Aleida Guevara: “In Cuba, the people are the only masters we serve”

Source:  The Dawn
October 2017

aleida guevara jan 208.jpgPhoto Credit: El Diario

Interview with Aleida Guevara March (1)

Interview conducted by Andrea Duffour *

-How is it that a Cuban doctor is taking part in humanitarian missions in Africa and taking interest in agrarian reforms in Brazil?

In Cuba doctors are educated to care for the people, the only master we serve. From the beginning of my career I accepted the international character of my calling and that is why it is normal that I should be prepared to go and work wherever I am needed.

Already for more than 25 years I have been working with the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in Brazil, and I am very proud of it. As a Latin American woman I think it is one of the most consistent popular movements we have, and again, as a doctor, I think of the need for adequate nourishment, especially for the children. The agrarian reform is essential for the people to be able to feed themselves; it needs to turn into reality our dream of being owners of what we produce, free from theft and plunder of our natural resources.

-What role could Che and Fidel play in the cultural struggle between capitalism and socialism today?

Che and Fidel are examples of cultured men who knew the important role cultural education plays in the struggle for liberation. Knowledge frees you, enables you to understand what it is that you need, and what you can do to fulfill these needs. Their lives are inspiring examples that push us forward. If they could succeed, why shouldn’t we?

-“Crear riquezas con la conciencia, no conciencia con las riquezas “ (Create riches, with conscience, not conscience concerned only with wealth) said late Fernando Martinez Heredia (2), great expert on Che and Fidel, who we’ve just lost…

We should realize the dream of a human being aware of its membership in a specs, capable of practicing solidarity and not brutality, compassionate and not indifferent, capable of understanding that the greatest wealth is knowing how to share what we have, even, for example, smiles. We are trying to turn this dream into reality, but we are constantly being taught that every day of our life we should be more and more individualistic, and forget that by nature we are social beings, who live in community with others. What is worst, by doing so we are destroying our foundations and are heading for a void.

-The Late Francois Houtart (3) has analysed the concept of a good life, of the indigenous peoples of the Andes, el sumak kawsay, which has been incorporated into the constitution of Ecuador. Is there anything comparable in the thoughts of Che?

Che was very clear in his thoughts and very consistent. His entire life showed what he thought. He is the best communist I know; what was important for him, throughout his work, is the well being of mankind, well being with dignity; that is why we talk of the right to work, the right to decent living accommodations, free healthcare and education as the inalienable rights of all human beings. We talk of respect, knowing that it must be won through hard work and struggle against great opposition, but we must be prepared to defend it.

-How would you define a revolutionary?

I think that our Fidel defined the revolutionary when he created the concept of Revolution: he must possess understanding of ethics, honesty, compassion, respect for the people, dedication to his goal, and a great capacity for love.

-In the film, Cuba Si! (Chris Marker, 1961), young Fidel explains that the French must understand that political parties have not resolved a single major problem, and that dominant classes might be moving in the direction of fascism, while the revolution in Cuba is on the side of socialism. In view of the social situation in France today, has this claim lost any of its relevance?

It is important to know how the French people feel. Are they happy with what they have? Do they feel safe? How do they see their future?

I live in a different society that is not perfect but concentrates on human beings and allows us to grow up learning from our mistakes, as we do so correcting them.

There are no parties in our elections – there are only the people; that fact defines the candidates and the people are without doubt the greatest participants. Perhaps it would be good to analyse the role of people’s scrutiny of candidates they name from the left. I have considerable sympathies for the workers party of Belgium, which will grow because people are able to sense the coming change. The times we are living in require that we should have fate in people. They should be shown clearly what we want, and why it is important that we do so. What do we need? Education accessible to all, which we must not allow to be privatized. For our patients, free high quality health care for all. Why do you allow, in your countries, public hospitals to be closed, or not to function as they should, forcing people to take their health problems to the private sector? And housing? If your government provides you with these, and with much more than all these, then you are happy, because otherwise you would have to look for other solutions, and only you can do that.

-If that is the case, are we in Europe usurping the world socialist?

I do not want to be too strict, but whenever I am in these regions I do not see any unity, we allow ourselves the luxury of divisions. When we are so few, what the devil are we doing? Socialism means respect for different peoples, fulfilled lives, and more than anything else unity, otherwise where can we find the strength that we need to change reality?

-Some friends from Cuba tell me that you have only one party, but that it protects the interests of the people, and that in Europe there are many parties bearing different names, but that they all represent only one party, the party of capital.

