Bringing Embers of Hiroshima to Cuba
Che headed the Cuban delegation to Asia and Africa in 1959. During the delegation's visit to Japan, Che requested that they be allowed to go to Hiroshima, the requested turned down by the Japanese government on the grounds that it wasn't listed on the delegation's itinerary. (Omar Fernández, who was with Guevara on the delegation, wonders if the denial wasn't actually due to Tokyo's desire not to call attention to the US war crimes.1) Undaunted, Che, with two other delegates, jumped on a night train and visited Hiroshima on 25 July 1959 without telling the Japanese government. What Che saw, some of which was published in his article "Recuperase Japón de la tragedia atomica" (Verde Olivo, 19 October 1959), became part of the Cuban memory of Hiroshima.
Che also strongly recommended that Fidel Castro himself visit Hiroshima, which Fidel did in 2003. Fidel's 2003 visit, too, is part of this fascinating documentary.
In May this year, Atena Japan, together with other activist NGOs, brought Aleida Guevara to Japan, to celebrate "小さな国の大きな奇跡" (A Little Country Working Great Miracles). The people of Japan have much to learn from Cuban environmentalism as they confront their government bent on becoming a plutonium superpower.2
1 Former Defense Minister of Japan Kyuma Fumio memorably said in 2007 that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "shoganai" (couldn't have been helped), for the bombings were "necessary" to end the war before a Soviet invasion of Japan!
2 Gavan McCormack, "Japan as a Nuclear State" (Japan Focus, 1 August 2007); "Japan as a Plutonium Superpower" (Japan Focus, 9 December 2007); and "August Nuclear Thoughts: the New Proliferation" (Japan Focus, 4 August 2008).