On Sept. 26, Janisset Rivero shared her experience of living under Fidel Castro’s oppressive regime in Cuba. Rivero, a GLA trainer and curriculum specialist and a human rights activist, was speaking as part of a free speech panel hosted by Americans for Prosperity Foundation at the University of New Hampshire.
When she was young, Rivero and her family were wrongly accused of engaging in seditious speech against the Cuban government, simply for receiving a warm letter from family abroad. She was encouraged to speak out against her parents to the government.
“Because I was trained by my father how to handle these situations I didn’t say anything, but there were children forced to denounce their own parents,” Rivero said.
She and her family were later expelled from the country.
It was from this experience that Rivero learned the importance of free speech in any country. She developed an immense appreciation for speech as a cornerstone of American society.
She spoke on what it means to protect free speech here, as well, especially on college campuses.
Also present on UNH’s free speech panel were Demetrius Minor of Americans for Prosperity Foundation in Florida and Zach Greenberg, a program officer for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Pennsylvania.
“Free speech is not about you agreeing with what is being said, it’s about defending the right to use it,” Minor said.
Greenberg furthered this point by suggesting that college students seek to expand the number of viewpoints from which they learn, rather than shun, or seek to ban, those with which they disagree.
“If students go to college without having their deepest beliefs challenged they should ask for their money back,” Greenberg said.
To learn more about this exciting event, read the coverage from New Hampshire’s Union Leader.