On April 4, 1961 the Cuban dictator created the "Unión de Pioneros de Cuba" (Union of Pioneers of Cuba).
Almost all Cuban children, including Elian Gonzalez (above), have to become 'pioneros.'
If you don't want your child to be a pionero his chances of getting an education in Castro's Cuba are almost non existent Pioneros have to participate in many extra-curricular activities, like marching in front of the US Interests Section whenever the dictator wants, or any other activities being promoted by the Castro regime.
Pioneros are also asked to denounce any counterrevolutionary activity that they see at home, or at the homes of their friends, to their teachers. Many Cuban parents went to jail because one of their children notified authorities that their parents were talking about the government or doing anything at home that was considered 'illegal.'
When the pioneros participate in a government march or any other government sponsored activity, they are given a coupon like the one above. These coupons must be given to their teachers the following day proving that you participated. If you don't turn in your coupon and don't have a very good excuse, the teacher will make a notation on the "Expediente Acumulativo del Estudiante" (Student Accumulative Dossier) that each Cuban student carries from kindergarten until he graduates from high school.
The information contained in that dossier would determine if the student is later allowed to enter a college or university.
This page reads in part "Participated in the guard of pioneros of April 4." This was when this particular student was in first grade!! All the way at the bottom it says that he also took part in the big celebration of the anniversary of the Pioneros in 1992 when he was in 2nd. grade. On the other page it mentions that he "contributed to the MTT" (Militia of Territorial Troops). The quota that has to be paid for the MTT is equivalent to one day of work per month!
In addition to information about the student participation in all political activities, the dossier also has information about his family including whether his parents are 'integrated' or not, as can be seen above.
This page reads "Integración Revolucionaria" or Revolutionary Integration. The first line refers to the father and the second line to the mother of the student. It shows if they belong to the Communist Party; to the Union of Cuban Women; to the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution); the Federation of Cuban Women; and the CTC or Confederation of Cuban Workers. In pre-Castro Cuba, the CTC used to represent Cuban workers and demand new benefits and better salaries for them. In Castro's Cuba the CTC, as everything else, is part of the regime that is exploiting the workers and treating them as if they were slaves.
The poor Cuban workers have to pay a fee to the CTC from their meager salaries in order to be "represented" by them. It is equivalent to Afro-Americans paying a fee to the KKK in order for the KKK to protect their rights as Black citizens!
Now that you know the facts, Would you still consider that Castro is offering the Cuban people a 'free educational system'? I am sure that you would not want your children to become a puppet of a maniac dictator in order for him/her to be able to study a career.
And I'm sure that you would not want to be forced to become a member of an organizations that you do not want to be part of, in order for your child to attend a public school. But many foreigners who go to Cuba and are ignorant of the facts, return to their countries praising the 'excellent free education' offered by the Castro regime to all Cuban children