Che Guevara’s daughter gets goose bumps while reciting the first verses of the song dedicated by the Cuban people to President Fidel Castro when he died: “Today I don’t want to speak to you as commander or boss, but rather as my father; don’t leave go my hand – I still can’t walk properly without you. “
Virginia Moreno Molina
“Fidel was a father to me,” she says, recalling her childhood. And she also remembers how at the age of seven she lost Che, her father, and how Fidel “was by my side at that moment and helped me through the pain”.
And although she is a doctor and knew that day would necessarily come, she feels that, just a few days after the first anniversary, “she is not yet able to take it on board”. “It’s so wonderful that a people, who loved him and still love him, should react like that,” she explains proudly about the song dedicated to the former president of Cuba, a country that she believes currently has its best government.
Almost a year after Castro’s death, and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of her father’s death, Aleida began her tour of the United Kingdom in early November.
She was brought here by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign so that people could listen to her experiences and opinions in the face of current events.
As a result, Guevara spoke exclusively to The Prisma: about the leftist governments in Latin America, the position of the United States and Trump and about the more than 50-year blockade of Cuba.
What has Trump’s arrival as US president meant for Latin America?
For Latin America and the world in general, it’s dangerous when you have a president and you don’t know what he is going to do. When you have no idea how he will react.
In addition, unfortunately, he has extraordinary power at his disposal: he can start a nuclear war with one touch of his little finger. It really is dangerous.
The US blockade of Cuba is leading to great financial losses for the country – an almost unsustainable situation. How do you think the situation will develop?
The blockade has been in force for more than 50 years, but it has never blocked our desire to laugh and live life. The situation is difficult: th
ere are real economic problems and the next few years may become more difficult if this man is still in power. But it doesn’t give us sleepless nights. We will look for alternatives as we always do and try to get the best out of ourselves as a people. Above all, because we are no longer alone. There is solidarity between quite a few of us, especially in Latin America.
There are some interesting movements around in the region: Landless Rural Workers in Brazil and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela for example. We also have important social movements going on in Ecuador, although recently we’ve had a setback. We’ve a president in Bolivia who speaks out regardless, and who maintains very high standards regarding the truth and the dignity of his people.
There are situations that make us realize that, regardless of what might happen in the coming years, Cuba is not isolated. And that means that the blockade – regardless of whether the United States makes it tougher or not – doesn’t hurt us as much as before because a lot of people are supportive of us.
What is your opinion of what is happening in Argentina with President Mauricio Macri?
It’s terrible what is going on there, but what strikes me the most is how Macri’s party in these last elections is achieving good results again. What’s going on? I can’t understand it. The Argentinian people are bound to be suffering the consequences: unemployment, price hikes, falling wages..
A murdered youth has just disappeared, in a country where there are more than 10,000 people already missing. And suddenly, with this man in power a young man fighting for the Mapuches disappears. And the reaction from the people? There are a lot in the streets, but it’s not enough.
There needs to be more strength shown in Argentina for us to change this. What is happening there today cannot go unchallenged. They will have to react somehow and put an end to this situation.
Although in Latin America there has been a very large wave of leftist movements, it seems that this has been petering out in recent years …
The problem is that these leftist movements don’t bring about profound changes in society. Then, along comes a president like Macri and in 12 days the 12 years of changes under the previous government gets undone. This means that the changes brought about were not deep enough in the first place.
The left, or rather the progressives took power and tried to make important changes and deal with some difficult situations. But they tend not to bring about profound changes in society.
Is this where the left is failing?
Of course, if you take power you must exercise it as in Venezuela. What is the first thing that Hugo Chávez did? Change the old Constitution because the old laws in our countries are made by the wealthy classes in those countries. Which means that they are made so that these wealthy classes can govern in perpetuity. If you don’t change these old laws, you can’t govern, you can’t bring about real change.
So the first thing to change are these laws, with elections of course. And start creating new ones, which help preserve the changes you’re bringing about. This is one of the issues where we’ve been lacking regarding some of these leftist governments which in reality failed to bring about profound change.
After the last regional state elections held in Venezuela, how do you see Maduro’s position regarding the country? Do you think that there could be a military invasion or strategy of intervention deployed by the opposing countries?
The United States is the one most likely to really lose it, in that sense. But my dad said many years ago that there would necessarily go on to be two, three…many Vietnams.
And the United States is indeed responsible for many: North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba … it’s too much.
They can’t really have the power at this time to crush a process. And this is the time for us to act.
This is when we truly have to break them, using the power of the people. But for that, we have to be fully organised and direct all the people’s power towards a common goal. At the present time in which we live in this world, people have to start reacting. Changes are not heaven sent: either we forge them ourselves or have them foisted upon us.
Nowadays, it seems there are no icons, as Che was. What is the reason for this?
It’s possible we’re not aware of them. It may be that thousands exist, but we don’t know them because they don’t have the means to make themselves known.
There are revolutionary processes around led by wonderful men. For example, the Saharawi had a young military leader that died fighting in Morocco.
The trouble is the UnitedStates usually tries, by all and any means, to give us inaccurate information about what is going on, to manipulate the news and hush up liberation movements. It has used wars to silence various peoples – to put an end to these liberation movements. A
nd this we cannot allow.
Is the media involved in this question of manipulation?
Very much, because unfortunately, mainstream media turns its professionals into parrots. In other words, imagine you have received some news and have to respond to it. If that news turns out not to be true though it’s your name that ends up on it. So, how can you justify doing it? Well, what these journalists are saying is ‘if I don’t, I don’t get paid.’
(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – firstname.lastname@example.org)