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Saint Che· ࠬe Truth Behind
the Iegend of the Heroic
Guerilla, Ernesto Che Guevara
भe young Che, oi ےDonۏt ciy foi me, Aigentinaۓ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
भe fascist ioots of Cheۏs woild view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¯
Che the stalinist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¯
Che the executionei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Che the buieauciat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
भe tiagedy of Che Guevaia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Che died foi oui sins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Appendix· भe cuban anaicho-syndicalists in the 19¯0ۏs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
luithei Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1¯
ےChe was the most complete human being of oui age.ۓ
ۊ Jean Paul Saitie
A peasant woman lights a candle to the saint and piays that hei young son
will get well and the potato ciop will be a big one this yeai. Hei piayeis, and
the piayeis of othei peasants, have been answeied befoie, claim the villageis.
ےHe looked just like Oui Loid lying theie dead in the schoolhouse,ۓ she tells the
television inteiviewei. भe name of this miiacle-woiking saint` Einesto Che
Letۏs not laugh at these peasants. Donۏt look down upon them with ےdeveloped
woildۓ aiiogance. No doubt Che ےdoesۓ inteivene in theii poveity-stiicken lives
ۊ as do all the othei saints. And who aie we to claim absolute knowledge of the
woild and human mind and all its woikings`
How would Che feel about the incense and candles buint in his name` As a
militant Communist and atheist he would have dismissed it all as ciude supeisti-
tion fiom a ieactionaiy past. How iionic foi such a peison to become a saint. But
not only Bolivian peasants have ieveience foi the dead gueiiilla. भiity yeais
aझei his muidei, his pictuie is plasteied on the walls of half the student iesidences
of the woild. His stein, ascetic gaze staies out at you fiom innumeiable Tee shiits
and badges. भe Che Guevaia mystique is all-peivasive.
One canۏt help asking whethei he deseives this idolatiy. At ਈist glance one
could easily give an unqualiਈed aਊimative answei. Heie was someone given the
Numbei Two position in Cuba, who stepped down to ਈght in the jungle foi what
he believed was libeiation. Sick with asthma and with a tiny band of followeis
he was hunted down and muideied by the Bolivian aimy. Guevaia was also
the peifect iomantic ਈguie ۊ handsome, chaiismatic, and genuinely loved by
women. No lifeless intellectual Stalin-clone he, noi a seciet peiveit like Mao, oi
a megalomaniac like his old fiiend lidel, but a ieal man. He could have stepped
out of any iomantic novel.
And he does look Chiist-like lying dead in that famous photogiaph.
Yes, it is possible to undeistand the fascination that many people, paiticulaily
the young, have with the man. But undeistanding a phenomenon is one thing,
whethei it piesents a tiue pictuie of ieality is anothei. loi this, we must look
behind the mystique.
ࠬe young Che, or هDonلt cry for me, Argentinaو
Duiing Che Guevaiaۏs foimative yeais, Aigentina was dominated by the Peio-
nist Movement. Peionismo, laigely the invention of Peionۏs biilliant wife, Eva,
was the neaiest thing to peifect fascism that evei existed.
loiget about all the piopaganda and foolishness that has enciusted aiound
the woid ےfascist.ۓ loiget about Nazi-fascism and the cleiical fascism of lianco
and Salazai. By fascism l mean the tiue essence of what was a ievolutionaiy
movement ۊ oi leझ-wing fascism.
Tiue puie fascism, as envisaged by Mussolini, giew out of the militant leझ-
wing of ltalian Socialism. lt was an aठempt to impose the Social Demociatic
piogiamthiough dictatoiship and aimed foice. भe movement dispensed with the
steiile positivism and evolutionism of Oithodox Maixism, substituting iomantic
emotionalism, extieme nationalism, a cult of the will and of the ےman of action.ۓ
भe goal was to nationalize industiy and suboidinate all classes to the needs of
the State. भe woiking classes weie to beneਈt fiom this ievolution ۊ but only so
long as they iemained subseivient to the lascist State. Mussoliniۏs pioblem was
that he nevei had the suppoit of the woiking class and thus had to tuin to the
tiaditional middle classes. भus much of his ievolution only iemained on papei.
