Free Education

I came across this article lamenting the high cost of higher education in this country. The story starts out well enough, pointing out the difficulties students face with student loans after graduation. Then, the author tells us how much better the system of higher education in Cuba is because it is free.
In the economic sense, higher education in Cuba is free. But in reality, every Cuban student who accepts higher education in communist Cuba pays a price much higher than any American youth will pay: they pay with their souls.
In Cuba, only those who swear allegiance to the communist revolution are given the opportunity to a higher education. If you disagree with the dictatorship, you are marginalized and not allowed entry into any college or university.
There is a sign over the entrance of the University of Havana that ostensibly reads: “Only Revolutionaries will enter these doors.”
If you don’t consider your soul and your integrity of much value, then I guess Cuba is a cheap place to acquire a higher education.

13 thoughts on “Free Education”

  1. Alberto, what many people also don’t realize is that to attend college in Cuba, beside being a ‘good revolutionary’ who totes the line, you also have to have the grades. If you don’t make the academic cut, you don’t go, and have to accept being a trade school graduate, at best. With my high school grades (C avg) I would have never been allowed to apply for a university education in Cuba. In a free nation like the US, I was able to attend a Junior College, improve my grades, and go on to graduate Cum Laude at UM and then obtain two Masters Degrees from other universities. My parents were working class and couldn’t afford the payments, but I was able to obtain those degrees with the help afforded all of us who don’t have the financial means. That is the sign of a truly great society, not the elitist, controlled indoctrination that passes for an ‘education’ in Cuba. In their society, I would have been condemned to doing something I didn’t like simply because I didn’t actualize til after high school. Additionally, there are free societies in Latin America that also provide ‘free’ university education to their students – you don’t need to be in a totalitarian dictatorship to partake of those selected ‘handouts’. The free education/free health care mantra being dispensed by the liberal/left supporters of the Cuban Marxist state is a bunch of unadulterated b.s. that needs constant demystifying. Good post.

  2. Free education that doesn’t reward the graduate with a higher income is basically useless. The average income in the U.S. is in the neighborhood of $45,000.00 That is across the board. College graduates average much more. My wife grew up in Cuba and with 5 years of college was able to earn 12 dollars a month. That is a whopping 144 dollars a year. College might be expensive in the States, but at least it pays off in the long run.

  3. Another thing to add is that in Cuba when you apply to the university, they tell you what careers you’re allowed to apply to, according to your performance in highschool and or what THEY consider your forté. You just can’t say, “I’d like to be a Marine Biologist,” that is not your right to decide. They will tell you what careers you can pick from if any, and then you need to hope they have slots available for that career. This is something the liberals who promote a system such as this, fail to explain, deliberately ignore or simply haven’t investigated enough to learn.

  4. Two things that the other comments do not mention, one is the fact that you have to be activelly involved in the communist organizations (UJC) at least for law ( I was deny entry, because I was not a member) and second after you been asigned a carrer, if there are foreing students they will take priority. The cuban apartheid was tested before in the education system.

  5. My mother was a primary school teacher in Cuba for many years. Very soon after the Castro takeover, she found out she’d be required to not only teach but actively indoctrinate her students. Initially she tried to “forget” or “not get around” to doing that, but eventually there were “complaints” that she wasn’t following the new curriculum. A very religious woman, she couldn’t make herself inculcate lies into the minds of children, so she resigned. She also became bound and determined that her own children’s minds would not be poisoned by their teachers, and she didn’t rest till we got out of that hellhole.
    Anybody who, knowing that, still finds Cuba’s “free education” a good deal is completely discredited, not to mention completely untrustworthy ethically and morally. It is common knowledge that heavy-duty political indoctrination, not to say brainwashing, is an integral part of the education system of any hardcore communist regime. So how can anyone with an iota of decency find that even remotely acceptable?

  6. I agree with every one here about the “political requirement” needed to enter the universities. In my time back in the late seventies there was a relaxation on them and many were able to go to the university to study a very limited amount of technical degrees considering mostly (but not only) the academic records. I was one of the lucky ones that were able to finish EE in 1978.
    All that changed a few months before the Mariel, where the fire a tremendous amount of students for not being revolutionaries, many of them came here when the boat lift stared. I still remember the poster in front of the Univerisy of LV “Las universidades son para los revolucionarios.”
    Now, as to free, as in no money, I spend the five years that my degree lasted working free for four hours a day around different factories in town, that was the only free thing that was happening there, my work, every day to “compensate” for the cost of my education. Some of us got sick from the working conditions and even loss arms and legs in accidents due to the lack of job safety rules in those places. Today my soon is following my step as he stared attending college this fall to become an engineer. I am paying for his curses and am very happy of paying for then knowing that he will never have to go through all the problems and some time humiliations that I went through in my college years.

