Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mission accomplished 

One of the Missions, Venezuela’s famous social programs, appears headed for a successful conclusion. Mission Robinson in Venezuela’s literacy program has served its purpose now that Venezuela has been declared free of illiteracy.

That declaration was made by President Chavez late last week after the last of 1,482,533 people graduated from Mission Robinson. This largely solves Venezuela’s long festering problem of adult literacy. Of those who passed through Mission Robinson 61.7% were female and most were between the ages 41 and 50.

Unesco was on hand to congratulate Venezuela on this accomplishment. Maria Luisa Jauregui, Unesco’s representative, said that “the results seen in Venezuela are the fruit of an effort without precedent in which all segments of society participated”. “Having worked for many years in literacy programs and in education with youth and adults in Unesco, and having visited many literacy programs in many parts of the world, I want to tell you of my profound admiration of the work carried out here in Venezuela”, she added.

President singled out Cuba for special thanks for its technical and material assistance (Cuba donated 89,000 TVs and 80,000 VCRs) with the literacy program. 130,000 instructors participated in Mission Robinson and some of them will now work in Bolivia and the Dominican Republic to assist those countries in fighting illiteracy.

This certainly is a big step forward for Venezuela and a job well done by all involved. Of course, the obstructionist opponents of President Chavez will ignore or belittle this news. That is their right I suppose. But I think we can rest assured this won’t be ignored by the almost 1.5 million who received long overdue education. Nor are they likely to forget who it was that cared enough about them to push this initiative forward.


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