Paying the Price

restauranteTo brag about the achievements of our children and to crow about the good grades they got on a test are some of the pleasures that we can’t forgo when the opportunity presents itself. June comes and we bump into a neighbor or a friend and the obligatory question is, “How is your child doing studying for the final exams?” The heat takes a backseat, and summer’s apathy gains some mystery with the questions: Will they pass or fail? Will they be promoted to the next grade, or not? Long nights are spent solving math problems, the tutors can’t keep up with so many students, and outside the schools they post the listings with the standings. The year-end vortex sucks us in… but this year there are several new features.

After testing one educational method after another, now several batches of students trained in these teaching “laboratories” have come to the university. I am referring to those who, from the first day of junior high school, faced those so-called “emerging teachers” at the blackboard; the same teenagers who, for years, received 60% of their classes through a television screen. My son is a good example of this. He benefited from the abandonment of the “high schools in the countryside” program — excellent news — but he suffered from the restructuring of the school program, plagued with misfits, lost hours, and the poor academic preparation of the educators.  He has also been affected by the high desertion rates among the ranks of teachers whose salaries remain on the symbolic, if not the ridiculous, plane. Added to this is the presence — excessive and continuous — of an ideology that pervades even subjects and materials as far from the political spectrum as possible.

These winds are now bringing real storms. The lack of educational quality is bumping up against an increasing rigor in the final exams for high school. The result: entire schools where they are barely able to pass three or four students; complete groups who must cram and take the test second time, and even a third; parents on the edge of nervous collapse on learning that their “intelligent” child doesn’t even know the Pythagorean theorem. To the lack of control comes the firm hand; the delirious educational system starts to see reason. But we’re not talking about numbers here, it concerns young people whose learning has been far below what now appears on the test. People for whom volunteerism and school experimentation have been shown to fail.

38 thoughts on “Paying the Price

  1. “Millions of people have died of malaria, dengue fever, and other mosquito and insect caused diseases since DDT was banned”
    The ‘outrageous’ “boutique cause” aspect of ddt ‘ban’, malaria, and (certain species of) mosquito is a tea tale, debunked long ago. The essential truth is that vector species developed resistance long ago. The USA banned DDT, and didn’t need it. Very few tropical nations banned ddt, but science realized that indiscriminate bulk application of DDT was detrimental (and money down a rathole). Mosquito nets and interior surface insecticides are effective. Read about very targeted ddt, associated material application, and the remaining tradeoffs: at wikipedia, DDT#Effectiveness_of_DDT_against_malaria, Indoor_residual_spraying#Use_of_DDT, DDT#Effects_on_human_health

    “And it does not have real health risks and does not cause bird deaths”
    Both false.

    Wikipedia (for efficient use of time) has less about ddt, vectors and dengue, but the short comparison to malaria is: Dengue’s vector species are more sensitive to control near human habitation than malaria vectors are. (In the ecological sense, Homo sapiens is a key vector of Dengue)

    To what other insect vectors do you refer?

  2. Griffin, I was making a parallel between the Obama education policies, and the Castro ones. That certainly merits a comparison in the sense that they have had similar, devastating effects on the public at large of their respective countries.

  3. Freethinker,

    If you bother to think about Humberto’s posts, he links to all sorts of articles on the topic of education in Cuba, which IS the topic of this thread. This thread is NOT about Obama’s education policies.

  4. You didn’t answer my question, and simply answered with hyperbole. I have no problem with your posts if they are relevant to the topic.

  5. Freethinker81!! IM SOOO SORRY YOUR MIND CAN GET AROUND MY COMMENTS AND POSTS! JE JE JE! BUT KEEP AT YOUR VILIFICATION OF MY WORK HERE, IS THE TYPICAL CASTRO AGENT/APOLOGIST PLOY TO DISMISS INFORMATION!!

  6. Ok, Humberto, if your posts are relevant, please tell me how your last post from the New York Times, which talks about rock climbing, relates to Yoani’s description of how the current education system in Cuba is failing its students.

  7. Freethinker81 said: “Every forum follows the same format, and people who post random links and non-related statements, which are not relevant to the topic at hand, are considered spammers.”

    Freethinker81!! MY POSTS ARE ARE VERY MUCH RELEVANT! SORRY IF YOU DONT THINK SO!! DO YOU KNOW DAMIR??? JE JE JE!!

