Of Freebies and Schools

Estudiantes-primaria_CYMIMA20140912_0002_16

Elementary school students (14ymedio)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 12 September 2014 – The school bell rings and the children enter the classroom followed by their parents. The first day of classes triggers joy, although a few tears are shed by some who miss their homes. That’s what happened to Carla, who just started kindergarten at a school in Cerro. The little girl is lucky because she got a teacher who has taught elementary school for several years and has mastered the content. “What luck!” some of the little one’s family members think, just before another mother warns them, “But beware of the teacher, she demands every student bring her a bit of a snack from home.”

On the afternoon of September 1, the first parent meeting took place. After the introductions and welcoming remarks, the teacher enumerated everything that the classroom was lacking. “We have to raise money for a fan,” she said, unsmiling. Carla had already suffered from the morning heat, so her mother gave the 3 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) that was her daughter’s share, so she would have a little breeze while studying. ”We also need to buy a broom and mop for cleaning, three fluorescent tubes for the lights, and a trash can,” said the teaching assistant.

A list of requests and needs added some disinfectant for the bathroom, “Because we don’t want the flu,” said the teacher herself. The total expenditures began to grow, and a lock was added, “So that no one steals things when there’s no one in the school.” A father offered some green paint to paint the blackboard, and another offered to fix the hinges on the door, which was lopsided. “I recommend that you buy the children’s notebooks on the street because the ones we received to hand out this year are as thin as onion skin and tear just by using an eraser,” the teacher added.

After the meeting Carla’s family calculated some 250 Cuban pesos in expenses to support the little girl’s education, half the monthly salary of her father, who is a chemical engineer. Then the school principal came to the meeting and rounded it off with, “If anyone knows a carpenter and wants to hire him to fix their child’s desk, feel free.”

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118 thoughts on “Of Freebies and Schools

  1. Pingback: Inga äpplen till lärarna men kanske halshuggning. | iniskogen

  2. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT THE MUSIC OF CELIA CRUZ IS STILL CENSORED IN HER NATIVE CUBA? WHAT IS THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA AFRAID OF? SHE IS FREAKING DEAD FOR OVER 11 YEARS NOW! THAT GROUP BUENA FE SHOULD HAVE GOOD FAITH AND DEMAND THAT THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY LET THOSE CENSORED ARTISTS BE HEARD ON THE CASTRO CONTROLLED MEDIA! DONT YOU THINK SO Omar Fundora AND DEAR Mario??

    CUBAN EXILE QUARTER: Celia Cruz still banned in Cuba but International media remains silent – Thursday, August 23, 2012
    On August 8, 2012 BBC News reported that Cuba’s ban on anti-Castro musicians had been quietly lifted and on August 10 the BBC correspondent in Cuba, Sarah Rainsford, tweeted that she had been given names of forbidden artists by the central committee and the internet was a buzz that the ban on anti-Castro musicians had been quietly lifted. Others soon followed reporting on the news. The stories specifically mentioned Celia Cruz as one of the artists whose music would return to Cuban radio.

    Their is only one problem. It is not true. Diario de Cuba reported on August 21, 2012 that Tony Pinelli, a well known musician and radio producer, distributed an e-mail in which Rolando Álvarez, the national director of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión (ICRT) confirmed that the music of the late Celia Cruz would continue to be banned. The e-mail clearly stated: “All those who had allied with the enemy, who acted against our families, like Celia Cruz, who went to sing at the Guantanamo Base, the ICRT arrogated to itself the right, quite properly, not to disseminate them on Cuban radio ”
    http://cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com/2012/08/celia-cruz-still-banned-in-cuba-but.html

  3. Humberto: Nice Survey, however, Cuban Americans are a very, very, very small group of American citizens and do not reflect what the majority of American citizens want which is normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba without regime change.

