The Instant Creation of Emerging Teachers

It was a sober meeting attended by several representatives from the municipal Ministry of Education. A murmur passed among the parents, seated on the same plastic chairs used by their children in the morning. The date was approaching for the announcement of who would continue their studies at the senior secondary school; it appeared that at this meeting they would tell us the number of pre-university or technical school slots assigned to our school site. Thus, the news at the end about “comprehensive general teachers” took us by surprise, because we had come to believe that their existence would be extended until our great-grandchildren reached puberty.

Educating adolescents – through accelerated courses – to teach classes ranging from grammar to mathematics, turned out to be a categorical failure. Not because of the element of youth, which is always welcome in any profession, but because of the speed of their instruction in teaching and the lack of interest many of them had in such a noble endeavor. Faced with the exodus of education professionals to other sectors with more attractive earnings, the emerging teachers program was developed; with it the already ailing quality of Cuban education fell through the floor. The children came home saying that in 1895 Cuba had lived through “a civil war” and that geometric figures had something called “voldes” which we parents understood to mean “edges.” I particularly remember one of these instant educators who confessed to his students on the first day of class that they should, “Study hard so you don’t end up like me, someone who ended up being a teacher because I didn’t take good notes.”

On top of that the tele-classes arrived, to fill a very high percentage of the school hours from the coldness of a screen that cannot interact. The idea was to make up, with these lessons transmitted by television, for the lack of training of those standing in front of the students. The tele-teacher substituted in many schools for the flesh-and-blood version, while teacher salaries increased symbolically, but never exceeded the equivalent of 30 dollars a month. Teaching became, even more than being a priest, a sacrifice. Thus, standing in front of the blackboard were people who had not mastered spelling or the history of their own country. There were young people who signed a pledge to become teachers, but who already regretted it after one week of work. The incidents and educational deformations that this procedure brought with it are written in the hidden book of failure of revolutionary plans and ridiculous production goals that are never met, with the difference that in this case we are not talking about tons of sugar or bushels of beans, but about the education of our children.

I breathe a sigh of relief that this long experiment in emergent education has ended. However, I do not envision the day in which all those people with preparation to teach leave the wheel of their taxis, come out from behind the bar, or exchange the tedium of working at home to return to the classroom. At least I could feel more relaxed if, in place of a television screen, Teo could receive all his classes from a corporeal teacher with a mastery of the content. I think that in this case we will have to wait for the great-grandchildren.

107 thoughts on “The Instant Creation of Emerging Teachers

  1. juancito
    If the desired effect is the suffocation of the ruling class, it becomes evident that the ruling class cares more for their own survival than the people they “rule”
    On the other hand, what is your original thought & opinion Oh brave one ?
    I don’t hear voicing your own thoughts … I only hear you parroting …

  2. And what happened to Humbag? you never did tell us whether the author of this

    ” I believe that these economic restrictions − an “embargo” to some and a “blockade” to others − represent a blunder in American policy toward Cuba. Far from suffocating the ruling class of the Island, these trade restrictions create material difficulties for the population and feed the radicalization of the ideological discourse inside Cuba. The embargo has been an argument to justify the unproductive and inefficient state-run economy, including the total ruin of various sectors”

    was a “leftist prostitution supporting degenerate??” see #86

  3. juancito
    With the idea of preconditions in order to create and/or effect change does not offer a possibility for change.
    It only offers endless negotiations going nowhere …
    A deceitful regime like Cuba’s with known practices of abuse in the last 50 years, credibility to say the least is lacking.
    To ask for “good faith” gestures is at worst reasonable.
    Now that been said …
    juancito: read carefully and think, then think again before you answer

  4. Ah Elbaño the following is a scatter brained opinion?

    “I believe that these economic restrictions − an “embargo” to some and a “blockade” to others − represent a blunder in American policy toward Cuba. Far from suffocating the ruling class of the Island, these trade restrictions create material difficulties for the population and feed the radicalization of the ideological discourse inside Cuba. The embargo has been an argument to justify the unproductive and inefficient state-run economy, including the total ruin of various sectors……

    With due respect for our sovereignty, with more collaboration, more cultural exchanges, more citizen solidarity and fluidity of communications, both peoples would benefit. For this reason I support an immediate opening to allow all Americans to travel to Cuba, the end of the “blockade,” the end of the damaging hostilities of the Cold War, and in particular the complete elimination of anything that limits contact between the citizens of both countries.”