  8. Freethinker81 said: “First of all, I don’t know how putting my real name makes any difference. No one else is doing that and it certainly doesn’t make you special for using yours.”

    BUT IT DOES MAKE ME SPECIAL Freethinker81!! BUT IT DOES! AND IT SETS ME FREE!!!!!!!!!! CAPISCE?? JE JE JE!

  9. First of all, I don’t know how putting my real name makes any difference. No one else is doing that and it certainly doesn’t make you special for using yours. I still don’t know you from a hole in the wall and my argument is no less valid. I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t have the right to post. I was merely saying that a lot of your posts are off topic and it makes it difficult to follow the actual conversations taking place. Think if you were at a party talking with a group of people who are in a deep conversation, and suddenly one person goes off on a non sequitur. Do you think the response would be favourable? Just because you have free speech on the internet, there is still such a thing as common courtesy. Every forum follows the same format, and people who post random links and non-related statements, which are not relevant to the topic at hand, are considered spammers.

  10. Freethinker81!! I MIGHT TAKE YOUR SUGGESTION UNDER CONSIDERATION IF YOU POST A REAL NAME AND PICTURE THAT CAN BE VERIFIED! CAN YOU DO THAT BABY??? BUT IF YOU CANNOT, I UNDERSTAND! JE JE JE! DONT WHINE AND WRITE SOMETHING, IM NOT SPIDER-MAN TRYING TO STOP YOU! JE JE JE!

  11. Freethinker81!! DONT TREAD ON MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH! IM THE REAL FREE THINKER! JE JE JE! BIG GUSANO HUGS AND KISSES!

  12. Freethinker81, I don’t know what other readers feel, but I appreciate Humberto’s posts and a lot of the articles he posts are interesting.

    This is pretty much the only Cuba site I read, except when Humberto or another reader posts a link to another site.

  13. Humberto, can you please stop spamming the blog? Most of your posts have nothing to do with the actual articles. I would bet many other folks are annoyed by your copying and pasting of other articles on here. I’m not sure what your objective is, but if you’re trying to get readership, why not start your own blog instead of hijacking other people’s?

  14. THE CASTROFASCISTS ARE BACK WITH THE SAME TRICK STHAT THEY USED IN THE 1990’S! SAY YOU ARE ALLOWING ECONOMIC “CHANGES” BUT PUTTING ON THE BREAKS AS THEY FEEL THE MONEY AND CONTROL ESCAPING BETWEEN THEIR FINGERS!

    N.Y. TIMES: Threatening Rock Climbing in a Cuban Paradise – By ALEX LOWTHER

    Jens Franzke, a climber from Dresden, Germany, here with his wife, Ina, for three weeks, was fed up. “It feels like East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he said. “There are all these rules, and none of them make any sense. There are no signs. No detailed maps at all. You ask if you can go somewhere and do something by yourself and they say, ‘No, it’s impossible.’ ”

    In late March, even as Pope Benedict called for “authentic freedom” in Cuba before an estimated 200,000 people in Havana, climbers here, three hours’ drive west of the capital, were wrestling with the prohibition of their sport. In an era when the Cuban government has been easing restrictions — allowing private boardinghouses, private restaurants and now the sale of real estate and automobiles — it seems to have moved in a sharply different direction here, threatening the prosperity of Viñales and the future of the sport in Cuba by enforcing a ban on climbing and regulating independent tourism in general.

    In March, out in the welcome cool of nighttime, under the fluorescent lights of a plaza-side bar and over rum-laced national cola, the conversation among climbers centered on the guards who have been enforcing the prohibition since early in the year. Where had they been that day? Did anybody get busted climbing? What happened? And then, “Why are they there at all?”

    During their trip, Franzke, 46, and his wife had been forced to stop climbing multiple times, threatened with police action by park guards and had been told that the “Cuba Climbing” guidebook they were using to find routes in the valley was illegal to use because the authors no longer lived in Cuba. (They live in Wyoming and Canada.)

    “It’s a real shame because it’s such a paradise,” Franzke said. The couple managed to climb nearly every day they wished by skirting the rules and the guards, but “we will never come back,” he said.

    This is the main worry for residents and climbers. Viñales is the hub of the valley and the heart of Viñales National Park. The bustling town of about 17,000 has more than 300 private boardinghouses that rent rooms to tourists here to hike, explore the cliffs, ride horses, watch birds and climb in the national park. All that has allowed the valley to overcome the poverty typical across the country.