भis was not the situation which faced the Peions. Moie than 1¯ yeais befoie
they took powei, the geneials smashed the poweiful anaicho-syndicalist tiade
unions and only small iemnants iemained. भe woikeis weie pooi, unoiganized
and voiceless. Eva Duaite-Peion was able to build a laboui movement by ਈlling an
oiganizational vacuum (and wheie necessaiy smashing hei weakened opponents).
भus Peionism (Aigentine fascism) had a solid base among the woikeis. With
piodding fiom the evei-eneigetic Evita, the movement nationalized the banks,
insuiance companies, mines and iailioads. As a iesult, Aigentina had piobably the
laigest state-capitalist sectoi outside of a Stalinist iegime. Wages weie foiced up
by deciee and a host of social beneਈts intioduced foi Los Descamisados (liteially
ےthe shiitless ones,ۓ the woiking class followeis of the Peions). Even the Chuich
was aठacked. भe ےanti-impeiialistۓ game was played to an excess, alteinating
between violent anti-Ameiicanism and anti-Biitish sentiment. भe foieignei was
made the scapegoat foi all of Aigentinaۏs pioblems.
Che Guevaia was sympathetic to Peionism and imbibed most of its ideas. ln
many ways he was to iemain undei the spell of Peionist ideology all his life. ln
19¯¯, aझei he had opted foi Stalin, he could also claim that ےwe have to give Peion
all possible suppoit . . . ۓ (p. 12¯)
When Peion fell he stated· ےl will confess with
भe numbeis in paientheses iefei to the page numbeis of $IF ڞ " 3FWPMVUJPOBSZ -JGF by John
Lee Andeison, Giove Piess NY, 199¯. भis is the deਈnitive biogiaphy of Guevaia, containing
all sinceiity that the fall of Peion deeply embiठeied me . . . Aigentina was the
Paladin of all those who think the enemy is in the Noith.ۓ (p. 182) Duiing the
Cuban ievolution, Che called his new gueiiilla ieciuits Los Descamisados (p. 231),
the name Peion gave to his followeis.
भis aਇection foi Peionism nevei ceased. Che told Angel Boilenghi (Peionۏs
foimei Ministei of the lnteiioi) in 19õ1, that Peion was the most advanced embod-
iment of political and economic iefoim in Latin Ameiica.
ln 19õ2 Che declaied
the Peionistas had to be included within Aigentinaۏs ievolutionaiy fiont. lidel
asked Peion to visit Cuba. John Cooke, Peionۏs peisonal iepiesentative, visited
Cuba and lauded the Revolution. (p. ¯39)
ࠬe fascist roots of Cheلs world view
One can see Peionist (and geneially fascist) inਉuence in many aspects of Cheۏs
thinking. ln teims of what was needed to make a ievolution, Che believed that
ےWhat was iequiied to make political headway. . . was stiong leadeiship and a
willingness to use foice.ۓ (p. ¯0) Che was nevei conceined about lidelۏs dictatoiial
and autociatic ways. He believed the tiue ievolution could only be achieved by a
ےstiongman.ۓ (p. 319)
He also had the fascist obsession with the will ۊ ےwill powei will oveicome
eveiything. . . Destiny can be achieved by will powei . . . Die, yes, but iiddled
with bullets . . . a memoiy moie lasting than my name is to ਈght to die ਈghting.ۓ
भus wiote an 18 yeai old Einesto Guevaia in 194¯. (p. 44) भis was not just teen
age melodiama. At the age of 2¯, while in Guatemala, Che had a ےievelationۓ of
which he wiote· ےAnd l see . . . how l die as a saciiਈce to the tiue standaidizing
ievolution of wills . . . now my body contoits, ieady foi the ਈght, and l piepaie
my being as if it weie a sacied place so that the bestial howling of the pioletaiiat
can iesonate.ۓ (p. 124)
lascist ideology dismisses ےmodeiationۓ and iational compiomise with con-
tempt, seeing these as weakness and decadence. loi Che, modeiation was some-
thing to be avoided at all cost and was one ےof the most execiable qualities. Not
only am l not modeiate, l shall tiy not evei to be and when l iecognize that the
sacied ਉame within me has given way to a timid votive light, the least l could
do is vomit ovei my own shit,ۓ he wiote in 19¯õ. (p. 1 99) Many yeais latei, he
much heietofoie unobtainable documentation. Andeisonۏs woik has been aठacked by ciitics as a
ےhagiogiaphy.ۓ He is sympathetic to Che and some of the ideology that motivated him. But this only
seives to make the quotations even moie devastating to the mythical image.