    And….”Obama and the country he represents can play a very important role in this opening of Cuba to democracy, but they must do so without interference with respect to our sovereignty and our decisions.”

  5. Juan

    You are a confused little boy with a superiority complex. The only consistency in your comments is your condescending attitude towards others that don’t share your scatterbrained opinions. Just turning a phrase or writing grammatically correct english doesn’t cut it. It’s the content that matters and in your case it is sorely lacking. Sorry that we’ve ruined your attempt at having fun maybe it’s time to go back to your playstation…

  6. juan:
    suggest you read, think & then formulate a thought before you answer.
    You may be a cuban, by accident of nature, other than that, you are just a person choosing to speak without the accounatbility of reason.
    Since by your own admition you are not “there” you are exercising the right you would not be allowed to exercise while in Cuba.
    Your life of “priviledge” however comes with a price which I can see you pay gladly.
    You may consider yourself fortunate with the exercise of the same rights others are denied, freedom of movement, freedom of thought & expression, the ability to earn a living of your choice …
    As an “accident” of birth for your citizenship within the cuban revolution … do you know your place?
    How long will you obey your masters? whay will you do when you outlive your usefulness?
    What will you do when “things” change (as they always do)?
    Which side of the fence will you find yourself in?
    direct questions, direct answers.
    About proof of other “accusations & silly questions” read juancito, read my questions then think with your head before you answer, don’t react, thik & answer.
    ciao juancito!

  7. Bert – further comprehension lapse? Who was talking about Cuba – you asked me about MY country. Which is your country BTW? Several of you here certainly have a national identity problem – “I am Cuban” but haven’t even visited there for many years! Duh!

    And how can someone like you who posts on this site day after day for month after month disparage anyone else spending a few days here having fun?

  8. juan:
    listed as the 10th economy starting from the bottom right ?
    Cuba is among the top 10 ?, having only 6 partners ?
    In the trading agreements established is there is no previsto for default on debts or payment of debts with “human” currency.
    In a country with such diverse raw materials & agricultural potential investors would be crazy not to apporach with business oportunities right ?
    Nevertheless, faced with changing rules & regulations, the provervial “grease” for the wheels, the goverment’s inability to come up with a single currency and most importantly the goverment (yours if you really are a cuban) whimsical approach to debts incurred …
    Is very encouraging to investors eh ?
    You should read more than wikipedia juan …
    My suggestion to you:
    apply to yourself some of that ‘constructive critizism” if you are able, look at the situation “objectibly” as you were tought by your “prophets” and all around educate yourself, if you are a cuban & a “new man of the revolution” it should not be hard to achive if you do more than just sit & play at your computer, living @ home muching from Mommy & Daddy …
    still waiting for your answer … name 2 positive achivements of the revolution …
    ciao juan …

  9. Hey – Ybaño – a simple question is the author of the quote in #88 a “leftist prostitution supporting degenerate”?

    Interesting comprehension skills BTW – find one word that I have written in support of the Castros??? But of course ANY opinion that is different from yours is bad – so much for freedom of expression.

  10. Juan

    Who cares about the Centre for Democracies or El Yuma. Why do we have to give more weight to their opinions, just because you say so? The fact that you are pushing them discredits them. As far as accusing anyone in here of holding anachronistic view points that is precious. When did it become progressive or forward thinking to support the criminal regime in Cuba? That bogus train left the station a long time ago. Your buddies running the show in Cuba are an anachronism. Even most of the democratic, left-leaning/socialist countries around the world think of the castros as dinosaurs, discredited relics of the cold war. I support freedom and democracy for Cuba, you want more of the castros… if that makes me an anachronistic thinker I am guilty as charged.

  11. Ah – so lifting the blockade is absolutely bad and evil huh? Well who said this recently – ” I believe that these economic restrictions − an “embargo” to some and a “blockade” to others − represent a blunder in American policy toward Cuba. Far from suffocating the ruling class of the Island, these trade restrictions create material difficulties for the population and feed the radicalization of the ideological discourse inside Cuba. The embargo has been an argument to justify the unproductive and inefficient state-run economy, including the total ruin of various sectors”

    Obviously some leftist prostitution supporting degenerate??