    Armando Menocal, one of the “Cuba Climbing” guidebook authors and an expert on the region, said, “Tourism has created a strong, vibrant economy, and it’s all based on outdoor recreation.” The crackdown, if it continues, “could be devastating to tourism and climbing in Viñales.” he said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/sports/threatening-climbing-in-a-cuban-paradise.html?pagewanted=all

  15. I WONDER HOW MUCH OF CUBA WILL “LA CHINA” GIVE AWAY TO CHINA IN ODER SO THAT THE CASTRO FAMILY WILL CONTINUE TO STAY IN POWER!! IN THIS AGE OF INFORMATION, THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT EVENTUALLY!

    FOX NEWS LATINO : Raul Castro kicks off China visit

    Cuban President Raul Castro arrived in this capital Wednesday for his first official visit to China as head of state, a trip on which he will meet with the present and future leaders of the Asian giant to seek support for the communist island’s economic reform process.

    During these meetings, Castro will get to know the future leadership of the Chinese regime and will sign several cooperation agreements the content of which has not yet been revealed, although China observers expect the pacts to include ones in agriculture, energy and/or tourism.

    On the first part of the Asian tour, China possibly will offer to make investments in Cuba which will come in addition to those it already has made in sectors like transportation or the petroleum industry.

    Castro’s trip to China comes at a time of profound change for Cuba, whose regime in 2001 approved the economic reform plan that includes, among other things, a rather timid opening of the economy to private initiative and the reduction of the island’s bloated government payroll.

    The visit has a marked economic and trade-oriented tone, and it is hoped that both parties will analyze ways to broaden bilateral exchanges, despite the rapid growth in this area in recent years from $590 million in 2004 to $1.8 billion in 2010.

    The two nations will also analyze how to balance their bilateral trade, a situation which always arises between China and other countries where trade is generally excessively favorable to the Asian giant, which exports mainly electronic equipment to the island, while it imports sugar and nickel.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/07/04/raul-castro-kicks-off-china-visit/

  16. ***
    HI HUMBERTO–#21. Interesting history–I never heard of the Ladies of Havana and the help they sent to George Washington. I did learn about lots of help from the French.
    ***
    HOLA HUMBERTO–#21. Historia interesante–nunca oio de Las Mujeres de Havana y las ayudas que mandaban a George Washington. Aprendi de muchas ayudas de Francia.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  17. JUST A LITTLE BIT OF CUBAN/AMERICAN HISTORY ON THIS 4TH OF JULY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FELIZ CUMPLE MAMA AMERICA! THANKS FOR TAKING IN SO MANY OF US, LEGALLY AND ILLEGALLY! NO COUNTRY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD HAS TRIED SUCH A CULTURAL & SOCIAL EXPERIMENT AS WHAT WE CALL THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    CUBAN WOMEN AND U.S. WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

    Cubans, as a people, helped raise much-needed funds for the Revolutionary Army of George Washington. The “Havana’s Ladies,” a group of Cuban mothers, heard General Washington’s plea for desperately needed funds and raised an astonishing amount for that time. They sent to Virginia the equivalent in today’s money of $28 million. This has received little exposure in American history books, but is well documented. The inscription that the “Ladies of Havana” wrote on their contribution was:

    “So the American mothers’ sons are not born as slaves.”

    The pledge of the Havana ‘s Ladies, remained very little known, with the exception of an American historian Stephen Bonsal, who wrote:

    “That sum collected [by the Havana ‘s Ladies] must be considered as the ground whereon was erected the American independence.”

    Gen. Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau wrote in his “Daily Memoirs,” available in the Library of Congress:

    “The joy was enormous when it was received, the money from Havana: The contribution of 800,000 silver pounds which helped stop the financial bankruptcy (of the Revolutionary Army) and raised up the moral spirit of the Army that had began to dissolve.”

    Cuban Women’s Contribution to the cause of American Independence thus made possible the financing of the decisive battle of American Independence, known as the then on 31 October 1781, that General Cornwallis of England, had his sable turned over to General Washington, as a sign of surrender of the English to a band of dreamers know as the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

    coalicionfrenteunidolademajagua.com/?p=372

  18. YOUTUBE: Situación de las Viviendas en Cuba. Así viven los cubanos – The Housing situation in Cuba. This is how many Cuban citizens live!