  4. WHAT IS INTERESTING ABOUT THIS SURVEY IS #1 THEY USE OF THE WORD “CUBA” TO REFER TO THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” #2 THAT THE MAJORITY OF CUBAN AMERICANS STILL WANT THE CASTRO BROTHERS IN THE LIST OF STATE THAT SPONSOR TERRORISM! #3 THERE IS AN ERROR IN THE TEXT, GIVEN THAT THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” CAN BUY FOOD, MEDICINE AND OTHER U.S. PRODUCTS BUT IT HAS TO BE IN CASH #4 THEY NEVER USE THE WORD “UNILATERALLY” TO CLARIFY HOW THE “CUBAN EMBARGO” WOULD BE LIFTED! MANY LIKE ME FEEL THAT THE EMBARGO SHOULD BE LIFTED BUT NOT UNTIL THE CASTRO CLAN GIVES SOMETHING BACK FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE, LIKE FREE UNCENSORED INTERNET FOR ALL THOSE LIVING IN THE ISLAND PRISON! THIS IS HOW “DIPLOMACY” WORKS! SOMETHING THE CASTROS DONT WANT TO DO!

    FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY CUBA POLL:

    Figure 1: Overall, do you think the U.S. embargo of Cuba has worked very well, well, not very well, or not at all?

    Figure 2: Do you favor or oppose continuing the U.S. embargo of Cuba?

    Figure 3: #1 Allow companies to sell medicine to Cuba, do you strongly favor, mostly favor, mostly oppose, or strongly oppose this? #2 Allowing U.S. companies to sell food to Cuba, do you strongly favor, mostly favor, mostly oppose, or strongly oppose this? #3 Some U.S. companies have managed to establish limited business relations with Cuba to sell grain, other agricultural products, and medicine. Should this kind of trade be expanded, kept the same, or stopped?

    Figure 4: Do you favor or oppose the U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba?

    Figure 5: Should unrestricted travel by all Americans to Cuba be allowed or not?

    Figure9: The U.S. Department of State [or U.S. government] includes Cuba on a list of four countries which the U.S. government considers to be State Sponsors of Terrorism. This designation penalizes persons and organizations engaging in certain activities with Cuba and the other countries on the list. The other countries on the list are Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Do you believe that Cuba should be kept on that list of penalized countries that support terrorism, or be taken off the list?
    https://cri.fiu.edu/research/cuba-poll/

  5. Those who can’t afford education must opt for ignorance:

    Humberto has just posted a good example of an ignorant statement about Cuba, by Gaby Fleischman, CBS MIAMI. Read this, but swallow that sandwich first because you are going to laugh loud:

    “The protesters believe the musical group is cozy with the Fidel Castro government, which is a taboo for Cuban exiles living in Miami.”

    Dear Gaby, Fidel Castro hast stepped down in 2008. That’s one, two, three, four, five, six years ago.

    In six years you can obtain a degree in journalism in Cuba. Want to try?

  6. Well…the outliers in Miami are getting all the attention in Florida and the silent majority who wants normalization of relations with the island are not speaking out. The silent majority in Miami should take a page from Cuba and conduct their own brand of repudiation acts against the outliers who are in the bubble of the past and in denial that the World has change and they have been left behind.

  7. DEAR Omar Fundora!! SORRY, CANT HAVE PETS I MY BUILDING DEAR! BUT THANKS FOR THE THOUGHT! IS THIS A NEW APPROACH ON YOUR PART Omar OR ARE YOU A NEW AGENT DEAR! DONT BE SHY NOW! WE ARE ALL FRIENDS HERE!

  8. PROTEST IN MIAMI FOR THE CONCERT OF THOSE WITH BAD FAITH, GROUP “BUENA FE”! PUN INTENDED! PROTEST IS A RIGHT, NOT A CRIME! NEITHER IS IT A CRIME FOR BUENA FE TO PERFORM IN A DEMOCRACY! UNLIKE IN CUBA WHERE ARTISTS LIKE Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdes, Olga Guillot ARE CENSORED BY THE STATE CONTROLLED MEDIA!

    CBS MIAMI (Video): Protesters Pack The Streets Outside Of Buena Fe Concert – by Gaby Fleischman

    The Miami-Dade County Auditorium is packed Thursday night, but not for the typical reason.

    The Cuban band Buena Fe is performing at 8:30 p.m. Even though the event is sold out, more people showed up. Those extra bodies were there not to support the group, but to protest the concert.

    Protesters started lining up outside of the auditorium well before the start time to show disdain for the band.

    The protesters believe the musical group is cozy with the Fidel Castro government, which is a taboo for Cuban exiles living in Miami.

    Julio de Castro, a member of the American Missile Crisis Veteran Association, showed up to protest the band’s appearance.