I agree.

-Frei Betto said “We have to make up our mind whether we want to save the capitalist system, or mankind” (4). What are the alternatives to capitalism in the world today?

Since the disappearance of European socialism, especially the Soviet Union, capitalism has turned into the most unscrupulous and brutal system. It no longer has any competition close by, and it is therefore not interested in preserving the public health care system, and certainly not the free high quality education; social achievements that took decades of workers’ struggle to achieve are being privatized and the worst thing of all is the indifference of the working classes that preceded this…

Do you ask yourself why it is that the World Health Organization came to my country to ask for help in trying to control the Ebola epidemic? It is because my people are educated on ethical values, solidarity, dignity and love. That is the reason why Cuban doctors risk their lives, because we are aware that the sacrifice of one man or one people is not important, if what is at stake is the fate of mankind.

-Aleida, how do you see the Cuban youth, born with all the benefits of the Revolution and perhaps taking them all for granted?

It is necessary to work with the young continuously, it is necessary to listen to them and show them the way, but always by personal example! The young are our hope, but they are, unfortunately, always put under the greatest pressure by those who wish to do harm to the revolutionary process. It is important that all the necessary information reaches them and is available to them; for example, watching recently an excellent television program about the struggle against the bandits who revolted after the victory of the Revolution, they recognized themselves in their fathers and grandfathers who had taken part in the epopee of the Revolution. The young were full of respect and admiration for our peasants, our army and the militia. I believe it is a healthy youth, compassionate, hugely patriotic and with revolutionary inclinations.

-In December of 2016 I also asked Fernando Martinez Heredia is there any reason for concern about the possible disillusionment or de-politicization of Cuban youth, comparable to the one that affected the young in the West. The Cuban philosopher agreed that capitalism is working on de-politicization and debilitation of the masses, to make sure they do not have unified ideas but by imposition no ideas at all, but he reassured me that Cuban youth is critically inclined and prepared. After the physical disappearance of Commandant Fidel, he said, many spontaneously proclaimed: “I am Fidel”.

Our dear friend was a wise man….

We are moving forward and it is true that the pain of losing the great father of all Cubans is turning into strength and creative energy; one day we will have to be prepared to say to people like them: You are gone, knowing that there is no retreat from our Revolution. Be continent, we are continuing your work and the future is secure.

-How wonderful it is to hear these words!

In 1964 one journalist (5) on the Francophone Swiss television asked Che whether anything had changed in the relationship of the US and Western Europe to Cuba. I am asking you the same question.

No, they are still dreaming of annexing the great part of the Antilles and do not understand that it is better for us to drown in the sea than betray the glory that we have lived. If you look into the documents published by the US admiral at the time when Cuba was still a Spanish colony, you will see that they were using the same methods as today, economic and naval blockades that were to destroy the island through famine and disease, decimate the population and prepare it for a take it over, because they knew us to be rebellious and invincible people.

-Can we talk about the most recent attacks, for example, the attempts to co-opt the young students and revolutionaries in Cuba, or carry out a soft coup d’état as in Venezuela, organized as usual by the US in collaboration with our European media?

They are not new attacks. They simply continue, using money as a means of subversion, a strategy to which only people with no ethics succumb. We must be aware of the strength of the enemy, Che said; North American imperialism must not be trusted at all. The case of Venezuela is a different matter; it is evidence of despair and proof that the people involved are completely without ethics. Can you imagine what it means to set fire to a children’s hospital? Can that be done by human beings? For my people, the life of a child is sacred. I do not understand and do not accept anything that jeopardizes the life of a child, so do not make me face such people because I would be in danger of losing control.

-How do the Cuban’s understand the Arab spring or the opposition in Syria?

First of all, we could ask any European how he would feel if the army of any country from the Third World interfered in their internal affairs. How would they feel if bombs started falling from the sky on their houses and hospitals? What would they think of the people who watch every day horrible scenes from those attacks and are unable to ask their governments to stop economic support for those responsible for those atrocities? The internal problems of a country can be solved only by its people and no one has the right to influence them. Our Benito Juarez has said “Respect for the rights of others means peace”. Manipulation of our lives and misinformation create confusion among people. Respect is essential; we can and we must live in peace.

-I have to ask you for help. Here in Europe we have lost all values and have become so poor that the only thing left to us is money. Che spoke of the creation of a new man (6) and of values not made of metal. How did you create this new man in Cuba? Is it possible to rise above one’s circumstances?

