Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

10 de Marzo del 2000

SCHOOL BOARD PUNISHES POLITICALLY INCORRECT TEACHER. By Vivian de los Angeles Acosta, Cuba Free Press.

Palma Soriano.- The Municipal Board of Education in the town of Julio Antonio Mella, Santiago de Cuba province on March 6 responded to a call for justice from Belkys Cantillo Ramírez. She had asked to be reinstated to her job as a teacher's assistant in a school near her. A teaching assistant works with the children's songs and games and other activities which help in the children's development.

She had been dismissed from her job at the "Sueños de Martí" children's "club" for openly supporting ideas different from those of the school's director, a member of the Communist Party. She also was told that the Board of Education believes a person who works with children should have those same political opinions.

As she expected, the board responded to her plea by making her two proposals for jobs rather far from her town. The first was a position as a cleaning assistant in the Mella neighborhood near the municipal board's headquarters. It is seven kilometers from Palmarito de Cauto where Belkys lives.

The other cleaning assistant's job available was in the town of Baraguá, some 19 kilometers from her home. Belkys has an infant daughter of two years of age and does not wish to work so far away from the child.

Mrs. Cantillo is the wife of José Daniel Ferrer and sister-in-law of Luis Enrique Ferrer of the Christian Liberation Movement. She never has been found lacking in her work. She said the displacement was only because of her political and civic ideas.

Now, she says, she is to be punished by forcing her to clean rather than do her regular work. Belkys said she has decided not to accept either of the jobs, not because she considers any other job too low but because the switch is being done as a disciplinary measure which she doesn't deserve.

She said nobody should be stripped of a job that helps provide bread for her child for reasons of her political opinions. She said she is an honorable, decent woman who can offer her little students peace, harmony and happiness, qualities she believes she possesses, according to people who know her well.

Vivian de los Angeles Acosta, Cuba Free Press.


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