Pastor and Wife Arrested for Homeschooling Children in ‘Normalized’ Cuba
A pastor and his wife have been arrested in Cuba for homeschooling their
children, according to Mike Donnelly, director of global outreach for
the Home School Legal Defense Association, a U.S.-based organization
that has offered legal assistance to homeschooling families since 1983.
Donnelly wrote about Cuban pastor Ramón Rigal and his wife Adya, who
were arrested on Feb. 21, on the HSDA website on Monday.
“The Obama administration argued that normal relations with Cuba would
lead to improved conditions for Cubans,” Donnely wrote. “But things have
not gotten better for homeschoolers.”
“We wanted the freedom to give our children the education that we, the
parents, have chosen,” Ramón said. “As Article 26.3 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights says, every parent has the right to give his
children the education that he chooses.”
“The Municipal Office of Education in Guantánamo wrote to Ramón
explaining, among other things, that ‘in our system, homeschooling is
not considered an educational institution, as this term is basically
used in countries with capitalist foundations,’” according to the Home
School Legal Defense Association.
“The letter also stated that the Cuban penal code provides sanctions for
a person who ‘leads a minor to abandon his home, be absent from school,
refuse educational work that is inherent to the national system of
education, or fail to fulfill his duties related to the respect and love
for the homeland.’”
Donnelly said this stance violates international human rights law —
something characteristic of totalitarian regimes like the one in Cuba.
“A government that denies parents the right to choose how their children
are educated, including home education, violates fundamental norms of
international human rights law,” Donnelly told Breitbart News.
In the article, Donnelly said Cuba should “meet certain minimum norms”
to be part of the global community.
“If Cuba plans to join the community of nations, especially having a
relationship with the United States, it should be expected to meet
certain minimum norms in the way it treats its citizens,” Donnelly wrote
in the article. “The right of people to establish private schools and to
homeschool is a minimum expectation.
“A society that forces its children to learn only in public school is
totalitarian and Cuba’s long history of totalitarian behavior in many
areas including education must change now,” wrote Donnelly, who also
sent a letter to the Senior Minister of Education in Cuba on behalf of
He did not receive a response.
Donnelly pointed out in his article that the U.S.’s Cuban Democracy Act
of 1992 states that U.S. policy should oppose the human rights
violations of the Castro regime, to maintain sanctions “so long as it
continues to refuse to move toward democratization and greater respect
for human rights” and to “be prepared to reduce the sanctions in
carefully calibrated ways in response to positive developments in Cuba.”
Donnelly also cited President Barack Obama’s 2016 memorandum that said
normalizing relations with Cuba would help human rights.
“Our vision for U.S.-Cuba normalization reflects my Administration’s
support for broad-based economic growth, stability, increased
people-to-people ties, and respect for human rights and democratic
values in the region,” then-President Obama wrote in the memorandum.
“Our policy is designed to support Cubans’ ability to exercise their
universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, with the expectation
that greater commerce will give a broader segment of the Cuban people
the information and resources they need to achieve a prosperous and
“Ramón wants to be able to stay in Cuba to pastor his congregation. But
it is no wonder that Ramón and his family, after being treated like this
simply because they homeschool, have expressed a desire to seek refuge
in a country that would respect their rights to educate their children,”
wrote Donnelly, who called on the Cuban government to respect parents’
rights and the U.S. government to hold it accountable.
“A government that is unwilling to trust its citizens to homeschool is
not worthy of trust from its citizens,” Donnelly wrote. “We call on Cuba
to respect Pastor Rigale’s right and to end its prosecution of his family.
“We hope that members of Congress and the Trump administration will take
an interest in this case and take action to defend the Rigals and others
like them,” Donnelly wrote.
Source: Pastor and Wife Arrested for Homeschooling Children in
‘Normalized’ Cuba – Breitbart –