HAVANA TIMES – Nowadays, reading about Catholic bishops and priests’ sexual abuse of minors for years and decades, is commonplace. The Church has always ignored the crimes committed by its representatives, especially crimes against young boys and women. There are also plenty of stories of abusive Evangelical pastors as well.
What they both have in common is that they protect their own and aren’t at all interested in seeking justice for or compensating victims.
The story we are relaying today didn’t take place in a church or a US classroom, it happened in Cuba, a country where its government brags about being revolutionary. It was taken from the website La Hora de Cuba, written by Henry Constantin, a journalist from Camaguey.
Here, the full story:
A teacher sexually abuses over 40 students in a Cuban school and State Security never found out
By Henry Constantin
Don’t look at the photo on the right just yet, please look at the one on the left: this man is Yasnier Leon, and up until a few days ago, he was a renowned Physical Education teacher at Jose Luis Tassende Primary School, in Camaguey.
Parents and colleagues held him in high esteem, he was the head of gymnastics, he paid the union dues, he went to marches, he signed the condolences book when Fidel died and the Hands off Venezuela! book. He was even in the process of becoming a member of the Communist Party.
So far, so good. No joke, smiling, he had been the model teacher of 400? 500? 600? students aged between 9-12 years old, living in the heart of Camaguey, since 2013. Everybody thought highly of him.
But, I’m wrong: out of the half a thousand children he gave proper Physical Education classes to, there were at least 40 young boys who didn’t think this because Yasnier Leon didn’t only teach them P.E. No. Yasnier Leon sexually abused his students, young boys wearing red neckerchiefs, like all Cuban “pioneers”.
And, it’s only come to light now, after six years, and half a thousand children have passed through this Physical Education teacher’s hands. The authorities only discovered his sick side when two children began to tell them everything, tired of I don’t even want to imagine what activities or losing sleep with dreams of I don’t know what morbid memories.
His method was quite simple: after P.E. classes finished, he used his authority as a teacher to make a child go up to the school’s distant top floor (where the Physical Education Department is) with some kind of excuse: “bring me these balls”, or “go up so I can give you a piece of paper I need you to give someone.” And, that’s when he would take advantage.
There still haven’t been any reports of rape, only molesting in the most aggressive cases.
The man is locked up in prison now, and even though many distraught families and, worse yet, confused (to say the least) children won’t find solace in this, I hope he spends the maximum amount of time there where people his own age, who share his frame of mind, use him to fulfill their own sexual fantasies like he used the children at Tassende elementary school to satisfy his own. That’s the least that Yasnier Leon should get.
I really must thank God for my eldest son, Dante’s talents for ballet or the determination of his mother, grandparents and myself for him to study this art form at another school. Tassende elementary used to be Dante’s school. He was a student there until fourth grade, then he went to Vincentina school to study ballet.
It was a miracle that Yasnier Leon wasn’t his Physical Ed. teacher. I ran into this man a couple of times at the school entrance when I went to pick up Dante after his karate class. I don’t dare say what I would be doing right now if things had been different, and my son had continued on at that school.
I don’t want to even think about it. This is why it pains me so much to think about what these families are going through, and I ask that any comment that this article incites is respectful to the victims.
Now, let’s go back to the photos. Look at the other one, not the one of the paedophile teacher, but the one on the right. This is Richard Alvarez Medina, First Lieutenant of State Security, who graduated from MININT’s pre-university and lives in the Garrido neighborhood. He looks like a good man, just like Yasnier does.
But, he isn’t a paedophile… No, at least I hope he isn’t. They didn’t even run into each other: while professor Yasnier Leon would peacefully lock himself in the Physical Education department, after classes finished, with one of his 10-year-old students, First Lieutenant Richard Alvarez Medina, was busy doing important things, taking painstaking efforts to follow an independent photographer down the street.
While Yasnier Leon put on his favorite porno and masturbated in front of his favorite sixth grade student, First Lieutenant Richard Alvarez Medina, busy doing important things, orchestrated the laying off of an independent journalist from his job.
While Yasnier Leon made the boy, who had stayed outside the door as a lookout, come in to clean his perverted semen with a tissue, First Lieutenant Richard Alvarez Medina, busy doing important things, threatened a young, independent writer’s grandfather with great tact and made his blood pressure shoot through the roof.
There was no connection between these two men in the photographs. That paedophile spent his time doing things that we at La Hora de Cuba don’t want to investigate out of respect for these children (although the above-mentioned offences formed part of real testimonies) and the First Lieutenant, who didn’t have time to protect children, spent his time investigating La Hora de Cuba.
But, he was just as an example and he might well have been called Jessica, Yanlet, Lester, Alexander, Yunier, Bernardo (real names of people who Cubans invest in, without wanting to, millions of dollars to give them cars, motorbikes, homes, fuel, telephones, wages, food, holidays, offices, trips abroad, electrical appliances) and in spite of all this investment, they are unable to pick up on a sexual abuser of children because they are too busy chasing after decent people.
And, this is where my angst, disgust for Yasnier Leon becomes embarassment for these individuals who have the duty and skills to provide security for the State (which I used to think included our children, but it seems it doesn’t) wasting the time in their lives and chasing after those who have different ways of thinking.
After this disaster, they should have fired the whole lot at the provincial State Security office, and the Party and Education structures that I’m sure hold tedious meetings about political and useless subjects, while the paedophile harmed his students.
And, as if this incompetence wasn’t enough, now, when dozens of families have been overcome by shock and anxiety, with their children and teenagers affected to a different extent, Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca, First Secretary of the Communist Party in Camaguey, is filling his Facebook not with messages of solidarity for them, but instead with Lula, and Isabel Gonzalez (look her up using Isa Gonzalez), president of the government, is sharing posts about suburban agriculture and mistrust of “Imperialism”. These are the priorities of these “leaders”.
This phenomenon has made it crystal clear that Cuba’s education system doesn’t have efficient protocols or methods to stop, or detect sexual abuse of children by teachers, in time.
Sometimes, I think that the people responsible for Education don’t even know the forms and implications of this phenomenon. Yasnier Leon wasn’t just discovered now. In fact, three years ago, there was news of an incident, but the man was such a good teacher, so willing, that the people alerted to his evil behavior turned a blind eye.
Likewise, a source told La Hora de Cuba (asking to remain anonymous) that he had left his previous job at another school, Renato Giuitart elementary, for the same reason. Ah, but if this had been a political matter instead of sexual, well, poor Yasnier…
During all this time, where was the “core group of the Communist Party” at the school (in fact, the subject hadn’t received a militant card because he didn’t send in his self-assessment in time)? Where were your regular informers? Where was the Principle’s advisor? Where was the OPJM board ready to collect fees?
Where was this extraordinary apparatus to monitor and control, which detects, targets (and punishes) any employee or student with “ideological problems” at schools, but this time, they didn’t pick up on a sexual abuser of over 40 children over the past 6 long years?
The only thing they did, inopportunely mind you, was on last Monday: a parents’ meeting was held in which an official talked about the problem and repeated a few trite and out-of-place “revolutionary” phrases (with no tact whatsoever).
The next time that some fool, in Cuba or abroad, tells me that children in Cuba are safe and happy, I’m going to sadly remember these thirty or forty children who were used by Tassande’s P.E. teacher for his own pleasure.
(Photos taken from Yasnier Leon and Alvarez Medina Richard’s profile pages).