  12. Juan,

    The organization “Democracy in Americas” is only interested in lifting the Cuba Embargo at all costs, even if it means negating Human Rights to the Cuban People.
    I mentioned on a previous post #36 that I sent them two links about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the Black Cuban Political Prisoner dying from a hunger strike and so far they have not included this story or any Yoani stories, or reports from Human Rights Watch on their web site or e-mails. Their aim is to please their leftist contributors so they can have a CHEAP IDEOLOGICAL VACATION WITH CHEAP SEX WITH THE SMARTEST PROSTITUTES IN THE WORLD (males included). I read the articles they send me on their e-mail blasts and web sites weeks before they post them. There is a little tool you can use called GOOGLE NEWS! Keep it a secret!

  13. So none of of you are prepared to aknowledge the Centre for Democracies position as endorsed by El Yuma – viz: More than anything else, Cuba Central is aimed at removing the travel ban on Americans going to Cuba and eventually ditching the entire anachronistic embargo. Anachronistic certainly is spot on for those few of you here living in the past.

    And Bert if your comprehension skills were better you might understand that ‘not applicable’ is a qualification (i.e. explanation) of ‘irrelevant’. And my country is in the top 10 of world economies!

  14. Yubano,

    We are fighting a good fight. I like talking about these things because it is the right thing to do. We both see things the way they should be — we disagree on how to get there.

    It is curious — I have lived my entire life under the shadow of the influence of El Caudillo en España y Fidel en Cuba — both totalitarians – one was a fascist, the other is a communist, but both dictators.

  15. Yubano,

    Too much secrecy on this whole contractor deal. Only the Cubans in the US care about these 5 spies so my feeling (not that I would like that) is that it’s happening right now, like with Iran.

  16. That will not happen Humberto. The US will not release the 5 convicts. They were tried under our criminal justice system and were found guilty. The US government will not undermine the judicial system for a swap with Cuba. They are not prisoners of war, or enemy combatants. They are convicted spies who were tried in the criminal court system, they will serve their sentences. The US government has never done such a thing and I don’t believe they will do so in this case.

  17. Hank

    I have the same attitude about not travelling there. I don not want to support them in any way. They won’t see a penny of my money. We seem to agree pretty much on how we view Cuba and the Cuban regime, that I is why I can’t understand why…….
    No, I better not go there… hahahaha


    BBC NEWS: US hikers’ mothers ask to visit Iran
    ‘Lost travellers’

    “But their families say they crossed the border into Iran accidentally while hiking in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region.

    Their mothers said the three friends had not been allowed to make any phone calls or to write letters.

    “For more than three months, we have no independent information about our children’s health or their state of mind,” they wrote in the letter released on Monday.

    “We cannot explain why for more than six months, Iran has not found it in its heart to demonstrate magnanimity toward our children – young travellers whose only mistake appears to have been to lose their way on a hiking vacation,” the letter said.”

    In an interview with Iranian state TV at the beginning of February, President Ahmadinejad said there were ongoing negotiations about a possible prisoner swap in exchange for several Iranians jailed in the US.

    THE GUARDIAN: Iran moving towards military dictatorship, warns Clinton
    Secretary of state seeks to drive wedge between military wing and public says US seeking UN sanctions targeted at guard

  19. Exactly. He is a hostage. We are now engaged in hostage politics with blackmailing thugs. The Havana Mafia.

    That’s why I don’t go to Cuba and refuse to do so. I won’t go there until things change.

  20. The arrested contractor in Cuba wasn’t even distributing phones, computers etc. to dissedents, bloggers or anyone else who would be suspect to the government. He was there specifically to supply the equipment to Cuban Jews. He has become a hostage and a political chip for the regime.