Dear friends, as Che has explained, the new man will never be a finished product; every time we improve society we must be prepared to improve ourselves as human beings; that would be the guarantee that everything that needs to be changed will change. That is our goal, and we are working on it.


* Andrea Duffour is member of the national Committee of the Friendship Association Switzerland – Cuba, http://www.cuba-si.ch

  1. (1)  Aleida Guevara is a medical doctor, allergy specialist, working at the William Soler Pediatric Hospital in Havana. Among other things she is the author of documentaries Chavez, Venezuela and the New Latin America (2004), Present Absences (2006), MST: Seed of Hope (2008), interview given to Joao Pedro Stédile, national leader of the Brazilian MST. She is the daughter of Aleida March and Che Guevara, and is the director of the Che Guevara Study Centre.
  2. (2)  Historian, essayist, philosopher, at the University of Havana, director of the Cuban magazine Critical Thought (Pensamiento Crítico). He died on June 12, 2017, several hours after completing his homage to Francois Houtart.
  3. (3)  Francois Houtart: cuba-si.ch/apres-le-capitalisme-quelles-alternatives-pourquoi-je-soutiens- lexperience-cubaine
  1. (5)  rts.ch/archives/tv/interview-du-che J.Dulmur, only interview in French,esp: cubadebate.cu/especiales/2017/06/16/entrevista-inedita-al-che-guevara-en-frances-1964
  2. (6)  Text by Che Guevara, written in the form of a letter in 1964, published as Socialism and Man in Cuba.

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Source:  Granma
October 3 2017

by: Ángel Freddy Pérez Cabrera | freddy@granma.cu

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” walk, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death.

villa clara youth

As part of the activities, on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front. Photo: Freddy Pérez Cabrera

SANTA CLARA.– Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” (Che’s route) walk this Thursday, October 5, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death, which will be commemorated across the island this October 8.

The walk will begin at 4.00 pm at the Marta Abreu de Las Villas Central University, which served as Guevara’s command headquarters during the capture of the city of Santa Clara, and where he returned in December 1959 to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Pedagogy. It will conclude close to the Loma del Capiro, in areas of the Sandino Cultural and Recreational Complex, with a concert by trova artist Adrián Berazaín, as José Antonio Marimón Carrazana, vice rector of expansion, computerization and communication of the institution, told Granma.

The event will be attended by young people from all higher education centers of the territory, including those studying at the MININT (Ministry of the Interior) Independent Faculty; Brigadier General Luis Felipe Denis; as well as students from the province’s schools, who will pay tribute to Che’s example and ideas.

che may day in Cuba.jpg

“Por la ruta del Che” is just one of many activities to be held in this province, which has the honor of guarding the remains of the Heroic Guerrilla and his fellow combatants, to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Voluntary work tasks will also be undertaken in workplaces and institutions, as part of the recovery efforts of the territory following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.

October 7 will see a cultural gala in Leoncio Vidal Park, while on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front.

A postage stamp commemorating the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the remains of Che and his comrades in arms to the city of Santa Clara will also be issued, while 50 students of the Ernesto Che Guevara semi-boarding school will be recognized as pioneers, in the act that will take place on the morning of October 8, in the square honored with his name.

Soldier of ideas

 

It is unquestionable that Fidel is incarnated in the hearts of millions of Cubans and admirers throughout the world.

We evoke him dressed in his customary olive green uniform with its epaulets of Comandante en Jefe, with his upright gait, friendly manner, inquisitive gaze; and the deep anti-imperialist convictions he shared with Martí; his iron will to overcome the hardest blows, his wisdom… and above all his infinite love for humanity, for the poor, to whom he dedicated his entire life.

The eminent Cuban writer, debater, professor and diplomat Raúl Roa García said of Fidel, “He hears the grass growing and sees what’s happening around the corner.” He is our undefeated Comandante, confronting any danger whatsoever to safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of Cuba. He is the man who, alongside the people, defeated a bloody military dictatorship and the dark imperialist designs of 11 U.S. administrations, which failed in their efforts to eliminate, even with attempts on his life, the example, the symbol, the soldier of ideas he was.

Che’s farewell letter to Fidel

It’s worth recalling the farewell letter Che Guevara wrote to Fidel, in which the legendary Argentine-Cuban said, “I have lived magnificent days at your side and felt the pride of belonging to our people in the luminous and sad days of the Caribbean (missile) Crisis.

