(OPE-L) Che's daughter visits Venezuela to prepare book and documentary UMENTARY]

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Feb 19 2004 - 08:39:18 EST

-------- Original Message --------
From: "Ocean Press" <info@oceanbooks.com.au>
Date: Wed, February 18, 2004 7:59 pm
To: <info@oceanbooks.com.au>

The following article appeared in Cuba's daily Granma on February 17.
The article follows a trip to Venezuela by Aleida Guevara, one of
Ernesto Che Guevara's daughters. The visit to Venezuela in the first 10
days of February was organised by Ocean Press to prepare a book of an
extended interview with President Hugo Chavez and a documentary on the
Venezuelan Revolution.

Both will be available in English and Spanish language versions in
coming months.

For more information contact info@oceanbooks.com.au

Pastor Batista & Franklin Reyes

Daily Granma, February 17, 2004

CARACAS. - A mix of admiration, surprise and happiness was seen on faces
throughout Venezuela last February 8, when President Hugo Chávez
announced on his personal television program that Aleida Guevara March,
daughter of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, would be speaking during the

A few days later, just as she was about to return to her beloved
homeland of Cuba, Aleida spoke to me with her habitual precision,
piercing gaze and personal warmth. She assured me that it was she who
was surprised and grateful to visit Venezuela, and encouraged to find so
much material for the documentary on the Bolivarian process and to be
able to interview the President of the Republic — an interview to be
published in book form.

She emphasises, "I achieved the initial aim, particularly the
documentary, because we were so warmly welcomed wherever we went. We
managed to interview people in the street, Cuban doctors, the Minister
of Defense, Venezuela's former ambassor to Cuba (and now the
presidential coordinator of the social reform programs) and the
President himself..."

In high spirits after completing the project, which was undertaken
jointly with the publishing house Ocean Press, Aleida Guevara traveled
through marginal areas during her stay in Venezuela. Although these
zones have historically been excluded from urban development programs,
today the government in putting in place several different social
welfare plans.

"It was lovely and comforting at the same time to see the Cuban doctors
offering their help to the barrios, paying attention to the conditions
in which they live and work and the opinions of those who live there. In
the barrio of the homeless, for example, there were people with the
photograph of my father on their sweaters, and they greeted me with
incredible warmth. Things like that are very exciting, as they show
great affection for Cuba and for my father."

— But certain sectors of the Venezuelan press, known for their malicious
criticism of the government, have published lies about the principles
which characterized Che.

"In Venezuela there are a huge number of Cuban doctors, brought up in a
revolutionary process with very strong principles. Che has always been
present in those principles. I haven't the slightest doubt that in every
one of them, the technicians and all the Cubans who are offering their
help to Venezuela, there is the living presence of my father."

—And in this context, how do you see President Chávez?

"The people love him. He is a leader, and not only for the moment; he
has won the respect of his people over a long period of time. The best
example of this was in the events of April 11, 12 and 13, 2002 [the
attempted coup], where the people responded en masse to rescue their
President. This was an utterly unique situation."

—On the other hand, the opposition is in disarray.

"And it will continue to be, especially because it can be so easily
proven that it has committed fraud. And if the judges of the CNE
(National Electoral Council of Venezuela) have any pride, the only
response if to rule that fraud was committed. It is for this reason that
the opposition appears so desperate, which is a foolish attitude to
have. We can only hope that they don't become so stupid as to commit
crimes against their own people."

— Do you have a final message?

"It would be difficult for one individual to pass on a message. It is
better that the message comes from our volunteers in Venezuela: every
time a Cuban international volunteer wins the respect and affection of
the Venezuelan people, that is the best possible message. And I believe
that they are achieving that, that they are carrying out their work
well, shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, ever onwards.

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