‘Che would have supported Iran’, say his children


Tehran : Nobody will ever know whether Marxist revolutionary Che Guevera, who was killed in 1967, would have viewed Iran and its clergy system as a close ally against the US.

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Two of his children, however, firmly believe that their legendary father would have been strongly supportive of the Islamic republic and its current standoff with the US over Tehran’s adamant continuation of its disputed nuclear programmes.

“Che would not only have approved our trip to Iran but also (would have) supported the country in its current struggle against the US,” Camilo Guevara said through an interpreter in a meeting with students at Amir Kabir University in Tehran at the weekend.

Camilo, 45, and his sister, Aleida, 46, were invited to Tehran by the non-governmental Cultural Alliance Centre and the Islamic Students’ Association of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, with the aim of building a bridge between the two rather contradictory systems of Iran and Latin America in general and Cuba in particular.

Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office as Iranian president, Iran has formed close relations with several Latin American states, including Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, despite grave ideological differences between Islamic Iran and the secular, socialist governments.

“We are witnessing a global political awakening with Iran and Latin America emerging as the front-runners of this new movement,” Morteza Firouzabadi, secretary of the students’ association, said in the Tehran meeting.

Although all the Iranian students at the meeting were from Islamic associations, they praised Che Guevera as if they were followers of socialist ideology.

Maysam Ghaffouri, head of the Cultural Union, said that like Islam, Guevera’s ideology knew no boundaries, and his struggle transcended geographical boundaries.

“There might be different cultures and different standpoints, but at the same time there are also common aspects which should be strengthened,” said Aleida Guevera, who just like Iranian women wore a long coat and scarf to hide her hair and body contour to conform to Islamic dress codes.

She gave as an example the sanctions imposed by the US on Cuba for the last 45 years, and recent threats by Washington to expand sanctions against Iran through the United Nations Security Council over Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

“Although we (Cubans) are not as rich as Iran and have no oil, we nevertheless resisted for over four decades. I have learned that the Iranian nation is resistant, too, and that is a very important common point between our two nations,” she said.

The Gueveras came to Tehran during the fasting month of Ramadan, when eating and drinking is forbidden in public during daytime. According to one of the students, they wanted to at least try fasting, too.

Camilo and Aleida, two of Che’s five children from his second wife, Aleida March, whom he married in 1959, also visited the shrine of the late leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in southern Tehran.

Camilo called it a “global necessity” to form an anti-US front – without regard to nationality, religion or race – a mission that is in line with his famous father’s ideology and enthusiasm for exploring different countries and peoples.

“Since the revolution and the imposed sanctions, Cuba learned who the real enemies and the real friends are,” Aleida said. “Iran is definitely one of Cuba’s new friends.”