“Few times has a statesman shone as brightly (as you did) on those days. I am also proud to have followed you without hesitation, identifying with your way of thinking, seeing, and evaluating dangers and principles.”

Today, the prolific seeds he sowed in millions of followers across the entire planet are flowering. And resounded in the sure words of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closing of the constituent session of the National Assembly of People’s Power 7th Legislature, February 24, 2008, when he said, “Fidel is Fidel. We all know it well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work when he is no longer physically present. Although his ideas always will be those which have made it possible to uphold the bastion of dignity and justice our country represents.” He was not mistaken.

This August 13, when Fidel would have celebrated his 91st birthday, he continues among us, surrounded by the affection of his people. He bequeathed to us his abiding guidance, his revolutionary firmness, his unwavering optimism and confidence in victory. Thus our best tribute will be making a reality of his principles every day, regardless of where he might be.

 

Cuba’s Unwavering Defence of Africa

las may cuba for africa jsc

About Cuba:  Quotations from Nelson Mandela

“The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa.  The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice, unparalleled for its principled and selfless character … your consistent commitment to the systematic eradication of racism is unparalleled … we in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise in the defence of one of us.

“From the point of view of size and population Cuba is a small country. But it is exercising an impact on world affairs which is similar to that of a super power. And Cuba has shown that it is just not a question of the size of a country but its policies and the calibre of its leaders that is important.

“We, in this part of the continent, were tremendously impressed by the role which Cuba played in the liberation of Angola. The Angolans themselves have done a great deal to win …but it is difficult to accept that they would have obtained their freedom at the time they obtained it if Cuba had not committed its forces and resources …towards the liberation of that country.”

Source:  JSC

Che’s Daughter Stresses Solidarity of Cuban Medical Missions

Buenos Aires

aleida 2Cuban medical missions work all over the world under the premise that solidarity is not to give what is left over but to provide what others need, said in this capital Dr. Aleida Guevara March.

Che’s daughter, who visited Argentina  to support the Operación Milagro (Operation Miracle) program that has restored sight to about 48,000 Argentines since 2005, highlighting in particular the departure of specialists to Africa to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz, saw off Wednesday night 165 health professionals, who travelled to Sierra Leone to be part of the global fight against Ebola.

The contingent is made up 62 doctors and 103 nurses, all experienced severe natural disasters and epidemics.

It is our duty, we are Afro-Latin Americans

This is what we are used to do, replied the doctor when Prensa Latina asked her opinion on this new solidarity aid.

‘It is our duty; we are Afro-Latin Americans, and we’ll take our solidarity to the children of that continent, for their contribution to our nation’, she added.

Aleida Guevara participated last night in the discussion ‘Health workers and international missions of Cuba’, organized by the Association of State Workers in its national headquarters in Buenos Aires.

Despite being poor and facing a blockade, Cuba has provided assistance to other countries without neglecting its own people

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Brazilian football club celebrates Che Guevara link

che with brazilians footballers in havana

By Lorena Arroyo
BBC Mundo

You would be forgiven for thinking that the football players with Che Guevara portraits emblazoned on their jerseys were members of the Cuban national team.

Instead, they play for a small Brazilian football team, Madureira Esporte Clube, from a Rio de Janeiro suburb.

Earlier this year, Madureira decided to use Alberto Korda’s famous photograph of the revolutionary leader for one of its new uniforms.

So far the jersey has only been used by the team’s Football 7, but that very team has just won the Brazilian seven-a-side League wearing the new kit.

che jerseys

Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25489007

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Alberto Korda: The man responsible for a photo story of the Cuban revolution

che in red

“You can imagine what it means to me,a humble photographer born on an island with 11 million inhabitants to have created an image that has been reproduced more than any other in the history of photography. My grand-children and great-grand-children will say:  Hell, my grand-father, my great-grand-father was an outstanding man!

I had the luck to take a photograph and leave behind something for humankind. I am not leaving great palaces, yachts, money in the bank, nothing of that kind. I leave behind a sample of my work during my stay in the world.” …  Alberto Korda, the person responsible for the image of Che seen above.

Listen to Alberto speak about how he got involved in the Cuban revolution and how he left,  according to some estimates, a photo story of about 55,000 images of this transformation.

http://www.havana-cultura.com/en/nl/visual-art/photographer/alberto-korda