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Cuban schools: leaking urine

Today, with twice the population in 1958, the country has 160 fewer rural schools than before the Castros seized power.

Rural Rural school in Cuba.
Rural Rural school in Cuba. Granma

Recently, during President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit to Mexico, his counterpart there, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced: "I promise President Miguel Díaz-Canel that Mexico will lead a more active movement to unite all countries and defend the independence and sovereignty of Cuba, rejecting any treatment of it as a terrorist country."

Faced with such an affront to Cubans, by supporting the Communist tyranny that has all but destroyed Cuba, it is worth taking a look at some of the "achievements of the revolution" that the Mexican populist president has so emphatically praised.

A good place to start is with at the national education system, which, together with public health, has been the main bulwark of Castroist propaganda. For decades Fidel Castro fabricated his most successful publicity myths around these social services, selling them as the "genuine work of the Cuban revolution." The planet swallowed it, and Castro I became a benefactor of his people and the poor around the world, allowing him to maintain power ad infinitum.

Cuban schools, leaking urine

Now let's return to reality and see what two mothers of schoolchildren in Holguin said a few days ago: "At my son's school, in order not to be soaked with pee, one would have to enter on stilts, because it builds up outside the toilet. And they don't flush, remaining full of feces all the time. There's just no maintenance, it's disgusting, —complained Suriley, the mother of a high school student in Holguin.

Another Holguin mother, Dayné, reported that "from the roof drips pee with water from the bathroom above," and the toilets "there are worms, because they don't flush." Ana Laura, the daughter of Laura Inés, is in second grade at an elementary school and has never gone to the school bathroom, as "she prefers to hold it rather than go to such a disgusting place."

These complaints by Suriley and Dayné are somewhat secondary, as they speak to the lack of hygiene in Cuba, but not the systemic educational crisis in the country, which reeks even worse than those school bathrooms.

Going back a little, according to the low standards of the Third World, it could be said that until the 80s Castroism managed to have an extensive system of schooling, even if it was not an educational one, which is something very different.  

Everything was false, based on a double fallacy: 1) education was not financed by the Government of Cuba, but rather by the Kremlin, with subsidies of up to 3 billion dollars per year; 2) Castro's real purpose was not education per se, but rather to carry out the largest brainwashing operation ever in the Western Hemisphere. That is why he closed all the private schools, and dismissed the teachers and professors "trained by the bourgeoisie" who would not collaborate in Communist indoctrination.

Schools in the countryside: waste, pregnancies and abuse

In one of his outbursts of megalomania, Castro I came up with an outlandish plan "unique in the world," and with strong fascist overtones: he built 535 gigantic three- and four-story schools in the Cuban countryside, severely affecting the national economy and the lives of Cubans.

The hundreds of thousands of secondary and pre-university students who resided at those schools, located in remote places, were forced to work part-time as agricultural laborers, as students from the cities were taken to work in agriculture for periods of between 45 days and 3 months.

Thus, children and adolescents were separated from their parents and placed under the control of the State to better indoctrinate them and form the "New Man." Sexual promiscuity and verbal and physical violence soared. Many teenage girls became pregnant and became single mothers, while others miscarried, with risks to their lives.

In the 20 years that the plan lasted, until 1991, ten million tons of cement were used, and 2,000 Russian buses (Girón) were assembled to transport the students.  16 million tons of food and 15 million tons of fuel were consumed, not to mention the technical and teaching staff, uniforms, and all the sundry supplies necessary. With those resources, the infrastructure of the economy could have been developed to better meet the needs of the population, but it was not.

When the manna from Moscow stopped falling, those immense rural schools were closed and abandoned. Some were converted into prisons, others into shelters for criminals, while other were taken over by squatters. Others remain empty because no one wants to work on land full of marabou.

Teachers leave classrooms

As a result of all this idiocy, Cuba today, with twice the population of 1958, has 160 fewer rural schools than before the Castros seized power. Currently there are 4,729 rural schools, and 65 years ago there were 4,889, according to the regime’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), and the former Ministry of Finance.  Since 2013, 1,934 rural schools have been closed. Ten years ago there were many more in rural areas across the country.

The Castros' top priority was always to instill in Cuba?s national consciousness a twisted vision of society, history, the world, humanity, contempt for the values of western culture and democracy, and the freedoms of the modern citizen, all while glorifying socialism, the dictator and his circle.

Even the Literacy Campaign itself had propagandistic purposes: the first words that the Conrado Benítez Brigades taught were praise for the Revolution and for Fidel. Cuba, with a 23% illiteracy rate in 1956, had been recognized by the UN as one of the least illiterate countries in Ibero-America and around the world. In Spain the figure was 50%, and Stalinist tyranny was not necessary teach people to read and write.

In the third decade of the twenty-first century, with impressive advances in technological and scientific innovations around the world, Cuba exhibits an appalling and sad technical-scientific, educational and cultural backwardness dating back to the first half of the twentieth century.

When "capitalist exploitation" took place, in education Cuba stood at the forefront of Latin America, along with Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Chile. Today it is at the bottom of the list, lacking teachers, proper classrooms, textbooks, uniforms, and essential equipment for classes and laboratory practices.

There are shortages of pencils, notebooks, and uniforms, and no free access to the Internet, or 21st century curricula. The buildings, classrooms and their furniture are in ruinous condition, falling apart; as we saw above, even leaking urine.

A high school student in 1958 was a scholar compared to one today

Education in Cuba today is a national disgrace, not only in terms of teaching, but also due to the serious loss of ethical, civic and moral values; children and adolescents, including females, yell at each other using unimaginable obscenities.

More than 35,000 teachers have left the classroom between 2009 and 2021, due to the very low salaries they receive, and other factors. Vacant slots are usually filled by young people rushed into their positions without the necessary preparation. Many do not speak properly, such that they are not well understood. Corruption goes unchecked; with gifts to teachers, many students ensure that they will pass their exams.

If, travelling through time, a high school graduate from 1958 and one from 2022 were to compete today based on their knowledge, we would be amazed at how badly the more recent graduate would fare, due to his educational indigence.

I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that today there is no more disastrous educational system in Latin America than Cuba’s. It is for good reason that neither Miguel Díaz-Canel, or anyone in the dictatorial leadership, even uses the word "education."

And yet, Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to praise the "achievements" of the Communist revolution, including education. It is not clear whether he has no idea what he is talking about, or he is competing to become the world’s worst external enemy of the Cuban people.

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