This is the kind of dangerous activity Cuba is promoting in the hemisphere. It's no fluke. The Cuban Revolution abolished illiteracy as one of its first tasks. Later libraries and schools sprouted like mushrooms. Today Cuban children score nearly twice as high as the average Latin/Carribean child on UN tests. And soon Bolivia and Ecuador may join Venezuela as nations to take the first step in creating a culture of inclusion - thanks to this program. Meanwhile in the US, studies show about a quarter of our adult population is functionally illiterate.
And before I hear anyone say Cubans can't read what they want, read this report from the American Library Association. They found the supposed banned books were on the shelves or checked out. They found 'independent librarians' to be neither independent nor librarians. They found a country that valued highly books and access to information, despite the embargo's restraints.
The 2006 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize is awarded to Cuba's "Yo, Si Puede" literacy program (the Youth and Adult Literacy and Education Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute of the Republic of Cuba (IPLAC)) for its work “to advance individual and social potential through innovative teaching methods with successful outcome in more than 15 countries, notably Ecuador and Venezuela. Its programme has been adapted to, and in some times replicated in, different parts of the world, and in a variety of social, cultural and ethnic contexts. The reward also recognizes work carried out in designing a complex Evaluation Model of variables, indicators and instruments to monitor and assess the impact of these literacy programmes on the newly literates and their human environment as well as measuring their individual development. Audiovisual and new information and communication technologies have been used to extend the reach and the efficiency of teaching material, including post-literacy material, developed for the programme. The post-literacy materials is designed to inculcate and develop reading comprehension and writing proficiency, enlarge the vocabulary of the new literates, facilitate reflection and debate and develop oral expression. The programme also broaches subjects related to the family, the environment, hygiene and health linked to the socio-cultural, economic and political context of the country in which it is implemented.