This past week, on September 20th, the representative of UNICEF for Cuba, Jose Juan Ortiz, praised “the efforts of Cuba in terms of protecting childhood and adolescence” during a press conference in Havana. It is not the first time that Ortiz and UNICEF celebrate the Cuban system, as seen in articles such as this and this. As was published in Granma, Jose Juan Ortiz assures that “Cuba has demonstrated that responding to the needs of children does not require economic resources but political will” referring to the supposed blockade imposed on Cuba.
It seems that Mr. Ortiz simply believes that just because education is free in Cuba, it must automatically mean it is a quality education. At no moment does he mention the real ideological price which Cuban students are obligated to pay.
Upon hearing these declarations, former political prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, who has lived his entire life in Cuba, responded to the UNICEF representative for Cuba through a series of Twitter messages:
jdanielferrer José Daniel Ferrer (translation)
It seems that the UNICEF representative for Cuba, Jose Juan Ortiz, believes that all Cuban children live like the children of the rulers.
José Juan should step out of the ‘frozen zones’ and visit the countless marginal neighborhoods, and then talk about the children of Cuba.
Does Jose Juan believe the statistics of the Castro dictatorship? Infinite ignorance or excessive complicity?
True, all Cuban children have schools, but Jose Juan doesn’t know the harm to human dignity caused by communist indoctrination.
What does Jose Juan know about the many traumatized children because of the harassment against their parents, or them, just because their parents defend human rights?
Why didn’t Jose Juan speak in the Mesa Redonda (Cuban talk show) about the rights mentioned in the Convention of the Rights of Children which is being violated for all Cuban children?
Does Jose Juan not know that in Cuba, children of those who dissent from the Castro regime are discriminated against and attacked?
Does Jose Juan not know that Hamilton Cabrera Garces, 2 years old, has had his parents thrown in prison just because they peacefully demanded freedom and democracy?
Does Jose Juan not know that in Cuba there have been, and are, plenty of kids like Hamilton Cabrera?
Does Jose Juan not know of the countless young Cuban girls who have to prostitute themselves in order to eat and buy clothes?
It’s true that Cuba has many doctors and teachers, but does Jose Juan know the reality of health and education in Cuba?
Does Jose Juan know of the serious obstacles a sick person goes through in Cuba if they do not ‘know someone’, have power, or money?
Unfortunately, and too often, the international community seems to pay more attention to what people in power or officials who run organizations such as UNICEF say, as opposed to listening to those who live and struggle from inside the country every single day.