ࡀF $VCBO 3FWPMVUJPO ڞ " $SJUJDBM 1FSTQFDUJWF, Sam Dolgoਇ, Black Rose Books, Montieal, p. 2¯
expiessed the opinion that ےall those who aie afiaid oi consideiing some foim of
tieason aie modeiates.ۓ (p. 4¯¯) He had a veiy pooi opinion of populist ievolu-
tionaiies such as Venezuelaۏs Betancouit and Costa Ricaۏs ligueies, feeling that
theii willingness to compiomise with the Ameiicans was a iesult of weakness
and lack of iesolve.
lascism also gloiiਈes wai and idolizes militaiism and the militaiy. Che ےiden-
tiਈed wai as the ideal ciicumstance in which to achieve socialist consciousness.ۓ
(p. 299) He iegaided the ievolutionaiy aimy as the ےpiincipal political aim of the
Revolutionۓ and felt that ےfieedom of the piess was dangeious.ۓ (p. 422)
Rabid nationalism, hate-mongeiing and the scapegoating of othei nations and
peoples has always been an impoitant aspect of fascism. Che was ےobsessedۓ by
the idea the US was to blame foi eveiything. भis scapegoating began to take
seiious shape on his ਈist motoibike toui of Aigentina in 19¯0, when he discoveied
iuial poveity. (p. ¯2) He had a ے . . . deep-seated hostility towaid the US. . . भe
only things he liked about this countiy weie its poets and novelists.ۓ (p. õ3) Che
once said, ےlۏd die with a smile on my lips ਈghting these people [the Ameiicans].ۓ
(p. 34¯) He oझen iefeiied xenophobically to the ےblonds of the Noithۓ (but was
evei so ieady to join those othei ےblonds of the Noithۓ ۊ the Russians). भe
positive aspect of Afiican colonialism foi Che was ےthe hate which colonialism
has leझ in the minds of the people.ۓ (p. õ19)
Nihilism and the view that the ےend justiਈes the meansۓ aie essential fascist
tiaits, (also shaied with Maixist-Leninism). All of the past must be swept away in
a gieat conਉagiation and a supeiioi ےNew Manۓ cieated ۊ by foice ۊ if necessaiy.
भe New Man is necessaiy ۊ foi the Old Man ۊ piesent humanity ۊ is weak and
bouigeois and is only useful as cannon-foddei in the stiuggle foi the gloiious
futuie. To saciiਈce a geneiation oi two foi the cause is nothing to get upset about
accoiding to the fascist mentality. As he stated, ےalmost eveiything we thought
and felt in the past epoch should be ਈled away, and a new type of human being
cieated.ۓ (p. 4¯9)
His willingness to saciiਈce innumeiable lives foi the ےgloiious futuieۓ made
the beatings and impiisonments administeied by the Peions seem gentle by com-
paiison. Aझei the Russians withdiew theii iockets, ending the Cuban Missile
Ciisis of 19õ2, Che ےfumed ovei the Soviet betiayal,ۓ and told the Daily Woikei
(London) iepoitei ےif the missiles had been undei Cuban contiol, they would have
ਈied them oਇ.ۓ भe iepoitei ےthought he was ciackeis fiom the way he went on
about the missiles.ۓ (p. ¯4¯) ln 19õ¯ he demanded a ievolutionaiy and apocalyptic
woild wai, even if it unleashed the atomic bomb. ےभousands of people will die
eveiywheie . . . But that should not woiiy us . . . ۓ (emphasis added). Out of this
mass destiuction the new socialist oidei was supposed to aiise. (p. õ04)
Cheۏs plan foi the ill-fated Bolivian campaign entailed that ےBolivia [was] to
be saciiਈced foi the cause of cieating the conditions foi ievolutions in neighboi-
ing countiies.ۓ भe idea was to cause new Vietnam-type wais in Latin Ameiica,
theieby pinning down and weakening the US. भis was to cause Russia and China,
plus the भiid Woild gueiiilla movements to unite in one poweiful block to then
destioy the United States. (p. ¯03) Once again, even though such a scheme might
biing about atomic wai.
