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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Conrado Benítez, Cuban revolutionary hero, b. February 19, 1942

Conrado Benítez, heroic Cuban Literacy Teacher and Cuban Revolutionary born February 19, 1942.

18 year old Conrado Benítez was murdered along with peasant farmer Heliodoro Rodriguez in the Escambray mountains of Cuba by US imperialist backed counter-revolutionaries in January, 1961

Benítez was a high school student who had volunteered to teach literacy in the Cuban countryside after the Cuban Revolution.

For his efforts he was tortured and killed.

When told that he would be spared if he turned against the revolution Benitez refused.

While the counter-revolutionaries hoped that his killing would terrify the Cuban people into submission this backfired terribly.

In the days and months after his murder over 100,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 volunteered to join the Conrado Benítez Brigades and to go into the Cuban countryside to teach literacy.

This literacy campaign was one of the most successful in history and by the end of 1961 illiteracy had all but been eradicated in the country. Cuban literacy rates and education -- all levels of which are provided free of charge to students -- remain one of the revolution's most impressive and remarkable accomplishments. Especially given the decades of the illegal and cruel US economic embargo the country has faced.



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