Monday, January 28, 2008
Farewell to a Revolutionary Combattant
Aleida was a priceless support of those who, like myself, were students at the University of Havana before the triumph of the Revolution and were involved in the resistance to the Batista dictatorship, not only by hiding our firearms and leaflets but also visiting those who were wounded during the protest rallies providing them with food and information, said doctor Hector Terry in his farewell speech.
These tasks did not prevent her, poor, black and a woman, from being at the front of student and civic demonstrations. After the March of the Torches in commemoration of Jose Marti´s birth centenial, on January 27, 1953, she was arrested and detained by the police.
From her humble job in the Hospital Calixto Garcia, she was an agitator in favor of the needy and disposessed. When the political history of that hospital is written, the name of Aleida Rodriguez has to be extolled, said doctor Terry.
After 1959, Aleida was a lifeline getting her comrades together, counseling and educating the young generation of youth and student leaders, never wavering before the revolutionary tasks and being a stalwart against corruption and wrongdoing.
The ceremony ended with the student identity slogan become a war cry before the Revolution. Who lives? Caribs, Who goes? University.
Personally, Aleida was one of my dearest friends for over 40 years. Modest, shunning privileges, she was one of those rare persons you can count on in the good, but above all, in the bad times. During her last months, barely three since she was diagnosed with colon cancer, she announced to her friends she would have a farewell party with friends and family. That takes a lot of courage and she gave us all a lesson of humanity to last us until death.