Cheۏs message to the Tiicontinental meeting in Havana in Apiil 19õ¯ biought
his fascist, nihilist, and iomantic impulses to a goiy climax. He desiied nothing
less than a ےlong and ciuelۓ global confiontation. भe impoitant quality iequiied
in this woild wai was ے a ielentless hatied. . . impelling us above and beyond the
natuial limitations that man is heii to, tiansfoiming him into an eਇective, violent,
seductive and cold killing machine . . . ۓ (emphasis added). भis wai must be ےtotalۓ
and waged inside the US as well as without, waged until the Ameiicanۏs ےmoial
ਈbei begins to decline,ۓ which was to be symptomatic of US ےdecadence.ۓ ےHow
close we look into a biight futuie should two, thiee many Vietnams ਉouiish. . .
Oui eveiy action a baठle hymn foi the peopleۏs unity against the gieatest enemy
of mankind· the USA. Wheievei death may suipiise us, let lt be welcome.ۓ (p.
¯19) lt must be mentioned that the gloiiਈcation of death is a distinctly fascist tiait
and the lalangist ےLong Live Death'ۓ is echoed in the Castioite slogan, ےPatiia o
Mueite'ۓ i.e., ےNation Oi Death'ۓ
Che the stalinist
By 19¯¯, Che had become a convinced Stalinist, wiiting, ے l have swoin befoie
a pictuie of the old and mouined comiade Stalin that l wonۏt iest until l see
these capitalist octopuses annihilated.ۓ (p. 12õ) He ےhad iemained a sceptic [about
maixism] until his discoveiy of Stalin in booksۓ while in Guatemala. (p. ¯õ¯) (Che
always had some level of sympathy foi the USSR and wiote oਇ anti-communism
as an example of low cultuie.)
lt is not that diਊcult to make the passage fiom fascism to Stalinism (oi the
ieveise foi that maठei). भe similaiities between the two ideologies ۊ the gloii-
ਈcation of violence, dictatoiship, statism, nationalism, the scapegoating ۊ tend
to outweigh theii diਇeiences. Wheie theie is a diਇeience is in the iealm of phi-
losophy. Stalinism, unlike fascism, still clings to the pseudo-scientiਈc baggage
of maixism. Belief that the ےlaws of social developmentۓ aie on theii side give
the Stalinists a sense of psychological comfoit. lt also cieates an unbiidgeable
contiadiction ۊ an undeilying philosophy which is woodenly deteiministic com-
bined with a piactice which is highly voluntaiistic. (भe Paity being ےthe subject
of histoiyۓ ۊ i.e., the gioup that makes the ievolution and contiols the futuie
development of the socialist State.)
loi Cheۏs foco theoiy, which dispenses with the Paity and the mass movement
in favoi of a tiny band of gueiiillas, this contiadiction is intensiਈed to the ultimate
degiee. See the diਊculty with which he tiies to oveicome this pioblem· Aiound
the time of the Bay of Pigs lnvasion (19õ2) Che wiote, ےभe peasant class of
Ameiica, basing itself on the ideology of the woiking class, whose gieat thinkeis
discoveied the social laws goveining us.ۓ Howevei, what was missing was the
so-called subjective factoi ۊ ےthe consciousness of the possibility of victoiyۓ
which was to be galvanized by the gueiiilla bandۏs aimed stiuggle. (p. ¯0¯)
As a Stalinist, Che had some extiemely impoitant duties to peifoim in the
inteiest of the Communist movement and the Soviet Union. भe ਈist of these was
to oiient the 2õ of July Movement in the diiection of Stalinism. Veiy few of the
2õ July Movement weie Communists oi even Communist sympathizeis. Othei
ievolutionaiy gioups like the Diiectoiate oi the Anaichists weie militantly anti-
Stalinist. (Che and Raul Castio weie Stalinists, lidel was veiy fiiendly to the CP
but quiet about it.) Che became the ےkey paiticipant in the delicate talks with the
Populai Socialist Paityۓ (Cuban Communist Paity). (p. 3õ3) He ےwoiked secietly
to cement ties with the PSP.ۓ (p. 389) भe alliance between 2õ July and the PSP
had to be seciet not to split the ievolutionaiy movement and aiouse Ameiican
hostility. Most Cuban patiiots hated the CP, which was veiy late in geठing into
the stiuggle and had foimeily been in alliance with Batista'
Aझei the Revolution, Che became the liaison between the KGB and the new
ievolutionaiy goveinment, when ielations between Cuba and Russia had to be
clandestine not to angei the aveiage Cuban and fiighten the US State Depaitment.
