Monday 7 March 2011


I was sad to see that Alberto Granado had passed away. I didn't know him personally but he was a renowned doctor. Early in his career he worked at Cabo Blanco leprosarium in Maiquetía, and in 1961 became professor of biochemistry at the School of Medicine of the University of Havana. Later that year, he was one of the founders of the Institute for Basic and Pre-Clinical Sciences. In 1962, he founded the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Santiago serving as senior professor there. Between 1986 and 1990, he took part in the creation of the Cuban Genetics Society and was appointed its president. He was without doubt responsible for saving many lives, and inspiring others. What a great man.

As the newspapers report, though, he was best known as Che Guevara's travelling companion during the famous Motorcycle journey that turned Che into a revolutionary. The film of this journey, The Motorcycle Diaries was truly inspirational some thirty years after the event. The Boy enjoyed it immensely, and we've watched it dozens of times. What I'm hoping The Boy has taken from it is the value of travel and seeing how the world really is. With Guavera, it was the extremes of wealth and poverty of freedom and virtual enslavement that drove him, and I hope The Boy sees that whilst difference is fundamental to making the world go round, extremes of any sort are damaging and dangerous.

It's disappointing to see William Hague has heaped humiliation on Britain's finest by sending them into turbulent Libya in the hope they could find rebel leaders to make contact with. The situation is very 'fluid', the outcome very uncertain, and the thought of a group of eight Brits knocking on doors (OK, I'm sure they weren't quite doing that) asking for rebel leaders does seem ridiculous. The Libyans have said it, and it is only common sense, that for this revolt to succeed it must do so without foreign interference which will taint and undermine it. UK politicians may be nervous about the outcome, but really at this stage sending anyone there is a primary school mistake. Reputations and jobs have already been lost here in the UK over the Libyan affair, but muddying the waters will only make things worse.