Photo taken from the internet
By: Eriberto Liranza Romero
President of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy
During these days, young Cubans are more worried than ever. Final exams have begun and this is a grand challenge for them. For some, it will be easy to pass on to the next grade, for they will have the 20 or 30 dollars necessary to bribe corrupt professors of the most difficult subjects. The poor majority will face the difficult challenge of the exam and of the professor who does not await the dedicated student but instead the 30 dollars.
But one can see, at least during these days, an image similar to that dreamed of by Marti. The site is full of beauty: students carry books and notebooks in their hands, you can see them aboard buses, sitting in the park, and they do not conceal their dreams and so they study. This is a good thing. For them, these days just mean a few moments of worry and sleeplessness. For their parents, it means their future. They ask their children to study and to be “independent” in the future.
Reality goes beyond a university degree or a qualified work title. The future of the Cuban youth is as dark as the present of this island. They have witnessed how their parents have studied, were able to graduate, and nevertheless how they have ended up becoming slaves of a regime which chooses where, and in what conditions, they will work for a miserable salary. From their parents they can see that they have inherited the robbery which they justify under the phrase “thief who robs a thief…”
The lost tender youth of those who today have white hairs, those who have studied under Castro’s rule, those who sacrificed themselves and in many cases educated themselves are today abandoned and lacking hope. They are the same ones who now ask their children to please “study in order to travel, to become doctors and save the world, and that it does not matter that Cubans are dying in national hospitals, that they please become engineers or athletes so that they can see the world, for in Cuba there are only opportunities for tourists”. They know very well that the few privileges they could achieve are only given to them according to the selfishness of those in power, not by the fruit of their labor.
The minds of Cubans have been drilled with the false idea that education is “free” in Cuba. This lie has been repeated so many times that many people around the world believe it to be true. In Cuba, education is not free. It is exclusively for the revolutionaries, which translates into paying with obedience and submission. In Cuba, education is paid for with a life of misery, the eternal mortgage of a miserable salary which is not sufficient to pay for the bed one sleeps in and much less the house one lives in.
Education in Cuba is a utopia. It is constant indoctrination from the cradle to the grave. I would not be surprised if, shortly, professors will teach that the tocororo* is actually olive green and that Columbus discovered the island when he came down from the Sierra Maestra Mountains in 1959. The years of study will never be returned with the most important thing in a persona’s life- freedom.
Nearly all will go up the steps which will allow them to go on to the next grade. It works in the regime’s favor that there are no flunks, because it would not be good for the image of the revolution. Either way, in the near future those young Cubans will leave for any other part of the world whether it be through a raft constructed by an engineer, an old big-bellied man claiming a university prostitute, or the inheritance of an Iberian last name, which will provide the opportunity of setting off to another port where they will not have to do voluntary work in order to obtain a cooking pot or say “long live the revolution” in order to be paid their monthly salary.
In the end, they will breath slightly relieved. The important part is the title. With a piece of paper they will cover up the shamelessness of forgetting that their is a better grade that exists- the one achieved by the feeling of belonging to and defending the country, one which impedes the dignified person from justifying abuses and lies and which will allow them to graduate from their citizenship class.
*Tocororo- the National Cuban bird whose colors are blue, red, and white.