(p. 440) As the foimei KGB agent who was involved with him stated, ےChe was
piactically the aichitect of oui ielations with Cuba.ۓ (p. 492) Noi was this the only
ielation he had with the Russians. भe nucleai missile deal with Russia which
almost staited Woild Wai lll was also concluded by Che. (p. ¯30)
By 19õ3 Che had become despondent, as he iealized the Russian model, which
in his naiveté he had passionately embiaced, was not veiy good. (p. ¯õ¯) Soon
aझei, evidently not leaining fiom his mistakes with Russian Stalinism, he became
enamouied of Chinese Stalinism, wiiting, ےsaciiਈce is fundamental . . . the Chinese
undeistand this veiy well, much beठei than the Russians do.ۓ (p. õ0¯) Eailiei on,
Che also had ےspecial piaiseۓ foi China and Noith Koiea. (p. 49¯)
Che the executioner
ln the Sieiia Maestia Che was always quick to demand execution foi gueiiillas
and local peasants who weie not up to his standaids. ےlnfoimeis, insuboidinates,
malingeieis and deseiteisۓ got a bullet in the head. lidel was fai moie toleiant
of human fiailty and ieveised seveial of Cheۏs execution oideis. Executions
weie quite fiequent duiing the gueiiilla campaign. (p. 231) He was ےnotoiiously
seveieۓ with his punishments. One time he thieatened to shoot a numbei of
gueiiillas who had gone on a hungei stiike ovei the bad piovisions. Only lidelۏs
inteivention stopped him. (p. 34õ)
Shoitly aझei the fall of Batista, Che helped to foim the C-2 oi the new seciet
police. He was also in chaige of puiging the aimy and goveinment buieauciacy of
ےtiaitois, spies, and Batista henchmen.ۓ Howevei, it was mostly minoi individuals
that weie aiiested, since the oਊceis and top buieauciats ਉed with the dictatoi.
Che was the ےsupieme piosecutoiۓ who made the ਈnal decision to execute oi not.
(p. 38¯) And execute he did. Che was ےmeiciless,ۓ (p. 390) and between Januaiy
and Apiil 19¯9 moie than ¯¯0 people weie shot by ਈiing squad. (p. 419) By
Januaiy 19õ0 alleged Batista suppoiteis weie not the only ones geठing the bullet.
Some young Catholics weie executed foi distiibuting anti-communist leaਉets. (p.
Che is implicated in the destiuction of Cuban anaicho-syndicalism, (and Tiot-
skyism as well). Cuba in the 19¯0ۏs was the scene of the last of the gieat Latin
Ameiican syndicalist movements. (See Appendix.) Libeitaiians contiolled many
tiade unions and weie an impoitant anti-Batista foice. भe anaichists had sui-
vived the Machado and Batista dictatoiships but did not suivive two yeais of
Castioism. By 19õ2 the movement was down to 20 oi 30 membeis, hundieds of
otheis having ਉed into exile, impiisoned oi executed. loi anyone still haiboi-
ing any illusions about Cheۏs alleged libeitaiianism, the following quote should
put this to iest· ےlndividualism. . . must disappeai in Cuba . . . [it] should be the
piopei utilization of the whole individual foi the absolute beneਈt of the commu-
nity.ۓ (p. 4¯8) Such an opinion on the individual was about as fai iemoved fiom
libeitaiianism as you could possibly get.
