Hands off Venezuela in Germany played a decisively role in the preparation and organisation of successful public meetings with Che Guevara´s daughter, Aleida Guevara, last week. The meetings on the situation in Latin America attracted far more people than even the biggest of optimists would have expected as 450 workers, youth and Latin American immigrants attended the Frankfurt meeting on Saturday, 25 March, and 250 were packed into the hall in Wiesbaden two days earlier.
Aleida Guevara, who works as a paediatrician in Havana and proudly defends her father’s ideals, had been invited to Germany by the “Linke Liste Wiesbaden”, a local left alliance, and meet fellow doctors and health workers in hospitals as well as anybody interested in the changing scene in Latin America. The comrades of HOV Germany did their utmost to make the two major public meetings an outstanding success.
Both in Frankfurt, where the local left alliance (Die Linke.WASG) and HOV were the organisers, and in Wiesbaden, where the left alliance and [‘solid], the socialist youth, were the organisers, Aleida emphatically defended the gains of the Cuban health and education systems on the basis of a planned economy. In spite of the US embargo and major economic difficulties, Cuba had managed to keep infant mortality extremely low and life expectancy on very high “first-world” levels at the same time. The Cubans had something to lose and would not allow the former rulers, capitalism and imperialism back onto the island, conquer the land and establish a “third world” capitalism, she stressed.
Aleida Guevara also criticised the hypocrisy of the European Union that deplored the “violation of human rights” in Cuba while accepting most severe violations of human right by the US administration in the Guantánamo military base as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was capitalism that denied 80% of humankind basic human rights such as health and education. Unlike in Cuba, in a potentially very rich country such as Argentina starvation and homelessness were on the order of the day for many children. This was indeed a very particular violation of human rights, which nobody in the US administration and European Union have really bothered about.
Aleida also emphasized the fact that in spite of economic problems Cuba would continue to send doctors, technicians and teachers to poor countries and reminded the audience of the continuing commitment by Cuban doctors in the earthquake zones in Kashmir as well as the involvement of some 23,000 Cuban teachers and health specialists in Venezuela.
César Osvelio Méndez González, Venezuelan Consul General in Frankfurt, spoke at both public meetings and underlined the special character of the cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba. He described the process of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and stressed the determination of the Bolivarian government to stand up against imperialist bullying and continue the work to the benefit of the poorer sections of society. Venezuela would remain vigilant and was prepared to fight back against any intervention by the US, he said. Another speaker on the platform in Wiesbaden was Déborah Azcuy, First Secretary at the Cuban embassy in Germany, who indicted the constant attempts by the US administration to harass the Cuban government and turn the clock back.
Both meetings were chaired by Hans-Gerd Öfinger who spoke on behalf of “Hands off Venezuela“ in Germany and urged the audience to get involved in the solidarity work and put pressure upon German trade unions to establish official links with the UNT, the new and militant Venezuelan union federation.
A press statement issued by the Venezuelan Consulate in Frankfurt in Spanish has also appeared at: