Literacy for the Americas was an audiovisual educational program implemented
in Mexico and other Latin American countries in the early 1940s by the
Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA). Walt Disney Studios made four short films
that were designed to teach illiterate residents of Latin Americahow to read and
write. In Mexico, this project was initially backed by the Secretariat of Public Education
(SEP) under Jaime Torres Bodet, who appointed Eulalia Guzmán to be the SEP’s
representative and thus to support the program. Walt Disney asked her to work out
a pedagogical proposal for the educational films. This article analyzes the proposal,
the development and production of these shorts, and their reception in Mexico.
It foregrounds Guzmán’s criticisms of these educational materials, which led the
OIAA representatives to withdraw them from circulation.