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Morales declares Bolivia illiteracy-free

Dec. 21, 2008 at 7:18 PM

LA PAZ, Bolivia, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales says his country has won its war against illiteracy.

The three-year effort, which helped about 820,000 people learn to read and write, was sponsored Cuba and Venezuela, Mercopress reported Sunday.

Officials said Saturday that about 97 percent of the adult population in Bolivia can now read and write. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization says a country can be declared "illiteracy free" when more than 96 percent of adults have been taught to read and write.

In 2001, a government census found nearly 14 percent of Bolivians were illiterate and nearly 26 percent of people in rural areas could neither read nor write.

"Thanks to help from our brothers from Venezuela and Cuba, today we are eradicating illiteracy in our country," Morales said in a ceremony Saturday.

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