  19. sandokan

    Julio 3rd, 2012 at 20:49
    Simple, because there is no international approval system where you can approve any country studies.
    Very often there are more donkeys in developed countries than in underdeveloped

    Sencillo, porque no existe un sistema de homologacion internacional donde poder homologar los estudios de cualquier pais.

    Muy a menudo hay mas burros en los paises desarrollados que en los subdesarrollados

  20. If the regime educational system is so good, how is possible to explain the regime totalitarian ruling class efforts to remedy the shortcomings of the compulsory basic education received by their children, by sending them out of the country to pursue graduate and postgraduate studies in universities of the industrialize capitalist countries?

    The regime ruling class provides their children with a select education abroad that denies the much vaunted educational achievements of the Castroit regime.

  21. ***
    Millions of people have died of malaria, dengue fever, and other mosquito and insect caused diseases since DDT was banned. DDT works far better, lasts longer, and is cheaper than other chemicals. And it does not have real health risks and does not cause bird deaths.
    ***
    Milliones de gente han muertos de malaria, fiebre dengue, y otras enfermedades causado por moyotes y insectos despues que prohibieran el uso de DDT. DDT trabaja mucho mejor, dura mas tiempo, y es mas barata que otros quimicos. Y no tiene riesgos verdaderos y no causa la muerte de pajaros.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  22. MIAMI HERALD: Anti-malaria products from Cuba meet some resistance in Africa – Cuba has sold millions of dollars in anti-malaria medications in Africa but some malaria experts on the continent have begun to question the effectiveness of the Cuban products. – By Juan O. Tamayo

    A Cuban company is increasing sales of its mosquito larvicides to fight malaria in Africa, despite cautions by U.N. experts that such products have limited use and are not the most cost-effective method of attacking the disease.

    Salesmen for the state-owned company, Labiofam, are allegedly pushing their products by playing on the warm bilateral relations established when Cuba assisted many newly independent African nations in the 1970s.

    Labiofam’s Web pages say its larvicide Griselesf is used in anti-malaria programs in Ghana, Angola, Gambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia. Malaria kills an estimated 600,000 people in the region each year.

    Ghana alone signed a $74 million, two-year deal for a single larvicide program, a Labiofam representative in the West African nation, Hafez Adam Taher, was quoted as saying in a British newspaper report earlier this year.

    But an April report by the World Health Organization cautioned about the use of larvicides to control malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Biological or chemical larvicides kill the larvae of mosquitoes that transmit malaria, dengue and many other diseases.

    Larvicides should be used “only in areas where the breeding sites are few, fixed and findable” — rare in Africa — and there are more cost-effective ways of fighting malaria, said the report by WHO, which is part of the United Nations.

    The most cost-effective ways of fighting malaria in rural Africa are insecticide-treated bed nets, spot sprays, drugs and diagnostics, the report added. Larvicides might be more effective in urban areas, but “more good-quality evidence is needed to support this view.”

    The report “is not saying (larvicides) are conclusively inefficient, but that we have not seen strong evidence to support its use,” said Dr. Rainier Escalada, a malaria expert at the Pan American Health Organization, which operates as WHO’s branch in Latin America.

    The Pesticide Evaluation Scheme run by WHO has not checked the effectiveness of any larvicide submitted by Cuba, said Dr. Raman Velayudhan, a dengue expert at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Malaria experts in Africa prompted WHO to issue its report because of concerns that Cuba’s growing larvicide sales in the region are diverting funds away from better malaria controls, said one U.N. official in Geneva.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/02/2879071/anti-malaria-products-from-cuba.html

  23. Humberto, the UN video (Thor Halvorssen) demonstrates why the UN is such a waste of space and money.

    A Human Rights NGO is not allowed to call Cuba an authoritarian regime nor question Cuba’s right to sit on the Human Rights Council.

    I’m sure if Hitler were alive, he’d be sitting on the Council siding with Cuba and accusing the US of violating human rights.

  24. HAVANA TIMES: Kissing in Cuba: A Political Action – Isbel Diaz Torres

    On June 28 (Gay Pride Day internationally), we the young LGBT men and women of “Proyecto Arcoiris” (the Project Rainbow) decided to kiss in a public setting and to invite whomever wanted to accompany us to join in that adventure. We wanted to demonstrate the affection that we feel towards each other and to recall the events of Stonewall.

