Aleida Guevara

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Aleida Guevara
Aleida Guevara.JPG
Born (1960-11-24) November 24, 1960 (age 53)
Cuba
Residence Havana, Cuba
Nationality Cuban
Occupation Physician

Aleida Guevara March (born 24 November 1960) is the eldest daughter of four children born to Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his second wife, Aleida March.

She is a doctor of medicine, and like her father, a Marxist. She is based at the William Soler Children's Hospital in Havana and has also worked as a physician in Angola, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. She is interviewed about the philosophy behind universal health care in Michael Moore's film Sicko.

Guevara has been an advocate for human rights and debt relief for developing nations.[1] She is the author of the book Chávez, Venezuela and the New Latin America.[2]

Early youth[edit]

Although Aleida was only four and a half when her father left Cuba to foment revolution in the Congo, and almost 7 years old when he was executed in Bolivia, she still has fond memories of him.[3] One such story that she has shared publicly is that her father (Che) would make up animal stories for his faraway children, stating:

My father didn't have the opportunity to enjoy our childhoods. But when he was away, which was most of the time, he would send us stories and drawings on postcards. My brother Camilo was told off at nursery school for using swearwords, and my mother confronted Che because he had a habit of swearing – as all Argentinians do. He was in Africa and he wrote to Camilo telling him that he couldn't swear at school, or Pepe the Caiman [invented by Guevara] would bite off Che's leg. So he had to stop swearing to protect his father.[3]

Her father's influence[edit]

Guevara family 1963

My father's writings are like those of José Martí, the values they encapsulate are everlasting.

— Aleida Guevara [4]

Guevara refers to her father Che as a source of personal inspiration. While giving speeches throughout the world she often mentions his writings, while remarking that she finds his diaries particularly helpful for their "political insights and emotional maturity". She has also stated that she finds herself occasionally exclaiming: "Caramba! If only we'd put in practice this or that suggestion we would be in a better position now."[4] In reference to her father's widespread use as a symbol of rebellion, she has stated that when she sees a child carrying his image on a march and the child says "I want to be like Che and fight until final victory", that she feels elated.[3]

In discussing her father's legacy, Aleida has remarked that:

My father knew how to love, and that was the most beautiful feature of him – his capacity to love. To be a proper revolutionary, you have to be a romantic. 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.[3]

Angolan medical mission[edit]

Guevara cites her time as part of a Cuban medical mission in Angola as leaving a lasting mark. She describes the impact of this experience with these words:

"I managed to save many children's lives, but sometimes I just couldn't. The sorrow and regret stay with you forever. The impotence felt at the time motivates me to act against racism, the exploitation of human beings, and the frequent indolence of those who accept things as they are."[4]

Current work and personal life[edit]

Aleida Guevara on Subversive Festival

As of 2009 Guevara helps run two homes for disabled children in Cuba and two more for refugee children with domestic problems. As a pediatrician specializing in childhood allergies, she has also been involved in medical support for a community in the flooded area around Rio Cauto in eastern Cuba, while she has announced plans to work on the Island of Youth, which was devastated by several 2008 hurricanes.

She also participates as public intellectual and activist in conferences, debates and festivals, such as the Subversive Festival on May 4–8, 2013 in Zagreb, Croatia, where she is guest speaker next to other notable public thinkers like Slavoj Zizek and Tariq Ali.[5]

She currently has two daughters, Estefania (aka 'guapísima') and Celia.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Time to Act, Not Just Talk by Aleida Guevara, The Guardian, October 13, 2004
  2. ^ Riding My Father's Motorcycle by Aleida Guevara, The New York Times, October 9, 2004
  3. ^ a b c d Che Guevara's Daughter Recalls her Revolutionary Father by Libby Brooks, The Guardian, July 22, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d Daughter of the Revolution by People's Weekly World Newspaper July 7, 2009
  5. ^ "Oliver Stone, Alexis Tsipras Join Croatia ‘Subversives’". Balkan Insights. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 

External links[edit]