When the U.S.A. government began the economic war against Cuba over fifty years ago, it made no exceptions whatsoever. This war comprised even the most helpless ones, like children with visual and hearing impairment.
In fact, there is no such thing as diplomatic, political or fair in this blockade, which has been systematically termed as genocidal at the UN. And in the case of children, it is something abominable. Why refusing to sell Cuba what’s necessary to correct or relieve those physical defects? Why forbidding others to do so?
Daniel Luis Rodríguez Pérez has been a student for seven years at Sancti Spiritus’s Miguel Angel Echemendía special school for blind and low vision children. He recently graduated from primary education with his visual defect almost corrected.
Daniel Luis’s grandmother feels as happy as her grandson. She began working at this school when it was first opened. She was the school’s principal for several years. So she could tell us about the characteristics and major problems of the educational facility.
“We have different kind of students here. Some of them are totally blind, and others have low vision problems”, she said. She explained that blind or low vision students require special teaching materials, some of which can’t be produced here due to the lack of the proper equipment to do so.
In the case of the visually impaired kids, they need magnifying glasses and distant vision telescopes, among other important appliances. The school also lacks the closed circuit television as well as specific materials for Geometry lessons, which are very expensive.
Nevertheless, the school’s staff is not idle. The teachers and the rest of the workers have managed to manufacture patterns so that students can read. They have also used boxes, cardboard, and waste materials to create auxiliary items, such as hanging pictures for the children to touch.
In Sancti Spiritus’s Rafael Morales Special School for children with hearing impairment, another battle is fought against the shortages due to the US blockade on the island. The results of such fight are crucial for the students to overcome their hearing disorders.
According to the school’s principal Rafael Cepeda, these students need specialized attention, and, above all, the aid of technical devices, and specific technological equipment.
But those devices are either nonexistent or damaged, a fact that turns into a handicap for classes. The audiometer and the video-voice units are just two examples of the lack of equipments in this school.
Among the 124 students at Efrain Alonso Liriano special school, best known as “Cheché”, we can find different disorders like autism and mental retardation.
The school principal Raúl Blanco Delgado said some of the children need medications which are very expensive. “It is not always possible to have the most advanced drugs, but we do our best to give them the most necessary”, he added.
The doers of this economic war must realize that it has not been possible for them to prevent the humanitarian and altruistic intention of the special education in Cuba.
This tiny blockaded island dedicates 7% of its gross domestic product to education, and 1 079 pesos are allocated every year to the care of impaired children.
As is has been specified in UNESCO and regional bodies’ statistics, the quality of the attention granted to children in Cuba is better that that of the so-called superpower nations.