  21. It seems to me that a mathematical mind with good powers of deduction & logic like Julio Y’s would be better equiped than mine to explain this type of “thought” process …

  22. Hank:
    there is such a thing (or devise) in logical thinking (the educated one) in which a falsehood can be proven not to be by virtue of a logical thought progression.
    Therein is where she scares me, as any other of this powerful thinkers.
    The argument is supported (as a premise) by the “rule of law”.
    Under that guise, “the law” has been broken by the contractor’s actions.
    If the mariage of letter & spirit does not exist for that law, it must still prevail, since the country is under the international agreements of soverign power capable to legislate & enforce the law …
    The method of application en enforcement however drastic are within the powers of this state ergo the contractor is wrong, is motives are not exculpatory and his guilt is evident.

  23. Albert,

    She scares me too. Just because Julia Sweig can articulate a thought in a coherent, grammatically correct sentence, doesn’t make what she says right. Educated people like her are frightening because when they say things that are plainly wrong, they legitimize bad things.

    There are a number of very troubling statements she makes.

    For example, when she was talking about the contractor held in Cuba, she said — almost as though it were an incontrovertible fact beyond debate — that if other countries sent people like him here to America, they would be arrested. Saying something like that assumes so much and is loaded with preconceptions. In my view, the statement betrays a predisposition she has in favor of the Castros. What law would these people be breaking, Julia?

    From what I know of the case, the American contractor was distributing cell phones and computers to facilitate access to the internet in Cuba. If the government of China were to send people here giving out free gifts like that, would they be arrested? I think not. But let’s take it even further, suppose the government of North Korea were to send people here, distributing cell phones and computers to civic organizations, would they be arrested? I think not.

    C’mon, Julia. Get real!

  24. MERCED SUN-STAR PAPER: Europe might take another step back on Cuba
    Opinion – National voices Monday, Feb. 15, 2010
    By MARIFELI PEREZ-STABLE – McClatchy Newspapers

    “Until June 30, Spain holds the presidency of the European Union. Madrid has always taken the lead on Cuba, and so it has been since the Socialists won the 2004 election. Under Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain prodded the EU to lift sanctions imposed after the Black Spring of 2003. By March 2009, the EU had normalized relations with Havana.

    After the Popular Party eked out the Socialists in 1996, Spain moved the EU to adopt the Common Position, laying out the objective of encouraging Cuba to launch a democratic transition, respect human rights and open the economy while rejecting “coercive measures.”

    Instead, the CP offers Havana incentives to mend its ways. Now Madrid hopes to persuade the EU to eliminate or dilute the Common Position.

    Europeans may be Venus to the American Mars, but democracy and human rights lie at Europe’s core. The EU takes the Universal Declarations literally: Human rights are ours no matter what our politics.

    Rescinding the Common Position won’t be easy. All EU members must agree to it, and there’s resistance from Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Last November German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Zapatero that the CP’s fate was entirely in Cuba’s hands. It’d be lifted only if Havana showed meaningful progress.”

    “Havana has generally conducted an efficacious foreign policy. Its relations with countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are normal if not outright friendly. Last year, for example, Cuba sailed through its review in the U.N. Human Rights Council, thanks, in part, to the goodwill earned in the developing world.

    To be sure, U.S. policy has also helped Havana insofar as the embargo musters wider international censure than the regime’s ingrained violations of human rights.

    Even so, Cuba is at a foreign-policy crossroads. Its cries of “national sovereignty” won’t play well with the European Union. Would Cuban leaders accept a weakened Common Position? Unlikely. If the EU discards the CP, the next logical step would be an economic-cooperation agreement. Only all such EU agreements carry a democratic clause. In 1996, Brussels offered one and Havana sent the EU emissary packing.”

  25. The Council in Foreign Relations (in my opinion) has a rather murky pedigree, its opinions have influenced the “moves” of the US policies abroad many times.
    Its members read like a who is who’s list of “thinkers” who have contributed to some of the worst policies carried out by the US, like the ones instigated in South America & in Asia in the 60’s.
    That’s why in this simpleton’s mind … they scare me.

    Hnak: you forgot the lack of rain, it is the Us’s fault also.
    The little fidel of Venezuela is no Bolivar … even if he thinks he is.
    I pray for the people of Venezuela about the trials & tribulations they face & will face … unless they manage to stop him.
    His use of the cuban “advisors” will make it hard … I think the public opinion hand in hand with the bloggs will be one of the tools for defense against this maniac …

  26. So the US is already to blame for the lack of electricity and the devaluation of Venezuelan currency? Priceless. When he nationalized that supermarket chain a few days ago, did he have a plan in place to keep the stores supplied with food on the shelves? I doubt it.