    And so we did, this time only with the least amount of pressure exerted by the authorities. I assume this “permissiveness” was because they see the act of kissing as being legitimate, innocent, and beautiful.

    Notwithstanding, there were two terms that just popped into my mind: “apolitical” and “legal,” but I had to instantly dismiss them both because I don’t feel they accurately describe that gesture of love to which I’m referring.

    When two males or two females kiss each other on the lips here in Cuba, it’s unclear whether it’s legal or not. I remember 15 years ago, when I kissed my partner — a male like me — while on a virtually deserted public beach, a policeman gave us a 60-peso fine.

    The officer accused us of “public exhibitionism,” a term so meaninglessness that it made the situation almost ridiculous. Still, I didn’t lose my composure; I wrote down the badge number of the police officer, asked where I could go to file a complaint, and that was it.

    At the police station, under the disapproving gaze of the officer who attended me, I expressed my right to kiss whomever I wanted, wherever I wanted. She didn’t accept my arguments, but given my youth (I must have been just over 20) she agreed to drop the fine – but not before warning me not to let that happen again.

    So if these laws haven’t changed, any police officer can still accuse me of “shameless exhibitionism” (that’s the legal term) for something so beautiful and essential as a kiss.

    That’s why the “kiss in” in which I participated had a profound political character, demanding a right denied to Cubans whose sexual orientation or gender identity is different from the majority.

    This also served to test the right to free association that the Granma newspaper and the United Nations recently defended, going so far as to highlight Cuba as an example – though I imagine that the readers of that officialist newspaper didn’t even understand the meaning of that unbelievable piece of news.

    For my part, I’ll continue working to bring attention to this sensitive and very real sector of human beings who live and work side by side with others, unashamed of who we are or of the ways we express our love.

    Forty-three years ago at the Stonewall Inn bar — after a violent attack by the New York City police — gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of that country decided to remain silent no more. Nor will we remain silent in Cuba today.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=73441

  25. VIDEO: Cuba Gay Pride March on July 1, 2012 – by Orlando Luis Pardo

    COPY AND PASTE LINK TO BROWSER, TAKES A COUPLE OF STEPS TO GET TO VIDEO!
    twitpic.com/a2sjlw

  26. HUFFINGTON POST: Cuba, Russia, and China Shut Down UN Human Rights Discussion About Venezuela -Thor Halvorssen- Founder, Human Rights Foundation

    GENEVA — Last Thursday, I was on the schedule to deliver testimony at the United Nations Human Rights Council. I was invited to be part of UN Watch’s campaign to stop Hugo Chavez’s bid to elect Venezuela to a seat on the council this November.
    NGOs are allotted several minutes to say their peace and contribute to the debate about rights. I sat down to deliver my speech and no sooner had I mentioned the word “Cuba” in the context of human rights violations than the Cuban delegation began to create a scene, complete with banging their fists on the table and kicking over a chair, to force the council president to interrupt my speech on a point of order.
    At this point the Cuban representatives of the 53-year Castro family dynasty began their kinetic table-banging. They asked that my words be struck from the official UN record. A debate ensued between Cuba, China, and the U.S. as to whether to include my remarks. I was given the floor back by the council’s president so that I could “finish” my statement and I was able to get this line out:

    It was as if a crime had been committed. Cuba, Russia, China, and Pakistan all loudly protested. The council’s president immediately cut me off. Cuba stated it would not permit such language in the council. Russia aligned itself with Cuba and stated that the human rights council had its own agenda. Russia accused me of violating procedure. China went further and demanded that I be prohibited from continuing with my presentation as it was out of the scope of what I was “permitted” to say. In other words, mentioning human rights violators like Cuba or China (the only country with an imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate), at the human rights council, in the time allotted to an NGO focused on human rights, is considered an unseemly deviation from the agenda.

    I went to Geneva to leave testimony, for posterity given the demonstrable inefficacy of this august UN body, but I didn’t expect that the dictatorships represented in the room would behave like a perfectly choreographed set of villains, as one would expect a dictatorship to behave. I was unable to finish but I didn’t have to — they proved my point.

