From Cuba to Kuba: Che Guevara and the Awakening of an Internationalist Movement

Gisele Eboma performing

From the Caribbean Island of Cuba to the Kongo Kingdom of Kuba in the heart of Africa. People joined together to commemorate (or reflect on) the birth of Cuba’s Internationalism through remembering Che Guevara’s work in the Congo. Motivated by the overthrow and subsequent assassination of democratically-elected Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961, Che Guevara led a secret Cuban expedition to the Congo in April of 1965 under heavy disguise, to assist in the fight for liberation.

Through art, dance, drumming, documentaries, discussions and recollections, the event recounted Cuba’s involvement in the Congo under Che’s leadership. They also discussed Cuba’s international solidarity efforts with African liberation movements, and explored how to carry Che’s torch in promoting solidarity between Africa and Latin America today.

They showed clips from Jihan El-Tahri’s documentary Cuba: An African Odyssey and Freddy Ilunga: Che’s Swahili Translator.  Pan-Latin hors d’oeuvres were provided by Café Arte followed by a discussion led by Ofunshi Oba Koso, President of MN Yoruba Cuba Association and protégé of the late Freddy Ilanga (Che’s personal interpreter in the Congo) and Kambale Musavuli, Spokesperson of Friends of the Congo.  Ofunshi shared his experience of growing up in Cuba as a young Afri-Cuban revolutionary under the tutelage of Freddy Ilunga, Victor Drake (Second-in-Command of Che’s guerilla unit in Congo) and other members of the historical mission. Kambale will gave a brief overview of Congo’s current situation and discuss current solidarity efforts between young Congolese and young visionaries in Latin America as well as share opportunities for involvement.

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