  27. Hank
    Julia Sweig scares me …
    With all the initials behind her name, from all the prestigious schools she attended … from this simpleton’s point of view she impresses me as a great “text book analyst”
    Her background may not allow her to provide more than an educated opinion colored not by life experiences but by book knowledge & sanitized opinions thru brief exposures …
    Nevertheless … she is a great mind, great powers of thinking!

  28. Chavez isn’t looking to become the next carribean “victim” of the US he has been playing that card for quite some time. Regardless of the content of his daily speeches, in the Chavez version of la mesa redonda, he will invariably rale against “el imperio” as the cause of any and all problems. He has been following the castro blueprint for quite some time, it is nothing new.

  29. Hey juan… psssst juaann … che juan !!!
    Name the top three accomplishments of the “cuban revolution”

  30. Albert,

    “fidrau” that is funny!

    Here is a link to a CFR Academic Conference Call: ‘Cuba on the World Stage’ that took place on February 11th. The speaker is Julia Sweig who has a great deal of knowledge, I just don’t agree with many of the things she says. Julia makes some amazing statements, most notably about the contractor being held in Cuba. If you have the time, I recommend giving it a listen. I also think she has the whole Cuba-Venezuela thing wrong.

    But here it is, for your listening enjoyment on President’s Day:

  31. hank:
    here is something to ponder as well:
    While the US, UK & other countries are accused of interventionism by fidrau (fidel + raul) … the presence of cuban security “advisors” in Venezuela is … what?

  32. Andy,

    Interesting perspective on the Cuba-Venezuela question. I had not thought about it in those terms before. If Chavez is piggybacking onto Fidel’s war with the US, then, taking this scenario to its logical extreme would mean that Chavez is also looking to become the next Caribbean victim of the US once Fidel is no longer in the picture. How convenient for him. I wonder how far he is willing to push it. I read stories about his providing material support to the FARC in Colombia and the extraordinary amount of money he spends on weapons.

  33. about the Nurember trials …
    I am ready to agree to try this criminal monsters using the same rule of law (I that is what it is) they created, to the fullest extent.
    This regime has had a 50 year oportunity to create something different as they preached.
    During the 50 years they managed to become rich (even by capitalist standards) on the backs of the people & at the expense of the country.
    They have murdered in the name of communism, they have incarcerated with impunity, repress with terror & lied about their “love & care” for the people of Cuba.
    Retribution against this criminals is almost certain … the question is how ?
    The silence of the people does not mean agreement to the regime, is just the show of fear from this monsters.
    Keep in mind, this is not for long … the walls ARE comming down …

  34. Yubano @#57.
    I am afraid you are right …
    He follows a patern, using different names & who knows what else, I have sincere doubts he is even a cuban.
    I think he is a lonely person needing validation for his behaviour of disruption wothout reason.

  35. Let’s try again juan:
    One question only … what’s the state of your economy /
    Of course based in the world’s economy picture ?

  36. juan:
    So if it is not what you want to discuss to prove how right you are is “irrelevant” eh?

  37. Hank you are right the specifics of the Nuremberg model are not applicable to the Cuban situation. I simply used it loosely as an example of the type of justice that should be brought to bare on the culpable. These trials should serve two purposes. The guilty must be punished and just as importantly to expose the criminal regime for what it is.


    Juan is not interested in discussing anything with you because he has no valid issue or questions to propose concerning Cuba. He merely has a discredited viewpoint that holds no water and therefore can find no footing here.

  38. BTW Bert – if you are referring to a list of question a long way down the page – would be delighted to answer them but all are irrelevant – so perhaps “not applicable” will suffice.
    So much for your cogent logic.

  39. Well Humbugto says Centre for Democracies is “one sided” – read “doesn’t support my monolithic views” whereas the blog El Yuma says it is “wide eyed” in this artcle today:

    “If you like to keep up on the evolving developments in U.S.-Cuban relations and especially in U.S. policy toward Cuba, I recommend that you sign up for the weekly news blast from Cuba Central.