    “They are not welcomed in Miami. Miami is that capital of the exile community and we don’t want them here,” de Castro said. “We feel offended by this group of performers that they don’t respect the right and the feelings of the exile community.”

    The band not only performed at Hugo Chavez’s funeral, but participated in Fidel Castro’s birthday party earlier this year. This “evidence” of communist sympathy has riled up protesters.

    Maura Barrbi, another protester, said, “We don’t agree that they’re here, they’re communists. You (Buena Fe) come here to get your money, but you go back to Cuba because you agree with them, you work for them.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/09/18/protesters-expected-at-buena-fe-concert/

  9. Humberto: TENGO UN GATO PARA EXPORTACION A CUBA….DONDE QUIERES QUE TE LO MANDE….ELLA ESTA GORDITA …20 LIBRAS ….Y SALUDABLE….CUANTO TU CREES QUE ME PUEDES CONSEGUIR EN EL MERCADO NEGRO EN CUBA…SI CONOCES HA UNA MULA QUE VA A CUBA ME AVISA POR FAVOR…..

    I HAVE A CAT FOR EXPORT TO CUBA…WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO SEND IT TO YOU…SHE IS OBESE ….20 LBS…AND VERY HEALTHY…HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK I CAN GET FOR HER IN THE BLACK MARKET IN CUBA…IF YOU KNOW ANY MULE GOING TO CUBA LET ME KNOW….PLEASE….

  10. Humberto: Moral of the U Tube video….WARNING!! DON’T BRING YOUR PETS TO CUBA!!!
    (a message from the anti-cruelty society)

  11. TRANSLATING CUBA: Cuban Talent Bound for the Cannes International Film Festival – by Angel Santiesteban

    “The death of the cat is one of the most demolishing and most Cuban shorts in the history of Cuban cinematography. I can’t believe that it can say so much about the national drama of the island in such little space, since beyond the anecdote itself (which I’m not going to give away since the film hasn’t even been released), the psychological representation of each one of the characters is simply the essence of that human animal into which we Cubans were converted in the middle of that crisis, which now is becoming eternal. If you add to that the fact that the trauma occurs in 1989, just hours after the execution of General Ochoa, the keys to unraveling the story increase exponentially.

    “The death of the cat is the first story of the book A Cuban tale, by Lilo Vilaplana, a book that Lilo himself knows to be imperfect: “I see it more as small screenplays, like stories for screenplays,” he told me upon giving me a copy. And although he’s right, it’s necessary to say that for any writer who is already a success (and Lilo should feel satisfied on this account) in this book of nine stories there exist three pieces that are first-rate on a literary level, like “The empty house,” “Gumara,” and “Cuban soap opera,” stories of effective forcefulness, well-narrated dramatically and with messages of a profound Cubanness.

    “The atmosphere of marginal asphyxia created by Lilo in the short, The death of the cat, is reinforced by the excellent performances of four respected Cuban actors: Albertico Pujol, Jorge Perugorria, Barbaro Marin and Caralita Veloz. The tragi-comedy that hides under the skin of the characters they embody will make you believe the powerful message of that which, only in appearance, is one more of the human and heartbreaking stories that can happen in a tenement in Cuba.
    http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-talent-bound-for-the-cannes-international-film-festival-angel-santiesteban/

  12. Registration of Cuban students in the primary education system for the academic year 1955-1956 was 1,032 students per 10,000 inhabitants. This was higher than the corresponding statistics for the years 1988-1989 and 1989-1990, when registration per 10,000 inhabitants reached only 866.5 and 841.6, respectively.

    During the 1955-1956 academic year, higher education reached an enrollment of 38 students per 10,000 inhabitants. For 1965-1966 enrollment was only 34 per 10,000 and for 1970-1971, and only after 15 years it surpassed the enrollment of 1955-1956, when it reached 41 per 10,000.

    Reality: “According to the 1953 Cuba census, out of 4,376,529 inhabitants 10 years of age or older 23.6% were illiterate, a percentage lower than all other Latin American countries except Argentina (13.6%), Chile (19.6%), and Costa Rica (20.6%). Factoring only the population 15 years of age or older, the rate is lowered to 22.1%” (7).

