Che Guevara's Daughter Condemns Unjust Trial in Miami

Mar 21, 2003 02:20 PM EST

The daughter of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Dr Aleida Guevara March, speaking yesterday at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WCC), condemned as "deeply flawed" the trial of five Cubans in Miami, Florida, USA. The five were charged with accessory to murder and spying after infiltrating an anti-Cuban terrorist group based in Miami. In her presentation, Dr Guevara March, a pediatrician practising in Cuba, said the trial proceedings had flaunted the basic legal rights and norms due to accused people under American law.

Dr Guevara March's trip to Geneva is part of a wave of protests against the irregularities of the trial and the harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to life. She was accompanied in her visit to the Ecumenical Centre by Cuba's ambassador to Switzerland and a delegation of Cuban officials. "We ask the World Council of Churches to be in solidarity with us, to ask for clemency for the five Cubans under arrest in Miami", Dr Guevara March said. Her visit follows that of the president of the Cuban Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Reineiro Arce, who had made the same plea to staff of the WCC.

"The World Council of Churches", said Dr Guillermo Kerber of the International Relations staff "is concerned that justice be done and all legalities be taken into account in the legal proceedings against these five people."

In her wide-ranging presentation, Dr Guevara March talked about the impact of the US blockade on the health of Cuba's children. "Doctors cannot get basic medication for children suffering from leukemia," she said. Noting current concerns for the situation in Iraq, Dr Guevara March pointed to the impact of a similar blockade on the children of Iraq, and urged the WCC to continue being part of worldwide calls to prevent war in Iraq.

In her closing remarks, she shared stories of her early memories of her father, the Argentinian revolutionary who fought with Cuba's leader, Fidel Castro, in the revolution of 1959. "We, his family, fight against use of the term "myth" to describe him. My father was a man with virtues ... and with some flaws," she said to a round of laughter. "If we turn him into a myth, he is not a man. We want him to be known as a man. A man who loved a woman with whom he had four children in five years. A man who went to work for people other than his own people, who loved those people and fought for them."

By Albert H. Lee
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