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U.S. Commission Condemns Cuban Aggression Toward Homeschooling Parents

by Mike Donnelly • April 26, 2019

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently condemned Cuba’s treatment of homeschooling families in Guantanamo.

In a statement released by the commission on April 24, 2019, USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga said:

“This crackdown on Christians homeschooling their children is part of the Cuban government’s systematic assault on religion, which includes singling out religious leaders and activists for harassment and discrimination. We urge the Cuban government to immediately cease all intimidation tactics and release Pastor Rigal and his wife along with others detained for homeschooling their children according to their religious beliefs.”
Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga USCIRF Vice Chair Kristina Arriaga

The commission also noted its grave concern that independent lawyer Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces was detained and beaten after attempting to observe the trial of Pastor Ramón. HSLDA has learned that two other parents have also been sentenced to terms of imprisonment, detention in a labor camp, and other sanctions for attempting to homeschool their children.

Time to Speak Up

The involvement of the USCIRF is a helpful step toward acknowledging that homeschooling is not a crime and no family should be persecuted for homeschooling. We hope more organizations and government agencies will issue statements condemning such treatment.

Homeschooling is a right that every family should be free to pursue no matter why or how they do it. Pastor Ramón, his wife Adya, and the other parents in his church were motivated by their faith.

Families around the world are motivated to homeschool for many other reasons as well, including a desire to meet their children’s specific needs.

Regardless of what motivates parents, their rights to make educational decisions for their children are among the most important and fundamental—and governments must protect these rights.

Ongoing Support

HSLDA will continue to monitor this situation and support the Rigal family and the other families who have been broken up by Cuba’s despotic actions.

To learn more about the Rigal family and the desperate situation in Cuba, visit www.hslda.org/freerigal. To send a message to the Cuban ambassador, President Trump, and other U.S. government officials, you can also go to www.hslda.org/freerigal.

HSLDA is in this fight because we believe that an attack on homeschooling freedom anywhere is an attack on homeschooling freedom everywhere. We firmly support the national sovereignty of nations to pass legitimate laws and regulations.

However, we also believe that actions taken by certain regimes against homeschooling are immoral and cannot be justified by any legitimate national interest. Cuba is an example of the very worst possible persecution of homeschooling parents.

The fight for homeschooling is a global battle, and there are millions of families who yearn to enjoy the same freedoms we do here in America. HSLDA’s mission is to make homeschooling possible, and we stand with our fellow homeschooling parents everywhere.

If you can, will you support our work through membership? A generous donation to HSLDA will help us do more to these persecuted Cuban families and others like them.

Thank you for your support!


Michael Donnelly

Senior Counsel, Director of Global Outreach

Mike is an attorney, writer, adjunct professor of government, and frequent media spokesperson on homeschooling, freedom, and parental rights. Read more.


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