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Those Who Die for Life – like Hugo Chávez – Cannot Be Called Dead

Vijay Prashad

On 28 October 2005, a special event was held in Caracas at the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. At this gathering, held on the birthday of Simón Rodríguez (Simón Bolívar’s teacher), the Venezuelan government announced that nearly 1.5 million adults had learned to read through Mission Robinson, a mass literacy programme that it initiated two years earlier. The Venezuelan government built Mission Robinson based on a Cuban teaching method for adult literacy called Yo sí puedo (‘Yes I can’).  On that day, Venezuela declared to the United Nations that its people had transcended illiteracy.  Mission Robinson, Chávez said, is going to ‘organise the army of light’ that will take literacy to the people, wherever they live, taking ‘Mohammed to the mountain’.