  7. Let see. If we are talking about the same country, then somebody is laying here.
    Guys you do not hate Castro more than me, but it does not change the facts.
    I was diplomated in late 80’s in La Cujae. I was not militant of UJC. I had not influencial parents, I was living in a “solar” and I am black. Even so, I was diplomated with golden diploma. We were around 100 students in my year and just 20 were members of the UJC which demmonstrate that Alberto de la Cruz has not idea what he is talking about.
    About the quality of the studies, maybe you also do not know that all my books were photocopied from the American Concrete Institute and it is the same in all the specialitites. Cuba do not pay copyright, just buy one book and distribute it for free amongs all the students. So we had exactly the same programms that in Chicago. We did not ever use the Russian calculation methods. I even made a postgraduate course of AutoCAD for free. In the 90’s I was teaching spanish colleagues in Madrid, because we Cubans were far in front of them in the use of CAD
    It’s not that bad when working in Cuba I was making proyects to build in Spain, Mexico, China and Puerto Rico (yes I did proyects to build in the free asociated stated of US). Of course I was working for cents and that was the main reason why I left Cuba behind. Abroad I have been working with my Cuban diploma already in Holland, Singapore, Australia, Tanzania and Arab Emirates. The Cuban diploma is authomatic recognized in Germany without making exams and in the US cuban professional (graduated after 59)are also well considered in order to get a job.
    So when I read such a articles I feel ashame. You have already lost the sense of the reality or maybe you are talking about a very long time ago.
    Cuban system is indeed a shit. Education is not free, you have to pay for it and the crisis is afecting also the education system. That’s true.
    But there are enough evidences to demmonstrate that the system does not work. I passed this articles to my colleagues (I work in Europe)and they just said the Cuban saying: No tan calvo que se le vean los cesos.
    It is not necessary to lie to demmonstrate Cuba’s system is a shit. You just loose credibility.

  8. Yoyo:
    Nowhere in my post do I criticize the “quality” of education being offered in communist Cuba’s universities and colleges. Therefore, your braggadocio regarding all the countries your degree is accepted in and how many projects you have worked on are irrelevant to the post.
    If you are referring to part two of my post that I posted later on, that was an independent study that I thought was interesting to note. Nevertheless, you felt it necessary to accuse of me not knowing what I am talking about. I just shared with everyone what the study said—if you have a problem with the results, take it up with the authors of the study.
    As far as your claim that you received all your education from communist Cuba’s university system without compromising your ideals, well I guess that all depends on what your ideals are. If you actively spoke out and questioned the totalitarian system that imprisons the Cuban nation and still received a first-rate university education in Cuba, I take back what I said about selling one’s soul and integrity. But, if you believe that not being active in the UJC is equal to being against it, you are sadly mistaken. Those who stand by silently while they watch the rights of their brothers and sisters trampled are just as guilty as those who are trampling them.
    You may hate castro as much as we do, but there is no way you can tell me you would have received the level of education you did if you went up to your professors every day and told them you hated castro.
    Being invisible and flying under the radar in Cuba does not a dissident make, my friend.

  9. Alberto,
    I would never repeat in my Blog the result of a study that my readers could find very easy it is not true. If you publish it you share it!
    Let’s say it this way. Very few people in Cuba know there is an active opposition in the island. Sorry to let you know it: Biscet is a non known guy there. As you know, the information in Cuba controlled by the government, opposition has not the means to reach the majority of the population. So you can not agree or even support with something you do not know it exists.
    A person with 17 years is easily manipulated. In that moment more of us are happy having fun, sex, dancing and so on. It is the same in USA, Europe or China. So they do not have to convince anybody. Most of Cubans didn’t see another kind of elections and “free of speech” or “human rights” are just something from another world. Most of them have seeing just one president the whole life and that’s the way it is: it is taken “as it is”.
    In fact today most Cubans do not mind about Fidel Castro or Donald Duck being president of Cuba. They care about what to eat tonight. It’s not their fault. It is the result of a very well done plan.
    So when you are in the University in Cuba nobody make any pressure on you to change your mind. You just ignore things could be different.
    A second part is that most of the emigrates do not mind to comeback with Castros in the goverment as long as we could have economical freedom (as chinese did). But I suppose this statement do not follow the line of this post. Maybe I wait another opportunity to discuss about it.

