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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Remembering Conrado Benítez, Cuban Literacy Teacher and Revolutionary

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

Conrado Benítez, Cuban Literacy Teacher and Revolutionary Killed by Imperialist Backed Counter-Revolutionaries, January 5, 1961

On January 5, 1961, 18 year old Conrado Benítez was brutally murdered along with peasant farmer Heliodoro Rodriguez in the Escambray mountains of Cuba by US backed counter-revolutionaries.

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.

Even 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 been all but eradicated in the country. Cuban literacy rates and education -- all levels of which are provided free of charge to students despite decades of cruel US economic sanctions -- remain one of the revolution's most impressive and remarkable accomplishments.

Remember Conrado Benítez. Hero in the struggle against imperialism and injustice.



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