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Che Guevara - Revolutionary Medicine

Che Guevara - Revolutionary Medicine

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Published by: Matty on Apr 18, 2009
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09/12/2010

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Che Guevara
Che GuevaraOn Revolutionary Medicine
This simple celebration, another among the hundreds of publicfunctions with which the Cuban people daily celebrate theirliberty, the progress of all their revolutionary laws, and theiradvances along the road to complete independence, is of specialinterest to me.Almost everyone knows that years ago I began my career as adoctor. And when I began as a doctor, when I began to studymedicine, the majority of the concepts I have today, as arevolutionary, were absent from my store of ideals.Like everyone, I wanted to succeed. I dreamed of becoming afamous medical research scientist; I dreamed of workingindefatigably to discover something which would be used to helphumanity, but which signified a personal triumph for me. I was, aswe all are, a child of my environment.After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also tomy character, I began to travel throughout America, and I becameacquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, Ihave visited, to some extent, all the other Latin Americancountries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first
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Che Guevara
as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact withpoverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a childbecause of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by thecontinual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father canaccept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs oftenin the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And Ibegan to realize at that time that there were things that werealmost as important to me as becoming a famous or making asignificant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help thosepeople.But I continued to be, as we all continue to be always, a child of my environment, and I wanted to help those people with my ownpersonal efforts. I had already traveled a great deal - I was inGuatemala at the time, the Guatemala of Arbenz- and I had begunto make some notes to guide the conduct of the revolutionarydoctor. I began to investigate what was needed to be arevolutionary doctor.However, aggression broke out, the aggression unleaded by theUnited Fruit Company, the Department of State, Foster Dulles- inreality the same thing- and their puppet, called Castillo Armas.The aggression was successful, since the people had not achievedthe level of maturity of the other Cuban people of today. One fineday, a day like any other, I took the road of exile, or at least, I took the road of flight from Guatemala, since that was not my country.Then I realized a fundamental thing: For one to be a revolutionary
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Che Guevara
doctor or to be a revolutionary at all, there must first be arevolution. Isolated individual endeavour, for all its purity of ideals, is of no use, and the desire to sacrifice an entire lifetime tothe noblest of ideals serves no purpose if one works alone,solitarily, in some corner of America, fighting against adversegovernments and social conditions which prevent progress. Tocreate a revolution, one must have what there is in Cuba - themobilization of a whole people, who learn by the use of arms andthe exercise of militant unity to understand the value of arms andthe value of unity.And now we have come to the nucleus of the problem we havebefore us at this time. Today one finally has the right and even theduty to be, above all things, a revolutionary doctor, that is to say aman who utilizes the technical knowledge of his profession in theservice of the revolution and the people. But now old questionsreappear: How does one actually carry out a work of socialwelfare? How does one unite individual endeavour with the needsof society?We must review again each of our lives, what we did and thoughtas doctors, or in any function of public health before therevolution. We must do this with profound critical zeal and arrivefinally at the conclusion that almost everything we thought andfelt in that past period ought to be deposited in an archive, and anew type of human being created. If each one of us expends hismaximum effort towards the perfection of that new human type, it
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