  10. Yoyo:
    You are absolutely right that the general population in Cuba is not aware of dissidents such as Biscet. And you are also right that the communist government has been very successful in hiding the existence of these people in order not to foment any additional opposition. You are right in saying that many Cubans on the island are more concerned with finding enough food to eat and clothes to wear than they are about changing the oppressive government that is ironically the cause for their hardships.
    If you look at the situation in Cuba that way, it is very easy to explain and accept the atrocious conditions Cubans must live in every day as apparently you have done. However, you must also look at these not well-known, yet very real and numerous members of the opposition in Cuba. What makes them different? Why do they have a yearning for the freedom of their Cuba and others do not? Why are they willing to risk it all to fight against tyranny? What makes them different from the general population in Cuba?
    Every movement has its leaders and its followers. And every movement also has a large segment of the population that stands by and does nothing. That do-nothing attitude is what allowed castro and his thugs to obtain total control over the Cuban population.
    If the majority of Cubans would rather leave a murderous dictator in place in exchange for a couple of steaks, a Chinese refrigerator and some new sneakers, so be it. But I will not stand by and do nothing when brave dissidents such as Biscet, Antunez, and Dr. Darsi Ferrer stand up to tyranny.
    One day Cuba will be free and it will be because of men like Biscet, Antunez, Darsi Ferrer, etc. People like them will attain freedom for the island of Cuba in spite of a population that is more concerned with resolviendo than they are about freedom.

  11. Alberto,
    Cuban react as any other people in the same condition. As Soviets and east europeans peoples did. Cuban now are not less brave than before. But the situation is different to Maceo’s times.
    Castro learnt from the mistakes of all other dictators. He didn’t send tanks against the people in 1994, like Ceauscescu did, or East Germany did in Prag in 1968 or Chinese in Tian Amen. He is a very inteligent guy which has the absolut power over the population and the public opinion, over the army, over the media and over the international image. Opposition has less possibilities than Maceo in his time or not possibilities at all. This are not times of Christians dying against Rome empire, their effort is useless.
    Sorry, but I do not see any possibility to the Cuban opposition. They could be very brave, but they are fighting in the wrong way and in the moment. Goverment propaganda make very hard to survive and spread a very bad reputation to opposition among the Cuban population. I would not expect anybody following them.
    I would rather expect more from any reformist (as Gorbatchov in the USSR, not Raul) or as consecuence of stopping suddenly the embargo. Cuban Regime is not prepare to survive such a condition.

  12. Yoyo:
    I am not going to yoyo back and forth on this issue with you (no pun intended). You obviously feel that the Cubans on the island are not capable of taking back the island from the dictatorial monarchy that is strangling it.
    Yes, fidel learned valuable lessons from other dictators. Yes, the times are different from Maceo’s. Yes, Cubans are just as brave as other people in the world. All those things you said are correct, except that I disagree with you that it will take someone or something other than the Cuban people to free them.
    Contrary to popular belief, Gorbachev did not bring democracy to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The people rose up and took it from the dilapidated, tired and economically broke Soviet apparatus. Gorbachev, no dummy himself, parlayed his failure to hold the USSR together into a personal triumph by taking undue credit for it. If you recall those heady days of the fall of the Soviet empire, you’ll remember Boris Yelstin standing on top of a tank waving the Russian (not the Soviet) flag in victory, not Gorbachev. Therefore, I fail to see how a “Gorbachev” type character will do anything for Cuba.
    The communist government in Cuba would not be prepared to deal with the sudden removal of the embargo by the US? Give me a break. They are prepared, and have been for a long time, to reap the windfall of dollars that will come in to the elite members of the government if the embargo is rescinded.
    Do you really think that the “genius” castro you have described, and those around him, haven’t contemplated and planned for this contingency? Again, give me a break.
    Removing the embargo will not free the Cuban people.
    Having a “reformist” communist take over the government will not free the Cuban people.
    Only the Cuban people themselves will free the Cuban people.
    I wish you the best of luck. Goodbye.

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