Che the bureaucrat
Late in 19¯9 univeisity autonomy ۊ which had managed to suivive undei
Batista ۊ was abolished with Cheۏs appioval. A new State cuiiiculum was intio-
duced (p. 449) and the univeisities became simple tools of the iegime.
ln 19õ0 the National lnstitute of Agiaiian Refoim (lNRA) was foimed undei
Che. भis oiganization took contiol of the entiie economy. initially though, its
job was to iun the State ےco-ops.ۓ (p. 4¯8) Now, a State Co-op is a contiadiction
in teims, foi co-ops aie by natuie voluntaiy associations and locally owned and
managed. What lNRA did was to nationalise existing co-opeiatives (some of
which weie anaichist) and set up a host of new phoney co-ops ۊ essentially state
faims. On lebiuaiy 20 19õ0, Che announced ےSoviet-style planningۓ foi Cuba, (p.
4õ2) something that had been his desiie all along. (Cheۏs tenuie as head of the
Cuban economy was a total disastei and piobably helped piopel him towaid his
suicidal Bolivian exploit.)
As head of the Cuban economy, Che was ultimately iesponsible foi the abo-
lition of woikeisۏ iights and of the destiuction of the independent tiade union
movement. Of the foimei, by late 19õ0, woikeis had lost the iight to stiike, job
secuiity, sick leave, the 44 houi week, oveitime at time and a half, paid vaca-
tions, and weie foiced to do ےvoluntaiy laboi.ۓ
As foi the tiade unions, as well
as liquidating anaicho-syndicalism, the iegime tiied to get the Communist Paity
slate elected to the leadeiship of the Cuban Laboi Confedeiation (CTC). भis was
iejected by 90¯ of the delegates. भe Stalinists weie imposed fiom above by the
State. भe leadei of the CTC, David Salvadoi, an impoitant membei of the 2õ
July Movement, no less, was sentenced to 30 yeais in piison foi his opposition
to the Stalinist takeovei of his union. He spent his time behind bais in a piison
with some ¯00 othei political piisoneis, many of whom, no doubt, weie tiade
Cheۏs guilt in these maठeis could not be plainei, foi in Octobei 19õ0
he stated, ےthe destiny of unions is to disappeaiۓ and suppoited Law õ4¯, by which
ےभe Ministei of Laboi can take contiol of any union, dismiss oਊcials and appoint
otheis . . . ۓ
ࠬe tragedy of Che Guevara
Che stiipped of the mythology isnۏt too pieठy a sight ۊ unless you admiie
people who aie full of hate, violence and apologies foi despotism. But letۏs not go
too fai with this. Che was no ieptile-eyed sociopath like Stalin oi some bloodless
intellectual fanatic such as Pol Pot. Until he became the gueiiilla Savonaiola of
the Sieiia Maestia, he was noted foi being a jokei and a piankstei. A hippie
befoie his time, a lovei of poetiy, late night conveisations, tiavel, soccei, food,
ibid., p. 99
ibid., p. 100
ibid., p. 180
motoicycles and women. lew of his fiiends could believe the tiansfoimation that
had oveicome theii old pal El Chancho aझei he went to Cuba. (El Chancho was
his nickname and means ےभe Pig.ۓ He was called this because of his fondness foi
diity, iagged clothing and his aveision to bathing ۊ one of his ways of iebelling
against his uppei class oiigins.) Che was essentially a noimal but iebellious,
intelligent and well iead young man.
Something happened to him. Yes, he had absoibed many of the unpleasant
ideas of Peion, but so had lots of people. Such individuals went on with theii lives
and weie not destioyed by an ideology. Politics ieally wasnۏt all that impoitant to
Che until he went to Guatemala. भeie he discoveied an ideology which ےclickedۓ
with his undeilying beliefs and piejudices, seemed to explain the woild and give
his life substance and meaning. Che was a fundamentally noimal, decent human
being who became a slave of a ciuel seculai ieligion. His belief system consumed
him, foicing him to do things he would not noimally do. He made himself
haid and fanatical. As his fathei, Guevaia-Lynch stated, ےEinesto biutalized
his sensibilities to become a ievolutionaiy.ۓ His mothei chaiacteiized this new
Einesto as ےintoleiant and fanatical.ۓ His paients weie not opposed to leझ-wing
politics, only what these politics weie doing to theii son. (p. õ0¯)
Che was, foi all his ieading, essentially naive. Considei the naiveté of becoming
a Stalinist in 19¯¯, not bieaking with the cult duiing the Khiushchev ievelations
of 19¯õ (when thousands of Westein intellectuals ਉed the CP) and then, at the
veiy end, wishing to exchange Russian Stalinism foi the Chinese vaiiety. ltۏs not
that the hoiiois of Stalinism weie not well known ۊ we didnۏt need Solzhenitzyn
to tell us about the gulag ۊ any anaichist, tiotskyist oi anti-Stalinist socialist
could have told him the tiuth. Peihaps one did, but he must have iefused to listen.
