Che’s granddaughter, Guzman’s son invited to Maoist doBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
KATHMANDU - Though he never came to Nepal, slain Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara remains one of the best-known foreign faces in the Himalayan republic that nursed a 10-year Communist revolution of its own.
His image in the celebrated red beret, immortalised by Cuban photographer Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, looks out from the backs of whizzing taxis and T-shirts hanging from souvenir shops.
Now Nepal is bracing for a closer encounter with the revolutionary. His granddaughter Lydia has been invited to attend a conference of Nepal’s formerly guerrilla Maoist party.
From Friday, the Maoists’ powerful student organisation starts its annual convention in Kirtipur town on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley to choose new leaders after seven years.
To be inaugurated by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who could have been Che’s spiritual brother with the 10-year “People’s War” he led in Nepal from 1996, the enclave has invited budding Communist leaders from 20 countries including India, China and Bangladesh.
Lydia has been invited on the strength of being Che’s granddaughter, presumably not because of her campaign for animal rights organisation People for Ethical Treatment of Animals last year, in which she posed topless, wearing her grandfather’s trademark beret and ammunition made of carrots.
While Lydia may not be advocating a revolution in other spheres, the other star invitee is playing an active role in political campaigns in his own country.
It is none other than jailed Peruvian revolutionary Abimael Guzman’s son, whose name has not been revealed by the Maoists due to security concerns.
Guzman, a philosophy professor whose Shining Path guerrillas led their own “People’s War” in Peru from 1980, and who was captured in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment, has been one of the biggest influences on Nepal’s Maoist movement after Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. Prachanda’s doctrine - Prachandapath - is said to have been influenced by the Shining Path.
However, Guzman’s son has to overcome several hurdles before he can touch down at Kathmandu.
“He agreed to come and we sent him Rs 300,000 for his fare,” Maoist student leader Leknath Neupane told IANS. “However, it is a long way from to Kathmandu from Peru and he has to pass through three countries in transit.
“He will come if he is able to emplane from the three different transit countries, possibly Spain, in the Middle East and then in South Asia.”
Guzman’s son, Neupane said, is active in the student movement in Peru.
The Shining Path is still banned in Peru and branded as a terrorist organisation by the US and European Union.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)