We keep a wary eye out for anyone who might approach our children lecherously, but few think to maintain the same vigilance in the face of the child abuse that focuses on minds rather than bodies. The distortion of Cuban education to put ideology above all has reached an alarming point, even for those of us who were once taught by the same methods. Simply looking at a textbook, or reviewing the system for grading students, we can see that doctrine is gaining ground to the detriment of knowledge. In my son’s classroom, six photos of The Olive-Green Leader adorn the walls, while on his report card he is graded on his participation in political and patriotic activities.
I am reminded of my own time as a Little Pioneer, when I would read a communique or shout slogans, and still, today, I cannot overcome the feeling of having been raped. But the feeling is so much stronger when I see that Teo, at thirteen, has already learned which opinions he shouldn’t express at school to avoid problems. And to find that my own mask has now been extended to the face of my son, is more painful by far than the feeling that I myself was once the target of this same kind of rape.