His peisonal cult of the will was also naive, ultimately leading him to his death.
ln spite of adheiing to a belief system which incessantly doddeis on about ےthe
mateiial conditions,ۓ he ignoied ےmateiial iealityۓ in his last ill-fated stiuggle. How
could he biush aside the fact that the Bolivian peasants had goठen land duiing the
populist ievolution of 19¯2 and weie not inteiested in anothei aimed upiising`
How could he not know this` Look at his statement to the Tiicontinentai ۊ as
though aठacking a countiy would bieak the will of its people ۊ as though he
could scaie the Ameiicans into defeat.
Anybody who knows histoiy, knows well this is not the case ۊ tiying to
teiioiize a nation only heightens the iesolve of its people. And if the US was the
ےgieatest enemy of mankind,ۓ what then was Russia (oi China) with its tens of
millions slaughteied at the whims of megalomaniac dictatois`
How could he not know these things` Was it because he didnۏt want to`
भeie is no denying Che was physically veiy couiageous, time and time again
he put himself in the gieatest dangei in the gueiiilla stiuggle. He was a tiuly
biave waiiioi. While haish in his methods, he was no hypociite ۊ his saciiਈces,
his suਇeiings, weie examples to his men. But physical couiage is not that iaie,
many fiont line soldieis have it, some ciiminals as well. Many people who belong
to the woist soit of political oi ieligious cults act with immense biaveiy.
Anothei maठei is the combination of physical and moial couiage. भe laठei he
did not have, and no one does who believes the ےend justiਈes the means.ۓ To show
moial couiage, he, oi anyone else in his position, would have to be willing to
saciiਈce the ievolution foi highei humanitaiian piinciples. Beठei no ievolution
than one based upon teiioi and mass muidei. Beठei to iisk the oiganization than
shoot peasants who want to go home (ےdeseiteisۓ). But foi Che, as foi Stalinists,
fascists and all fanatics in geneial, such piinciples weie examples of weakness
and libeial sentimentality. ln faiiness howevei, the combination of physical and
moial couiage is veiy iaie. How many of us have both these tiaits`
Che ieਉected his enviionment but did not tianscend it. He was a miiioi
image of the Peionism, iomanticism, machismo, and xenophobia so pievalent in
19¯0ۏs Aigentina. His sympathy foi Stalinism was something shaied by most
intellectuals of the time. Even his bohemianism ਈt the common paठein foi well-
iead uppei class youth. भe tiuly Gieat Man oi Gieat Woman tianscends his
oi hei eia and social enviionmental inਉuences, bieaking the time-woin habits
and giving iise to a new set of ideas. Che, stiipped of his immense couiage and
fanatical zeal, was theiefoie essentially an aveiage man.
Che died for our sins
Che was Eveiyman not ےa complete manۓ as Saitie, that most incomplete of
men, claimed. (Saitie nevei met a leझ-wing dictatoi oi teiioiist he didnۏt like.)
Che is eveiy one of us who has evei felt like killing a political opponent. Che
is eveiy one of us who has hated someone with a diਇeient viewpoint. Che is
eveiyone of us who has become sucked into the voitex of some political cult-
ideology. Che is eveiy one of us who has apologized foi a teiioiist act. Che is
eveiyone of us who has evei believed in ےby any means necessaiy.ۓ Che is me. Che
is you. Che only put into deteimined action the hates and feais we feel inside. He
was a noimal man, not a peiveit like Hitlei oi Stalin ۊ despots who can simply
Some examples would be piactitioneis of non-violence such as Gandhi oi Maitin Luthei King.
Waiiioi intellectuals such as Geoige Oiwell, Albeit Camus and Simone Weil belong theie as well.
