From Cuba on Children’s Rights

Carlos Fraguela

Kids in Cuba's Sierra Maestra Mountains.  Foto: Elio Delgado Valdés
Kids in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra Mountains. Foto: Elio Delgado Valdés

HAVANA TIMES — We know that the rights of children are systematically violated in many parts of the world. I began thinking about this again after seeing one of those funny videos from the United States that people pass about on flash drives here, where we see a father make a little girl promise she will not have any boyfriends in the future.

In this case, it was merely a joke, whose true aim was to prompt the little girl to question the father’s arbitrary prohibition and reveal her intelligence (the girl defends her rights, refusing to promise anything and insisting that she must first find out what it’s all about, not wanting to blindly accept the restriction).

When I was a kid, everything was imposed on me. No one ever asked my opinion, I was always told to do things. I see that this continues to be the case for the majority of the children close to me. Much has been said about how children suffer the frustrations of their parents, who ultimately impose their failed aspirations on little ones.

My mother, now 76, has not yet learned to respect her children’s decisions in terms of partners. None of our choices please her, oblivious to the fact that it is obvious we are the ones who must like our decisions.

My younger nephew has had more luck than I did, as my brother devotes much time to making him feel confident and happy wherever possible. Another important thing is that the child has access to multimedia encyclopedias and is already reading what interests him at the age of six. He is a very sensitive and imaginative kid who worries a lot about his grandparents, who are crazy about him. They don’t realize that they could have well have nurtured in me what they see in the child if they hadn’t repressed me from the moment I was born.

There will always be those who seek to take advantage of the relative helplessness of children and who will use this to suit their interests, as one does with slaves or anyone one has authority over. I see many parents around me who mistreat their children, abusing the authority granted them by the father-son relationship. Ignorant parents believe they are the owners of the beings they created and many a time trample on children’s rights.

Children, who almost always look up to their parents, many a time find themselves in extremely violent situations within their own families, owing to the ignorance and immaturity of elders. Young parents who do not know how to manage their own lives try to mold a life that is entirely independent and different from theirs.

We need to create more efficacious mechanisms to protect the rights of children, even if that means protecting them from their own family. A civilized society must guarantee the rights of all its members.

One thought on “From Cuba on Children’s Rights

  • Very insightful observation. And sadly, so true.

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