Cuba’s Constitution recognizes the elemental rights of every child, regardless of sex, race, or social origin, and does not leave their protection to institutional goodwill or individual charity.
This special interest in educating and caring for the young is nothing new for Cubans. Who is not aware that the annual infant mortality rate here is among the lowest in the world? Who doesn’t know that education is universally available and free of charge.
This commitment goes beyond the national framework. Cuba has been a signatory to the United Nations Rights of the Child Convention since 1991, and its precepts have been codified in laws regarding the corruption of minors. The country also adheres to international agreements established to protect children and adolescents from trafficking, prostitution, their use in pornography, and sexual abuse.
It is no accident that the yearly celebration of International Children’s Day, on June 1, is followed by Cuba’s version on the third Sunday of the month. In both cases, being honored are those that a very wise man, José Martí, called “the hope of the word.”
Cuba’s Constitution stipulates:
- No child is denied education, food, or clothing (Chapter I, Political, social, and economic foundations of the state)
- Patriotic education and communist development of younger generations, and the training of children, adolescents, and adults to participate in social life, are promoted. (Chapter V, Education and Culture)
- Education for all is a right (…) which implies that every child and youth, regardless of their family’s economic situation, is provided the opportunity to study (Chapter VII, Fundamental duties, rights, and guarantees)
- Children and youth enjoy special protection on the part of the state and society. (Chapter V, Education and Culture)
- Families, schools, state bodies, as well as mass and social organizations, have the responsibility to pay particular attention to the comprehensive development of children and youth. (Chapter V, Education and Culture)
The world in 2030
- Some 167 million children could be living in extreme poverty.
- An estimated 69 million children under five years of age could die as a result of curable diseases.
- At least 60 million school-age children could remain without education.
(Sources: Remarks made by Cuba’s delegation to the United Nations during discussion of Issue 69: “Promotion and protection of the rights of the child” 72nd General Assembly, Third Commission. New York, October 10, 2017)