    Every Friday afternoon like clockwork, the left-leaning (but wide-eyed) Center for Democracy in the Americas sends out a comprehensive round-up of the week’s Cuba-related news from its Cuba Central project. More than anything else, Cuba Central is aimed at removing the travel ban on Americans going to Cuba and eventually ditching the entire anachronistic embargo.

    While I agree with their politics (most of the time), I recommend the news blast more for its sharp analysis, digestable size, clock-like effeciency, and plethora of links to important Cuba-related news stories from the previous week that I might have otherwise missed.

    To subscribe, click here and type your e-mail in the sign up space at the bottom leftside of the page.

  40. juan:
    “me thinks thou protests to loud”
    You are nothing an agitator.
    What comes accross from you is not the desire to discuss an issue but to prove yourself right.
    It is you the one who does not answer specific questions; I case you forgot I aske you a few … still waiting fellow …

  41. Yubano,

    Strange that you should mention the Nuremburg trials. I have been thinking exactly the same thing for a while now. When I wrote earlier that I want to go after the prison guards and the members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, I meant it in the context of judicial hearings – i.e. trials. I want to see to it that these people are prosecuted and brought to justice in courts of law. And I repeat to you that I intend to do everything I can to make sure that this happens when the time comes.

    The problem I see with using the Nuremburg trials as a model is this: those proceedings were military tribunals set up for the purpose of trying individuals who held positions in a government of a nation with whom we were at war. Our jurisdiction over the defendants was established by virtue of the fact that we captured them. We are not at war with Cuba. So Nuremburg, in my opinion, is not the way to go, although there is much to be learned from what occurred there.

    I am no expert in the field, but I think that the best way for trials of this sort to happen would be to try the bastards under their own laws, their own constitution and under their own judiciary, right there in Cuba.

    As for the dictator’s supposed branding of Cuban expats as the Miami mafia, I refuse to cede any ground on that point. Who shot down unarmed civilian planes over the Straits of Florida? I don’t agree that he has succeeded in any branding.

  42. Hank

    One of the sad ironies of the past 50 years is how fidel has succeeded in branding the Cubans in Florida as the Miami mafia when he in fact is the thug. He has run Cuba like a cappo would run his own little piece of turf with the accompanying intimidation, protection schemes, coercion, exploitation and murder. It amounts to organized crime, governmentally sanctioned kneecappings, executions and racketeering brought to an institutionalized level. If any of these bastards survive the eventual downfall of the regime a Cuban version of the Nuremberg would be in order.

  43. re Venecuba — I read that article and came away with a slightly different impression (which I won’t swear by… I didn’t study the whole thing in depth… this is just an impression). And it’s this:

    In fact FIDEL has always NEEDED SOMEONE ELSE. He had the USSR… now he has Venezuela. Without these sugar-daddies to prop him up… the country goes to hell in a handbasket quickly and there’s nothing he can do about it, of course, having destroyed the economy and everything else. (Even the marubu covered land. It’s truly pathetic.)

    Fidel was well taught by the Russians how to be a totalitarian dictator… lessons he is happily passing on to Chavez. But the real question is, other than these lessons, what does Chavez get out of it. Is Cuba taking over Venezuela or vice versa? I would say vice versa. (To me, the title of the article got it right… they didn’t call it “Cubazuela”.)

    Chavez doesn’t need Cuba…. but by this convenient piggybacking on Fidel’s war with the great evil empire to the north — plus all the claptrap about doing it all “for the people” — he gets a ready-made model to slip himself into (along with the experts in repression… the teachers and doctors to deliver direct services to the poor… etc etc), as he establishes himself as the Venezuelan Fidel.

    Really, other than that, Cuba is a sideshow for him.

    Of course his worst nightmare is that Fidel goes to the great communist utopia in the sky, and the country turns itself around in record time, and becomes a new model of a successful democratic capitalist Latin American nation. WOOPS…. THAT would be bad for ol’ Hugo…

    As I said… this is just top-of-the-head first impressions from reading that article. Would love to hear the thoughts of others.

  44. One thing I forgot to mention is this:

    The myth that fidel is smart or somehow intelligent is easily discreditable. The idea that he is smart or even approaching a measureable level of intelliggence is a myth.

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