Of couise, nobody completely tianscends theii oiigins and histoiy. भe above list of moially
couiageous peisons could also apply as examples of people who have bioken with the dominant
be wiiठen oਇ as monsteis and thus have no ielationship to me and my possible
couises of action. Che, in a sense, ےdied foi the sinsۓ of noimal people tiapped
in ideology, constiicted by moial weakness and psychological pioblems they aie
incapable of iesolving in a constiuctive mannei.
Che doesnۏt sound much like a saint, does he` But theie is one thing to take into
account ۊ the gieatest sinnei can sometimes become a saint. Only one example
of this was St. Paul, who at one time was a violent peisecutoi of Chiistians. Of
couise, Che was muideied befoie he had a chance to see his eiiois, and given
his haid-headedness he may not have evei done so, but who knows` Howevei,
his suਇeiing, self-destiuction (and destiuction of otheis) and his ultimate failuie
seive as an example foi young people foi all time. DONOT lOLLOWTHlS PATH'
lf Cheۏs saciiਈce dissuades the young fiom falling into this ideologically cieated
hell, peihaps he deseives the mantle of sainthood.
Maybe then, we should buin a candle to St. Che, And piay, ےPlease, no moie
ۊ Laiiy Gambone, Septembei 199¯
Appendix· ࠬe cuban anarࠩo-syndicalists in the
भe most impoitant Cuban anaichist oiganization was the Libeitaiian Associa-
tion of Cuba (ALC). Heie below is a paitial listing of theii gioups·
Pinar del Rio
ALC membeis paiticipated in the leadeiship of the tobacco woikeis, electii-
cians, constiuction woikeis, caipenteis, bank employees and medical woikeis
unions. Also pioduced local iadio piogiams.
San Juan y Martinez
led the tenant faimeis union.
भe pioblem is that the leझ still upholds him as someone to emulate.
led the Agiaiian Association, the sugai woikeis and tobacco woikeis unions.
led tobacco woikeis and pioduced iadio piogiams.
involved in leadeiship of electiicians, food woikeis, tianspoit, shoemakeis,
ਈsheimen, woodwoikeis, medical, metal and constiuction unions. Some inਉuence
in student and piofessional associations. Published El Libeitaiio (at one time a
daily newspapei) and the monthly, Solidaiidad Gastionomica (of the food woikeis
union) and pioduced weekly public foiums and iadio piogiams.
led Paient-Teachei Association, the local Cultuial Association and the Con-
led salt woikeis union.
Ciego de Avila
pioduced iadio piogiams as well as inਉuenced peasant association, sugai woik-
eis and medical woikeis unions.
led peasant union, established land co-op, led ےvaiious unions.ۓ
Santiago de Cuba
stiong inਉuence in food woikeis union.
oiganized and led Coਇee Pioduceis Co-op.
भe ALC also ےhad some inਉuenceۓ in at least one tiade union oi populai
association in 23 othei towns. (Taken fiom ࡀF $VCBO 3FWPMVUJPO ڞ " $SJUJDBM
1FSTQFDUJWF, by Sam Dolgoਇ, Black Rose Books, Montieal, pages ¯õۉ¯9.)
• $VCBO "OBS࠺JTN, By liank leinandez.
• ࡀF $VCBO 3FWPMVUJPO " $SJUJDBM 1FSTQFDUJWF, By Sam Dolgoਇ
• $VCB UIF "OBS࠺JTUT BOE -JCFSUZ, a pamphlet by liank leinandez
• &M -JCFSUBSJP, Venezuelan anaichist newspapei coveiing Latin Ameiican poli-
tics and social movements
• Anaikismo.net, an inteinational multi-lingual anaichist website of news and
• भe Noith Eastein ledeiation of Anaicho-Communists is a bi-lingual oigani-
zation of ievolutionaiies who identify with the communist tiadition within
• lndustiial Woikeis of the Woild, an inteinational ievolutionaiy laboi union·
भe Anaichist Libiaiy
May 21, 2012
Saint Che· भe Tiuth Behind the Legend of the Heioic Gueiilla, Einesto Che Guevaia
Red Lion Piess, Montieal, 199¯
Scanned fiom pamphlet
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