“Brother, I am home!”
Home School Legal Defense Association has learned that Pastor Ramón Rigal of Guantanamo, Cuba is out of jail.
He was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for homeschooling his two children, but was released on probation as of June 25. Ramón’s wife Adya had been sentenced to almost two years in prison, but was released on probation in April.
After well over a year in maximum security and labor camps, Ramón sent me this text message yesterday:
“Brother Mike, thank you and all of you who have been praying for us and who supported us. Your prayers were answered, because I am with my family again.”
Taking a Stand
Ramón refused to send his children to Cuba’s public schools because he objected to them being indoctrinated in communist ideology and atheism. Ramón’s faith demanded that he teach his children at home, so he enrolled them in a distance-learning program administered by a Christian school in Guatemala.
In 2017 Pastor Rigal was ordered to serve a year of hard labor in the community. After serving this sentence, he continued to homeschool his children. But, when other parents started to follow his example, he and his wife were arrested, subjected to a sham trial where they were denied legal representation, and sent to prison.
The family’s children were cared for by other family members until Adya returned home in April. As of right now Cuba’s schools, like many around the world, are closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
All of us at HSLDA rejoice that the Rigal’s are reunited. They should never have been separated. Cuba’s government violated their human rights to due process and the direction of their children’s education. We stand ready to continue supporting the family in whatever choices they make to the fullest extent possible.
Cuba should permit all families to homeschool freely without fear of retribution—by incarceration or other heavy-handed treatment. The right of families to choose how their children are educated is a fundamental right that all governments must respect and protect.
The United States Senate is considering a resolution—S.R. 215—which calls on Cuba to give more freedom to its citizens. Please ask the Senate to take up and pass this resolution.
There were many organizations that followed the Rigals’ case and helped make it possible for them to be reunited. In particular, HSLDA thanks the Global Liberty Alliance, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.