Cuba's National Literacy Campaign and Critical Global Citizenship
Author: Mark Abendroth
Published: December 2009
Rebel Literacy is a look at Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign of 1961 in historical and global contexts. The Cuban Revolution cannot be understood without a careful study of Cuba’s prior struggles for national sovereignty. Similarly, an understanding of Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign demands an inquiry into the historical currents of popular movements in Cuba to make education a right for all. The scope of this book, though, does not end with 1961 and is not limited to Cuba and its historical relations with Spain, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. Nearly 50 years after the Year of Education in Cuba, the Literacy Campaign’s legacy is evident throughout Latin America and the ‘Third World’. A world-wide movement today continues against neoliberalism and for a more humane and democratic global political economy. It is spreading literacy for critical global citizenship, and Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign is a part of the foundation making this global movement possible.
The author collected about 100 testimonies of participants in the Campaign, and many of their stories and perspectives are highlighted in one of the chapters. Theirs are the stories of perhaps the world’s greatest educational accomplishment of the 20th Century, and critical educators of the 21st Century must not overlook the arduous and fruitful work that ordinary Cubans, many in their youth, contributed toward a nationalism and internationalism of emancipation.