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Venezuela: Free of Illiteracy for Nine Years

On October 28, 2005, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent a message of congratulations to the Venezuelan people and then-President Hugo Chávez for their extraordinary efforts in making the country a territory free of illiteracy, which had affected 1.5 million people.

“In being declared a territory free of illiteracy, Venezuela is realizing its most relevant contribution in our common efforts towards education for all.  The achievements made by Mission Robinson could not have been possible without the political will and support from the highest level, and in that regard President Hugo Chávez Frías deserves warm congratulations,” UNESCO expressed nine years ago.

Mission Robinson was one of the first social programs created by Commander Chávez.  Its methodology is based on bringing a group of facilitators to the country’s poorest communities where they teach people who to read and write.
The program’s goal was to put an end to the social exclusion of women and men who were victims of previous government in Venezuela that paid minimal attention to factors, such as education, that are essential for the country’s development and stability.

In the book “The Seven Sins of Hugo Chávez”, Belgian journalist and author Michel Collon notes that in 1999, when Commander Chávez was inaugurated into office, 1.5 million of Venezuela’s 22 million citizens were illiterate, and another 2 million had not finished elementary school.

The creation of Mission Robinson eventually led to other new programs, such as Mission Robinson II, aimed at providing elementary school education to adults, Mission Ribas, high school for adults, and Mission Sucre, providing university education to previously underserved populations.

A New Stage

Since the 2005 declaration, the Venezuelan government has continued these education programs.  This year President Nicolás Maduro announced that Mission Sucre will enter a new stage.  In addition to guaranteeing employment for its graduates, it will also provide the opportunity to go to graduate school for free.

The President made this announcement in October during an event to where education facilitators that provide university studies to the people were sworn into their posts.

“Let us continue on the path towards building a nation of optimism, of love, that fills everyone with happiness and satisfies the soul and life of each Venezuelan, each household, each of our society’s families,” Maduro said at the time.

AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / October 28, 2014

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