    CLICK THE LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thor-halvorssen/testimony-at-the-united-n_b_1635544.html

  27. PHILADELPHIA : ‘Why should anything about Cuba make sense?’ – by Karen Heller

    Fidel is still here but, at almost 86, not quite here, last seen in public in February, his country no longer ruled, as the Economist put it, under the “unbridled exercise of his massive ego.” What you learn quickly in Cuba is that dictatorships without fear, without the marked presence of a pervasive armed military and insidious secret police, don’t work. Neither do many of the people living under such a strange regime.

    In a country where professionals earn $25 a month, and the government provides most needs, there’s little incentive to work except in the booming tourist trade. Artists, musicians, and restaurateurs operating private paladares, where the best food can be found, can do well. Doctors? Not so much. Our tour guide tells us about her doctor friend who moonlights as a prostitute with foreigners. Better money.

    Everywhere able-bodied Cubans sit in parks, idling along the Malecón at any hour of the day, not laboring. This island nation is the very opposite of booming. What’s shocking about Cuba is how physically proximate it is to the United States while being so distant in every other way. You might as well be in Sudan.

    There’s no traffic, little construction except in the historic districts (often financed by foreign investment), the once-gorgeous buildings along the Atlantic continuing their half-century decay. I’ve never visited a country where so much waterfront property is squandered and historic preservation – except in tourist areas – mattered so little.

    Traveling into the interior, the only creatures we see working the verdant fields are four-legged. “We need more farmers,” I hear more than once. “We have too many people with college degrees, and too few to do technical work.”

    There are “craft markets” all over Cuba, in Havana, Cienfuegos, the stone streets of colonial Trinidad. They’re all selling the same junk imported from elsewhere. Merchants, dismal at commerce, aren’t savvy enough to move the “Made in Turkey” boxes away from their stalls or consider the allure of indigenous products. The country remains a lousy place to do business. One economic think tank ranks it 80th of 82 nations, ahead of only Angola and Iran.

    Poverty here seems nowhere near as crushing as in, say, Brazil and Mexico, where the divide between the Have Alls and Have Nothings shows little sign of budging. Few Cubans seem to have much of anything. Still, the country remains inviting, largely because there’s such an abundance of music and art, pleasure in everything unrelated to work, and Cubans so welcoming of visitors.

    If you live 15 miles outside Havana, you’re out of luck commuting. Public transportation is a joke, a horse-drawn cart more reliable than the bus. We visit the headquarters of the national radio one day – well, we try; no one seems interested in meeting us – and the offices of what remains the island’s most essential form of information resemble a 1950s stage set.

    Cuba made the mistake of becoming overly dependent on the Soviet Union, then watched a third of its economy collapse overnight. Later, it allowed the U.S. dollar to enter its commercial bloodstream. Now, it has two currencies, one for Cubans, another for foreigners and the tourist trade, which invites two distinct classes in a supposedly classless society.

    A security guard speaks openly of the Castro regime. “The United States is the best country in the world,” he observes, adding, “There is one reason that our countries do not have an open relationship, and he lives here in Cuba. It’s all Fidel’s fault.” Gone is the fear, the trademark of any totalitarian regime. The guard says, “I live in a stinking dictatorship.” Except he doesn’t say stinking.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/karen_heller/20120701_Karen_Heller___Why_should_anything_about_Cuba_make_sense__.html

  28. Actually, John Bibb, privatizing public schools is exactly the policy that Obama has been pursuing under his Education secretary Arnie Duncan. Google him and you’ll see that under his tenure many teachers’ unions are being dismantled and schools in inner cities are being privatized and run like corporations. This is not much better than Cuba, if you really think about it. Canada, Western Europe, and many Asian countries are outperforming the US when it comes to education.

  29. On a speech December 22, 1962, Fidel Castro declared Cuba a “territory free of illiteracy.” But the Cuba census of 1970 shows an illiteracy rate of 10.7% for age 15 and over. In 1995 UNESCO Institute for Statistics reported the illiteracy rate of persons aged 15 years and over at 4.1%. Castro in a speech at Ciudad Libertad, January 8, 1989 said: “The present generation does not have to wage a battle against illiteracy, because, for a long time, since 1961, illiteracy has been virtually eradicated.” So much for the eradication of illiteracy; what a bunch of lies.

    UN statistics below reveals that the whole hemisphere has made enormous strides in literacy over the past 40 years without the need “to wage a battle against illiteracy.” Cuba in 1953 had a percentage of illiterates lower than all other Latin American countries except Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica. This statistics don’t have into consideration the quality of Cuban education, which is loaded with heavy doses of ideology. Literacy rates are no excuse to introduce a totalitarian regime.

