of ’Editorial de la Mujer’ (A Cuban Women’s Federation publisher) on November 1.  However, later in the article it is stated that in 2012 fourteen people were convicted of trafficking.  So, the phenomenon does exist.

The aforementioned director recognises that it is important to prevent these practices through an orientation towards healthy sexuality, implementing “sexual education in all levels of education”.

She adds that “another key matter is the work of the Ministry of Tourism to avoid campaigns that could associate Cuba with ’sexual tourism’”.  The matter “is not easy” given the advertising image of a paradisaical beach (main natural resource for Cuban tourism) upon which usually walks a woman whose figure indirectly offers to the visitor the possibility of finding sexual pleasure.  This aesthetic concept implies a distortion of the female image and its association with a product that sells.  Paradoxically, this phenomenon, equally common in western market economies, has been criticised by the Cuban government, that for reasons of “avoiding turning women into merchandise” has gone so far as to prohibit the possession of pornography.

In various civil independent society publications, foreign as well as Cuban, accounts appear that bear witness to the sexual exploitation of Cuban adolescent victims. They speak of families that agree to “offer” their daughters to a foreigner who promises to take them with him to give them a better life and in this way the girl is able to help those who she leaves behind.

Prostitution is a hidden subject in Cuba. The critical economic situation has contributed to the growth of this phenomenon in recent years to never before seen levels.

In respect to human trafficking we can also include those who are victims of irregular migratory trafficking.  Although it is not necessarily related to prostitution, conditions in Cuba also give rise to a high number of illegal immigrants, those who pay exorbitant prices to arrive to the U.S.A. by sea or via third countries such as Mexico.  The price of a “ticket” is above 8,000 CUC.

By Victor Ariel González

16 November 2013

Translated by Peter W Davies

Russian Millionaires Come to do Business / Tania Diaz Castro

Havana, Cuba, November 2013 – www.cubanet.org.- Mr Rodrigo Malmierca, minister for external trade and foreign investment, said that in the 31st Havana International Fair (HIF), held from November 3 to 9, the participation of various foreign delegations shows that “our country is not alone and there is no economic blockade of worldwide power that is capable of changing our course”.

Does this mean that the Castro regime will stop requesting the end to the blockade or commercial, economic and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States?

The embargo was imposed in October 1960 when Fidel Castro illegally occupied properties owned by North American citizens and companies.  In 1992 the embargo became law when Castro refused to take steps towards democratization or to show respect to the Universal Charter of Human Rights.

More than twenty years later, the Cuban military dictatorship continues to violate the world’s most respected citizen rights and further impoverishes the country.

On the streets many ask what purpose 31 fairs that look for countries to trade with Cuba have served if Cubans continue to live in poverty, subsisting on incomes much less than a dollar a day, the same as those who live in sub-Saharan Africa.

it isn’t understood why numerous Cuban companies received prizes and mentions for many of their products exhibited at the 2013 HIF while in Granma, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, the poor quality of the country’s products and services are criticised almost daily.

If the 2013 HIF welcomed Russian millionaire businessman — there are more than 20 in the country including one woman, Mrs Yelena Baturina, wife of the mayor of Moscow — why isn’t anything known of the commercial agreements that were reached with them?

How can we forget February 22 of this year when Russian president Dimitri A. Medvedev, visiting the island, signed an agreement about the “adjustment of Cuban debt to the Russian Federation, for credit granted during the period of the defunct USSR?

How can we forget that days afterward on May 22, the president of the Russian Federation Council, Ms Valentina Matvienko, expressed to Granma “We are pleased to have found a solution for the readjustment of debt”.

It is said that it refers to thirty billion dollars, an impressive figure.

How then will the insolvent and inefficient Cuban dictatorship be able to pay?  Why haven’t the technical aspects of the signed agreement signed by Ms Matvienko and the Cuban National Assembly “for a prompt ratification of debt and approval in the Russian parliament” been explained to the people?

Nothing is known. Only that the Russian business advisor in Cuba, Vadim Tiemnikov, visibly moved on television, thanked the Cuban authorities celebrating the 96th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, despite having dismantled socialism some twenty two years ago.

Despite the Havana International Fair of 2013, Cuba will continue to be a country weighed downed by marginalization, by the shortage of basic food products, with miserable salaries and fields infested with the invasive marabou weed, without a fishing industry or merchant navy, the livestock industry on its knees, the sugar industry in its worst state in history, an obsolete ration book system (Lenin’s idea) and a military dictatorship that asks the people to change their mentality although the people still doesn’t know how the hell they should change their mind.

Tania Díaz Castro

Cubanet, 13 November 2013

Translated by Peter W Davies