Aleida Guevara, Guest of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in Britain


Aleida Guevara is in Britain as a guest of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to promote a year-long festival of Cuban culture. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign is an NGO that campaigns for an end to the US blockade of Cuba ( Guevara is a committed Marxist and medical doctor, just as her father (Ernesto “Che” Guevara) was. As Libby Brook’s article (The Guardian, 22 July 2009) explains, she was four and a half when her father left Cuba. “Che” Guevara, the iconic Argentine guerrilla leader, Marxist theorist, and second-in-command of the Cuban revolution, departed the island for Africa in 1965 to help lead other struggles.

Brook’s article addresses the embargo: “The vicious embargo imposed on Cuba by the U.S. the year after its revolution continues to suffocate the country. And as a practising paediatrician, Aleida is all too familiar with the daily realities of the blockade.” Speaking about the most heartbreaking aspects of the embargo, access to pharmaceutical products, Guevara gives an example of a six month old girl for whom the only treatment available was patented by the U.S. “We couldn’t get the medicine and the baby was dying. The only sin of that girl was the fact that she was born in Cuba.”

Guevara also comments about her father and his legacy as well as her ambivalence towards the commercialization of her father’s image and recent filmic representations of her father (in Walter Salles’s Motorcycle Diaries and Steven Soderbergh’s two-part biopic Che). “When I see [his face] commercialised, or used for advertising,” Aleida intones sharply, “I don’t like it.” However, she states that it depends on the context: “If a young person wears the T-shirt and starts to understand who this person was, then that’s fine.”

Guevara expresses conviction in the Cuban Revolution and its tenets. She says that her father’s legacy was his life. “My father knew how to love, and that was the most beautiful feature of him – his capacity to love. [. . .] His capacity to give himself to the cause of others was at the centre of his beliefs – if we could only follow his example, the world would be a much more beautiful place.”

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