    Latin America: Literacy Rates (Percent)
    Country——-1950-53———1995—–Pct. Pt increase
    Argentina——–87————96————10
    Cuba————-76————96————19
    Chile———— 81————95————15
    Costa Rica——79————95————16
    Paraguay——–68————92————24
    Colombia——-62————91————30
    Panama———72————91————19
    Ecuador ———56————90————34
    Brazil———––49————83————35
    Source: UN STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 1957, pp. 600-602; UN STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 2000, pp. 76-82.
    Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and
    over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.

  30. DOUBLE CHECKING MY NUMBERS AND SOURCES, THEY MATCH PRETTY CLOSE! SO EVEN AT A SUPPOSED 100% LITERACY, CUBA ONLY INCREASED 32% WHILE OTHERS LIKE PARAGUAY AND COLOMBIAN DID MUCH BETTER AND BRAZIL AT 73%!! SO MUCH FOR THE CUBAN LITERACY MIRACLE!

    COUNTRY NAME – Latest Data Available years 1950-53 (%) – year 2000 (%) – and % Increase
    ARGENTINA: 87% – 97% – 11.5% (increase)
    CUBA: 76% – 96% – 26.3% (increase) or 32% at 100% litteracy
    CHILE: 81% – 96% – 18.5% (increase)
    COSTA RICA: 79% – 96% – 21.5% (increase)
    PARAGUAY: 68% – 93% – 36.8% (increase)
    COLOMBIA: 62% – 92% – 48.4% (increase)
    PANAMA: 72% – 92% – 27.8% (increase)
    ECUADOR: 56% – 92% – 64.3% (increase)
    BRAZIL: 49% – 85% – 73.5% (increase)
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 43% – 84% – 95.3% (increase)
    EL SALVADOR: 42% – 79% – 88.1% (increase)
    GUATEMALA: 30% – 69% – 130% (increase)
    HAITI: 11% – 49% – 345.5% (increase)

    Source: UN Statistical Yearbook 1957, pp. 600-602; UN Statistical Yearbook 2000, pp. 76-82.
    a. Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.
    b. Data for Argentina 1950-53 is current as 1947 data, the latest available, and reflects ages 14 and over.
    c. Data for 2000 are age 15 and over

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2043%20December.htm

  31. UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 30)

    TABLE 5: Number and percentage of illiterates in the population 15 years old and

    COUNTRY: Year – Total number of persons – Cannot read and write – Per cent illiterate

    COSTA RICA: 1950 – 457,786 – 94,492 – 20.6%
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : 1950 – 1,185, 424 – 677,293 – 57.1%
    PANAMA: 1950 – 442 249 – 132,978 – 30.1%
    PUERTO RICO: 1950 – 1,255,328 – 335,799 – 26.7%
    ARGENTINA: 1947 – I I,318,896 – 1,541,678 – 13.6%
    (could not find Cuba on this table but one below)

    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 41)

    CUBA: 1950 – 3,400,000 – 680 to 850,000 – 20-25%

    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0000/000029/002930eo.pdf

  32. Education in Cuba before 1959

    The first United States intervention worked to replace the war-ravished educational system with one based on American models (a pattern followed until the Revolution of 1959)

    By 1925 8,854 teachers in 4,202 schools were teaching 426,413 children, the highest proportion of children in school in Latin America, and Cuban educators were serving as advisers in several other countries of the region. There were, however, few schools in the countryside, where half the population lived.

    President Fulgencio Batista in the forties made a serious effort to improve primary and secondary education, introducing the so called civic military schools in rural areas with army sergeants as teachers. There were also “Civic-Military Institutes” at secondary level.

    In 1958 Cuba had 25,000 teachers in public schools and 3,500 in private schools educating 834,881 in the former and 450,000 in the latter. There were 212 Church schools with 61,960 pupils, and three Catholic universities.

