It seems the more things change in Cuba, the more they stay the same.
University of Santiago de Cuba expels student over conflicting views
“The student intentionally and publicly spoke out against revolutionary principles.” This is how the University of Santiago de Cuba justified the expulsion of Reinaldo Santos Ferrer Augustine.
The Government of Cuba prevents a person who doesn’t sympathize with its communist ideology from studying at a university. One of the most recent cases is that of Reinaldo Agustin Ferrer Santos, a young man who was expelled last year from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Cuba, for “belonging to the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), and for activism related to human rights and the freedom of our people,” he told Martinoticias.com.
Ferrer Santos recalled the day of his expulsion. “I was expelled from my first year of medical school. During a philosophy class, my professor wanted me to give my opinion. I told her I did not want to, because my criterion was never taken into account or respected in class because of my dissenting viewpoint. The professor told me that yes, I should participate. So I did. I told her that human rights are not respected in Cuba.”The professor ordered him to leave the classroom. He refused. Then the woman called in other male professors to remove him by force, “and they began to struggle with me,” says Ferrer Santos. “I told her I did not have to leave the classroom because I had as much right as the rest of my colleagues who were there to participate in class, and that if she asked me to give my opinion, what she should do is listen and respect my views.” Finally, after another struggle, Ferrer Santos told us that he decided to voluntarily leave the classroom.
University authorities verbally told him of his expulsion. But it wasn’t until Tuesday January 28, 2014 that university authorities gave the Provincial Secretariat a document signed by Alberto García Vidal, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Santiago de Cuba, noting the reason for his expulsion: “The student intentionally and publicly spoke out against revolutionary principles, a conduct that is inconsistent with the ethical and moral principles of our society.”
José Daniel Ferrer García, executive secretary of the UNPACU told Martinoticias.com that, “this is being repeated. It is not the first case. We have the case of Henry Constantin; in recent months there was San Miguel Morejon, who was expelled from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, here in Santiago de Cuba, and this case of Reinaldo Santos Ferrer.”
He added that “this happens because the regime has always used education and work as a control mechanism to get a person to easily submit. If you are not with the regime, you don’t work. If you’re not with the regime, you don’t get to pursue a university degree.”