A protest is planned at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., at noon on May 17 against the rogue communist regime’s punishment of a family for homeschooling.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is partnering with groups such as CitizenGo, the Hispanic Leadership Fund and Concerned Women for America to protest the Cuban government’s treatment of Ramon Rigal and his wife, Adya.
They were promptly arrested after they began homeschooling their children earlier this year. After a trial at which Ramon Rigal was not allowed to speak, he was sentenced to a year in jail and his wife was given home arrest.
“With these people, dialogue is nonexistent,” the father said in an email to HSLDA. “They are not even interested in whether or not they are violating laws. They want to impose what they wish. … They show one face to the world, while in truth, the harsh reality is something different.”
The Rigals decided to homeschool because their children were being bullied at Cuba’s public schools, and they also were being taught ideas that contradicted the family’s values.
Their case is on appeal.
“Americans care about what happens to people in Cuba,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of global outreach. “If Cuba is going to have normal relations with the United States, then the Cuban government should know that homeschooling is an option that must be allowed.”
Speaking at the rally will be Donnelly; HSLDA Director of Federal Relations Will Estrada; Gregory Mertz, the U.S. campaigns director for CitizenGo; Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund; and Mario Diaz, legal counsel for Concerned Women for America.
It was President Obama who reopened relations with the communist regime running Cuba when he was in the White House. Among the concessions he granted the regime was to no longer grant asylum to Cubans who reach U.S. shores seeking freedom.
“Homeschooling is a fundamental right protected by our Constitution and all major human rights treaties,” said Donnelly. “Cuba is a party to these treaties and must answer for violating the rights of the Rigal family.”
The few places in the world that still crack down on homeschooling include Germany, which has never abandoned a law dating back to its Nazi era.
HSLDA and CitizenGo also have created an online petition to call on the Cuban government to correct the human-rights abuse.
“Please sign this petition telling the Cuban Embassy that homeschooling is fundamental right of all families, and that you expect Cuba to protect basic human rights as a country maintaining normal relations with the United States,” said HSLDA.
At trial, the evidence the parents had brought, including that Cuba’s constitution and international agreements to which it is a party allow homeschooling, was ignored by the judge, the report said.
“When I tried to tell the judge about my evidence or to say that the government was acting unfairly, the judge told me that if I continued to speak she would have me removed from the courtroom,” Ramon told Donnelly.
He said that when he would try to bring up one of his witnesses, the judge would tell them to “get out of here.”
Donnelly said the judge instead used “what appeared to be scripted presentations from state employees,” such as a school “psychologist” and a probation officer.
They testified that “only trained teachers are qualified to inculcate socialist values.”
Further, the prosecutor said homeschooling “is not allowed in Cuba because it has a capitalist foundation.”
The result, Donnelly concluded, “was just about what one expects from the communist courts of Cuba – anything but justice.”
The family already has requested asylum in the United States.
“Home School Legal Defense Association will continue to support the Rigals, and we encourage the global homeschooling community to affirm the parents’ right to teach their children at home,” Donnelly confirmed earlier.
WND reported as the couple headed to trial that while Obama re-established diplomatic relations with the communist regime, the hoped-for improvement in human rights hasn’t materialized.
Article 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifies that parents have the right to choose how to educate their children, but Cuba’s national law still states “education is a function of the state” and outlines what everyone must learn at a “minimum.”
The U.N. has said a parent’s right to choose the schooling for their child is a “prior” right that is higher than others.
It was the Municipal Office of Education in Guantanamo that explained “in our system, homeschooling is not considered an educational institution, as this term is basically used in countries with capitalist foundations.”