  33. ***
    HI FREE_THINKER_81–#3. I don’t think that Comrade Obama’s Regime has any interest in privitizing schools. The did cancel the school voucher program. And President Obama and the Washington, D.C. politicians send their kids to costly private schools–not to public schools.
    ***
    The correct action is to test students and fire the incompetent teachers and replace them with competent teachers. And for all parents to take an active part in their children’s education. Checking homework and meeting with the teachers when problems occur.
    ***
    HOLA FREE_THINKER_81–#3. No creo que el Regime de Comrade Obama tiene interes en cambiando las escuelas publicas a escuelas privadas. Cancellaban la progama de becas escolear. Y Presidente Obama y los politicos en Washington, D.C. mandan sus ninos a costosas escuelas privadas–no a las escuelas publicas.
    ***
    La accion correcta es a probar estudiantes y desocupar los maestros incompetentes y replacarlos con maestros competentes. Y por todos los parientes tomar acciones activas en la educacion de sus hijos. Revisando tarea casera y juntando con los maestros cuando occuran problemas.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  34. FROM ONE OF THE BEST REPORTERS COVERING CUBA! PORTIA HAS DONE A GREAT JOB WITH THE ALAN GROSS CASE ESPECIALLY!

    WORLD WATCH: Cuba both fuels, fights new private restaurants – By Portia Siegelbaum

    Americans coming on group tours to the island naturally want to try some of the new private restaurants. To their surprise, tour bus drivers refuse to take them to any paladar, and the Havanatur agency guide accompanying them everywhere else is not allowed to eat with them at private places.

    Alejandro Robaina, owner of the paladar La Casa, said this policy is really hurting his business.

    Open since the 1990s, La Casa is popular with American travelers and has long been visited by groups of Jewish delegations visiting Cuba. A majority of these Americans are senior citizens, and many of them find it difficult to walk the five or so blocks from where the Transtur bus company will sometimes decide to drop them off. Often the bus driver will not even do that.

    A Havanatur guide who asked not to be identified said the Ministry of Tourism has not put anything in writing but all guides have been told private restaurants are off limits.

    The guides normally share meals with their clients at state-owned places. The guide said the tour bus drivers have told him they were shown a memorandum from their employers ordering them not to take visitors to paladares.

    So, on one hand, the government is issuing licenses to open private enterprises so owners hire staff, some of whom have lost their state jobs. On the other hand, elements in the state bureaucracy are interfering with the progress of this non-state sector.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIER ARTICLE!!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57464102-503543/cuba-both-fuels-fights-new-private-restaurants/

  35. WATCH AND HEAR THE CUBAN REPRESENTATIVE ON THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL! TRYING TO CENSOR & CHANGE THE SUBJECT!

    YOUTUBE: Thor Halvorssen – UN Human Rights Council June 28, 2012 – On July 28, 2012, Human Rights Foundation (HRF) joined the campaign organized by the Geneva-based human rights group, U.N. Watch, to stop Venezuela from obtaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. In this video, HRF president Thor Halvorssen addresses the UNHRC and the opponents of human rights revealed their intolerance and their fear of being exposed.

    Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza (born 1976[1][2])—commonly known as Thor Halvorssen[a]—is a Venezuelan human rights advocate and film producer with contributions in the field of public policy, public interest advocacy, individual rights and civil liberties, and pro-democracy advocacy. The New York Times described Halvorssen in an August 2007 profile as a maverick “who champions the underdog and the powerless.”[1] He is a columnist for the left-leaning Huffington Post and also writes for Forbes magazine.[3]

    Halvorssen is founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual gathering described by The Economist as a “spectacular human-rights festival… on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum”.[4] Halvorssen is president of the Human Rights Foundation, an organization devoted to protecting liberty in the Americas. He is the Patron of the Czech-based Children’s Peace Movement, On Own Feet,[5] and founder of the Moving Picture Institute.[6] Halvorssen bought the traditionally leftist Norwegian news magazine Ny Tid in May 2010.[7]

    Halvorssen’s opinions have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Time magazine, The Nation and National Journal, and he has appeared on television outlets such as al-Jazeera, Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, CNN, and HBO.

  36. Interesting how both extremes of the political spectrum can have similar effects on a society’s function. The Castro regime’s experiment is failing children and leaving them behind. To echo southern girl, the Obama administration’s interest in privatizing the public school system in large cities around the US achieves a similar result – in the sense that teachers are incentivized to pass children at whatever means necessary, or else they are out of a job.

  37. There is so much you open my eyes to about Cuba. Your voice and writing are so powerful. I enjoy each post. Thanks for continuing to write.

  38. Gee Whiz, and Obama wants the USA to be like this too. Wonder why? So he can be importante like Castro ?

Comments are closed.