29 min

The Cuban dad who became a lifeline for Chernobyl's children Outlook

    • Personal Journals

In 1990, Manuel Barriuso was a professor of Russian literature in Havana when one morning he was ordered to the city's paediatric hospital. Unknown to him, a plane-load of seriously ill children – all victims of the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster – had arrived in Cuba for free treatment in a historic humanitarian program. And Manuel – who had no medical background – would be one of their translators. He had to abandon Tolstoy and Chekov and learn about oncology to translate life and death conversations between medics, sick children and their distressed parents. Manuel's sons Sebastián and Rodrigo have turned their father's story into the award-winning feature film, Un Traductor.

Presenter: Emily Webb
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Translations by Jose Lopez and Melissa Riggall, and voiceover by Martin Esposito.

Picture: Manuel Barriuso with his sons Sebastián and Rodrigo Barriuso, 1992.
Credit: Courtesy of Rodrigo & Sebastián Barriuso

Get in touch: outlook@bbc.com

In 1990, Manuel Barriuso was a professor of Russian literature in Havana when one morning he was ordered to the city's paediatric hospital. Unknown to him, a plane-load of seriously ill children – all victims of the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster – had arrived in Cuba for free treatment in a historic humanitarian program. And Manuel – who had no medical background – would be one of their translators. He had to abandon Tolstoy and Chekov and learn about oncology to translate life and death conversations between medics, sick children and their distressed parents. Manuel's sons Sebastián and Rodrigo have turned their father's story into the award-winning feature film, Un Traductor.

Presenter: Emily Webb
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Translations by Jose Lopez and Melissa Riggall, and voiceover by Martin Esposito.

Picture: Manuel Barriuso with his sons Sebastián and Rodrigo Barriuso, 1992.
Credit: Courtesy of Rodrigo & Sebastián Barriuso

Get in touch: outlook@bbc.com

29 min

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