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April 21, 2017

Mike Donnelly by Mike Donnelly HSLDA Director of Global Outreach


HSLDA is calling on Cuba to address this human rights abuse immediately. We are asking our members and friends to join us by signing a petition to the Cuban government to respect the rights of parents to homeschool their children and to cease its prosecution of the Rigal family.


Cuban homeschooling parents Ramón and Adya Rigal have been formally summoned to appear at the Guantanamo District Court on April 25. The couple is facing criminal charges for homeschooling their two children, aged 8 and 11.

“We will appear and defend our rights that are protected by the Cuban constitution and treaties that Cuba has signed,” said Ramón, who is also a pastor. “The authorities have not acknowledged this, but we will stand on these rights.” The Cuban government, which calls homeschooling a “capitalist tendency,” has not responded to HSLDA’s outreach on behalf of the Rigal family.

Everything for Their Children

As we reported in February, the Rigals withdrew their children from school earlier this year to homeschool them, explaining that they were being bullied and indoctrinated in Cuba’s communist school system. In response, Cuban authorities have threatened the Rigals with up to 8 years in prison, fines, and the seizure of their children.

The family is seeking asylum from the United States, but has not received any formal response other than an invitation to an interview with a refugee office that appears to be part of the U.S. presence in Cuba. If the family is jailed, however, they may not be able to get to their meeting.

Ramón and his wife said they have been greatly encouraged by the international support they have received, and that their faith gives them peace about the situation.

“We are willing to sell everything and leave our country, even though it should be our right to educate our children,” Ramon said. “We are not moved by [the Cuban government’s] way of thinking. We know that we have the support of many around the world and we know that God is working in our circumstances. We have hope he can and will deliver us. We are thankful for HSLDA and the support we are receiving from many around the world.”

Sending a Message

The Rigal family’s courage and commitment under great trial is inspiring, and HSLDA is proud to support them.

HSLDA has sought to draw attention to the Rigals’ case by highlighting the expectation that human rights would improve in Cuba as it normalizes its relations with the U.S. We are working with members of Congress to bring this to the Trump administration’s attention. President Trump has previously affirmed his support of a parent’s right to homeschool, saying that families should be allowed to homeschool “100%.”

We need help to bring this matter before the governments of Cuba and the U.S. We are asking everyone to sign and share our petition in support of this family. This petition will send a message to the Cuban ambassador and our elected officials that no family should have to suffer for choosing to homeschool their children. Parents should be free to give their children the best possible educational experience.

Click here to sign our petition—and if you already have, pass it on to a friend!