The daughter of leader and hero of the Cuban Revolution, Ernest ‘Che’ Guevara, visited The University of Sheffield as part of a tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her father’s death.
The tour, hosted by Cuba Solidarity Campaign, sees Aleida Guevara, a Cuban paediatrician and medical mission veteran, holding talks about the impact of the blockade on Cuba and its effects on Cuba’s education and health system, amongst many other things.
She said: “Talking about the blockade is very easy, but living it is a completely different experience for example we had lorries from the Soviet Union coming in, the trucks were very good and resistant but there engines consumed a lot of petrol – to save petrol we approached Ferrari to change the engines for Cuba until the FBI got involved”.
“I was in Italy during this time and was able to read the letter from FBI which said if you maintain relationships with Cuba, neither you or your family will be able to set foot in America, and none of your products will be sold in the American market. Shortly after Ferrari’s negations with Cuba was placed on hold, this is just a small glimpse of the effects of the Cuba blockade and why the people of Cuba fight everyday”.
According to World Bank figures, Cuba spends more as a proportion of its GDP on education than any other country in the world – it’s education system which is free is widely seen as amongst the best in the world. Cuban citizen’s also benefit from a free health system.
Ms Guevara said “Cuba has the ability to help the world, we have developed vaccines for prostate cancer and we are in the final stage of the study for breast cancer – there are vaccines ready in Cuba for anyone to use but we need to get rid of the blockade because if not people in Europe and the rest of the world cannot get access to these medicines”.
She stressed the importance of solidarity and hope, and when asked about the US and Israel governments recent decision to vote in favour of the blockade at the UN again, she said: “it was expected, they are both best-friends and are very similar, they support each other in the biggest disasters in the world and therefore it is expected they voted this way”.
Che Guevara was executed by Bolivian army officer, Mario Teran, after orders from the CIA in Bolivia in 1967.