Aleida Guevara: Cuba hit economic bottom after USSR dissolved

Morning Star | Saturday, 4 November 2017 | Click here for original article

CHE GUEVARA’S daughter Dr Aleida Guevara speaks to the Morning Star todat on the future of socialism as trade unionists, academics and activists unite to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

Dr Guevara, who was speaking at a TUC event to mark the centenary of the pivotal moment of the 20th century, said the Russian Revolution was such a historic moment globally as it showed what could be achieved when people come together to fight for change.

What does the centenary of the Russian Revolution mean to Cubans?

“It’s a historic date, very important not only for Cubans but for all of humanity, because it marked the beginning of a new era for the human race.

“An underdeveloped country like Tsarist Russia in that epoch managed to transform the world.

“And this gave hope to all the other peoples of the world, even of the third world, that we could achieve something.”

How did the Soviet Union help the Cuban revolution in material terms?

“It was indispensable in the first years to count on that support. Thanks to them we had the first arms to defend our revolution.

“But the first Cuban students were able to study in Russian universities because of that solidarity, because this revolution existed.”

When the Soviet Union was dissolved, how did that affect Cuba?

“You have to imagine what would happen if a European country, that depended on the European community, suddenly found itself outside.

“Not in your case,” she stressed of Britain.

“It’s different, you didn’t have the European Union’s currency, and you always did what you wanted as a country.

“We’re talking about a country that depended economically on that union, and suddenly that union disappeared.

“We always say: imagine a painter who is painting the ceiling, and suddenly they pull away the steps.

“We hit the bottom, economically that’s what happened in Cuba, we hit the bottom.”

How do you see the future of socialism in the world, as Cuba has continued along the socialist path with other countries like Venezuela trying to join it?

“We trust that, even though it’s a difficult task because you have to convince the people, go among the people, [to explain] why change is necessary. We have confidence that when the people grasp change and feel that they can live in another way, they will struggle for it.”

Dr Guevara is currently on a speaking tour of Britain marking 50 years since her father was killed.

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