PURCELLVILLE, VA--(Marketwired - February 28, 2017) - Homeschooling families in Cuba are facing human rights violations by their government, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has launched a petition addressed to the Cuban Embassy to uphold the right of Cubans "to establish private schools and to homeschool" as a minimum expectation as Cuba-U.S. relations are normalized.
In an article on their website, HSLDA shared the story of Ramón and Adya Rigal, a Cuban family who decided to homeschool their children last year, and the many trials they have faced since they made that decision. The Rigal family has faced multiple arrests, threats of fines, and removal of their children if they do not send their children to government school, and they are running out of hope.
"We wanted the freedom to give our children the education that we, the parents, have chosen," Ramón explained in a video shared by HSLDA. "As Article 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, every parent has the right to give his children the education that he chooses."
In response to Ramón's pleas for recognition by the authorities, the Municipal Office of Education in Guantánamo wrote to him explaining: "In our system, homeschooling is not considered an educational institution, as this term is basically used in countries with capitalist foundations."
HSLDA's Director of Global Outreach Michael Donnelly wrote to the Senior Minister of Education in Cuba in support of the Rigal family but has not received a response from the Ministry of Education.
Donnelly says this treatment of Cuban citizens is especially troubling in light of the Obama administration's decision to re-open relations with Cuba. "A society that forces its children to learn only in public school is totalitarian," he said. "Cuba has a long history of totalitarian behavior in many areas; education is only one of them. And this needs to change."
HSLDA was instrumental in protecting the Romeike family who fled from Germany and gained deferred legal status in the U.S. in 2015, as well as fighting for the Wunderlich family in Germany and the Johansson family in Sweden, two countries that do not recognize the right of parents to homeschool their children.
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Visit us online at www.HSLDA.org