Monday, June 25, 2012

Parental Rights and Other Powers

Parental Rights and Other Powers / Cuban Law Association
Cuban Law Association, Translator: Hank Hardisty

Alberto Mendez Castelló (work appeared in the June 1, 2012,

A violation of the Municipal Department of Education here, committed to
the timetable for the publication of examination results of incoming
students to university, reveals that the Ministry of Higher Education
would restrict parental authority.

For several months across the island, Cuban families faced a stressful
career stage: preparing young high school graduates for university entrance.

These past few months, students, teachers and family had to strive to
correct the failures accumulated during years of a poor education system.

In Cuba it is not uncommon to find university graduates–whether doctors
or lawyers–with poor speech, who can not write, or do so with glaring
spelling mistakes. Many barely know the history of their country.

To mitigate the pandemonium, forged in a social setting where the family
was estranged from its original role with regards to school performance
borders on idiocy; the high school graduates must pass exams in
mathematics, Spanish and history before entering the university.

Since the students or their parents are entitled to complain about
unsatisfactory grades–a student was given grade of zero when in fact
they had scored 90 points–the national timetable for the information of
test results announced in the case of History is as follows:

– Publication of the results of complaints: May 25th, at 9 am in senior
high schools.

– Sample review: May 26th, 9 am to 2 pm at the universities.

But the municipal department of education in Puerto Padre violated that
schedule. All day the 25th teachers, parents and students waited for a
response to their claims… that never came.

According to official sources, it was at 2:47 pm on Friday, May 25th,
when the city official in charge of this task presented himself at the
university for the results of the claims.

At 9 am on Saturday the 26th, a family in this eastern town (Puerto
Padre), was hastily notified to appear just when they should have been
there, at the University of Las Tunas.

A quick trip can not be made by bus, but in general cargo trucks adapted
to carry passengers, like cattle for the slaughter.

A father and his 17-year-old son had to pay 40 pesos to get one of these
vans from Puerto Padre to Las Tunas. If they had a rental car, the price
would amount to 200 pesos, that is, about half the average monthly
salary in Cuba.

But at the University of Las Tunas they were waiting for a disheartening

"Sorry Dad, but only the student can participate in the review of his
exam," they were told, friendly but firmly, by the advisor of the Rector
in charge of the Revenue Commission, protected by an ordinance issued in
January 2012 by the then Minister of Higher Education, today, vice
president of the nation, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Under Article 38 of the Constitution, parents have the duty to assist
their children in the defense of their legitimate interests and the
realisation of their just aspirations.

Does the review of a test that is critical to get into the university
not qualify as a legitimate and just aspiration?

In Cuba the children reach adulthood at age 18 or by having been
"emancipated" of parental rights by marriage.

In accordance with Article 85.5 of the Family Code, parental
authority–that is, the authority of parents over their children of
unemancipated minors–includes representing them in all legal acts and
transactions in which they have a timely interest and exercise
oppotunities, and the actions in which they are entitled to defend their
interests and assets.

Is it not a parent's interest to defend the correct classification of a
test that his child can gain or lose entrance to a university and thus,
his future?

Too bad that a right so sacred to some, is insignificant to others.
Perhaps this is because for too many years they separated the children
from their parents. Or because they still put a gun in the hands of the
boys before they can shave.

Maybe restricting the parental authority of a father in Cuba is a
harmless act, if ultimately the Constitution of the Republic Article 43
says that, without distinction, citizens living in any sector, zone or
area of cities or staying in any hotel, where segregation is swilling
that has undergone an entire nation at the hands of a socialist
government telling, the benefits of the country reserved for himself and
for the benefit of foreigners.

Translated by: Hank Hardisty

June 4 2012

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