A Cuban writer wants her young son to honor his dissident father, serving an 18-year sentence. But she doesn’t want him to get in trouble at school, where he’s being taught to be a good little follower of Fidel.
There was time his kindergarten teacher asked children to bring a plastic gun to school.
I went to the classroom to ask and found the teacher distributing plastic weapons and shouting, “Go! Shoot! Boom, boom! We are killing imperialism!” All the children, including my son, were shooting in the air and shouting “Boom, boom!” against this invisible specter the teacher told them was imperialism.
Parents who object may be charged with “acts against the normal development of a minor.”
Since his father was detained in March as part of the crackdown on dissidents that landed 74 other courageous Cubans in jail for an average of 20 years, my son has been restless and confused. It’s no wonder. He cannot explain to the teacher or his schoolmates that his father is a good man who is jailed for defending freedom and democracy. He speaks of his father only with close relatives. When I told him that his father was in jail on orders from our president, he answered: “Ah, Mummy, don’t you speak evil of Fidel: They will take you away too, and I will be crying a lot!”
I used to work with a Cuban-American whose father, a professor, had called a meeting to protest an order to teach Fidel thought in all classes. His father spent four years in prison for the offense. But, at least, the family ended up in the U.S.
Via Education Gadfly, which also features “Twas the Day Before Vouchers.” It’s a fantasy in verse.