Reports from Cuba: Renewal of vows: The red scarf

By Yoani Sanchez in Generation Y:

Renewal of Vows: The Red Scarf

Cuban children in the ceremony where they take on the red scarf.

Three decades later, the woman is facing a familiar scene. A row of children dressed in their elementary school uniforms receive the new red scarf that replaces the blue one they had previously knotted around their necks. Like a déjà vu, she listens to her daughter repeat the same slogan she shouted out in her own childhood. The little girl, one knee on the ground, swears to follow the example of Ernesto Che Guevara, just like her mother had promised to do so long ago.

The school’s morning assembly started early this Thursday, June 14, the day chosen for the initiation of students who completed the third grade. They now become part of the José Martí Pioneers Organization and have started down a path where ideological excesses and political manipulation will follow them forever. The ceremony has all the traces of a religious initiation, almost mystical, despite of its being centered on an atheist guerrilla, who this very day would have turned 90.

To conclude the moment, the loudspeakers broadcast a song dedicated to Fidel Castro at full volume. “Louder, Louder!” the school principal shouts to the students, who must sing the boring tune verse by verse. “Louder, louder to be heard up there!,” he reiterates as he points to the sky, where, he believes, his Commander-in-Chief must have gone.

The music is over, the children shout the slogan that they will repeat in the coming years: “Pioneers for Communism, we will be like Che.” Then they leave the ranks and return to the unruly games of any child. The political “renewal of vows” is over.

3 thoughts on “Reports from Cuba: Renewal of vows: The red scarf”

  1. This is, in fact, an initiation of innocent, helpless children into a demonic cult. My mother saw that very early, well before the odious Argentine murderer was brought into it, and she did everything in her power to save her children from such poison. Thank God she succeeded. Anybody who talks about the “free education” in Castro’s Cuba as laudable and beneficial is either mentally impaired or beneath contempt.

  2. And by the way, it is quite possible that many if not most of those “pioneer” uniforms were sent from Miami.

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