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November 2nd, 2013, 1:15pm – 2:30pm
University of Winnipeg, Room 1L13 (Lockhart Hall), 515 Portage Avenue

In Cuba in 1961, 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old. Over half were women. Maestra explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island–and found themselves deeply transformed in the process. In the midst of the literacy campaign, Cuban exiles launched the CIA-supported Bay of Pigs invasion. Although it was discovered and thwarted by the Cuban armed forces, escaped mercenaries combed the countryside, harassing the peasants and their literacy teachers. Maestra is a compelling and beautifully filmed reconstruction of one of the most significant campaigns in Cuba’s history. Fifty years on, the film clearly demonstrates the impact that it had on the lives of all those who took part. “The historical significance of this archive, and its lessons for the present, cannot be overstated.” Howard Zinn