    Population million—Above 10 years—-illiteracy rate—-Above 15 years–Factored illiteracy rate

    1953——5.83———–4.38——————–23.6————3.72——————22.1
    1958——6.63———–4.92——————–18.0————4.16——————16.4
    1961——6.9————-5.15——————–18.0*———-4.36——————-16.4
    1970——8.6————-6.32————————————-5.37——————-10.7 (8)

    It took only 7 years to reduce the illiteracy rate 5.7% during the Republic, but it took 12 years to reduce it 5.7% under the Castroit regime. Where is the beef?

    (7) Alvarez Díaz, José R. “A Study on Cuba .” Cuban Economic Research Project. Coral Gables : University of Miami Press, 1965. pg 426-427.

    (8) UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Estimated illiteracy and illiterate population aged 15 years and older, July 2002. JUCEPLAN, Censo de Población y Viviendas 1970.

  13. And there you have it from the horse’s mouth, people: Mario thinks human rights are crap. So do the dictators running things in Cuba.

  14. Did you think cuban worms (gusanos) live only in Miami?

    Not really.

    A Cuban-born Venezuelan, Maria Conchita Alonso, has called for the US military intervention in Venezuela. She did this on american government propaganda station, VOA. The was too much for the bolivaran government, so the will strip her off the venezuelen citizenship. She has US passport, too, so she will be asked to leave or deported.

    On the other hand, to revoke a citizenship is a treatment far to mild. Playing with nations sovereignity smells as 10 years behind bars to me.

    Presidente Maduro, don’t even think Obama will praise you for being mild. No matter what you do, the US wants the multinationals back. Count on your own people, not on the human rights crap.

  15. ***
    HI OMAR–For the first time–you’re right! Sending doctors / nurses to Venezuela is good for Cuba’s “economy”. Castro steals 80% of their salary! And when they defect–they don’t need any rafts! No sharks on the border with Colombia either! And when they get far better jobs and freedom in the USA–part of the remittances they send back to their families in Cuba–will be stolen by the Castro Brothers! Fidel and Raul are smart–like foxes!
    ***
    HOLA OMAR–Por la primera vez–tienes razon! Mandando medicos / enfermeros a Venezuela es bueno por la “economia” Cubano. Castro roba 80% de sus salarios! Y cuando defectan–no necesitan ningunos balsos! Ni hay tiburones en la frontera con Colombia! Y cuando reciben trabajos muchos mejores y libertad en los Estados Unidos–un parte de las remesas que mandan a sus familias Cubanos–seran robados por los Hermanos Castros! Fidel y Raul son muy listos–como zorros!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  16. Education policy / R&D 7 OUT OF 10
    CUBA SPENDS ALMOST 13% OF GDP ON EDUCATION; SENDING TEACHERS, DOCTORS AND OTHER WORKERS ABROAD HELPS GET A SIGNIFICANT RETURN TO THE COUNTRY.

    The BTI 2014 Cuba Country Report gives high marks on Cuba’s education policy even though the quality of education has deteriorated. Cuba needs to invest in technology for their schools and offer more self-employed services that help prepare secondary schools students for the entry exam to the University. Increase the volume of exported services offered to improve returns.

    Cuba has long spent a large fraction of its resources on education. However, it has also been a worldwide example of low economic return for this vast investment. The export of health care and other services to Venezuela over the course of the past decade represents the country’s first significant economic return on this investment. Cuba has a large network of institutions of primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as many research institutions. However, recent years have seen a notable overall decay in quality in almost all sectors of education, particularly within primary and secondary schools, indicating a certain erosion of Cuba’s education system.
    The quality of the country’s science and scientists in some fields (e.g., tropical medicine) is world class, though many also fall below world standards. Cuba has invested huge (but undisclosed) sums in the development of biotechnology, and has developed very good applied science in the field; the transformation of such research into commercially useful products has been more halting, though this has improved in recent years. There is no private educational system, though private tutoring has been permitted since 2010.
    The marked increase in the failure rate in admissions tests for the University of Havana suggests a deterioration in the quality of secondary education in recent years. The rise in the number of private tutors, which have been lawful since 2010, may be a response to such a decline in quality, or to the increased income of wealthier Cubans, or to the very limited purchasing power of teacher salaries. The quality of most municipal universities and of all but a few provincial universities has been and remains poor.

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