Ernesto "Che" Guevara (14 June 1928 – 9 October 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader during the Cuban revolution. Following his execution in Bolivia, he became both a stylized countercultural icon and symbol of rebellion for leftist movements worldwide.
- 1 Sourced
- 1.1 Guerrilla Warfare (1960)
- 1.2 On Revolutionary Medicine (1960)
- 1.3 Notes on the Cuban Revolution (1960)
- 1.4 Mobilising for Invasion (1961)
- 1.5 Cuba as Vanguard (1961)
- 1.6 On Growth and Imperialism (1961)
- 1.7 Method of Guerrilla Warfare (1963)
- 1.8 On Development (1964)
- 1.9 Address to the United Nations (1964)
- 1.10 Afro-Asian Conference (1965)
- 1.11 Man and Socialism in Cuba (1965)
- 1.12 Farewell letter to Fidel Castro (1965)
- 1.13 Last Letter to his Parents (1965)
- 1.14 Letter to his Children (1965)
- 1.15 Birthday Letter to his Daughter (1966)
- 1.16 Message to the Tricontinental (1967)
- 1.17 Unsourced
- 1.18 Misattributed
- 1.19 Quotes about Che
- 1.20 See Also
- 1.21 External links
- Calica keeps cursing the filth and, whenever he treads on one of the innumerable turds lining the streets, he looks at his dirty shoes instead of at the sky or a cathedral outlined in space. He does not smell the intangible and evocative matter of which Cuzco is made, but only the odour of stew and excrement. It's a question of temperament.
- Letter to his mother from Cuzco, Peru (22 August 1953); as quoted in "Making of a Marxist" in The Guardian (16 June 2001)
- Along the way, I had the opportunity to pass through the dominions of the United Fruit, convincing me once again of just how terrible these capitalist octopuses are. I have sworn before a picture of the old and mourned comrade Stalin that I won't rest until I see these capitalist octopuses annihilated.
- I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady, I am all the contrary of a Christ.... I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don't get nailed to a cross or any other place.
- The situation was uncomfortable for the people and for [Eutimio], so I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal [lobe]. He gasped for a little while and was dead. Upon proceeding to remove his belongings I couldn't get off the watch tied by a chain to his belt, and then he told me in a steady voice farther away than fear: "Yank it off, boy, what does it matter." I did so and his possessions were now mine.
- I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves.
- Statement in Mexico (1958); as quoted in Kaplan AP World History 2005 (2004) edited by the Kaplan staff, p. 240
- If it is an element of liberation for Latin America, I believe that it should have demonstrated that. Until now, I have not been aware of any such demonstration. The IMF performs an entirely different function: precisely that of ensuring that capital based outside of Latin America controls all of Latin America.
- Regarding the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in an interview for Radio Rivadavia of Argentina (3 November 1959)
- The interests of the IMF represent the big international interests that today seem to be established and concentrated in Wall Street.
- Regarding the IMF, in an interview for Radio Rivadavia of Argentina (3 November 1959)
- If the missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America including New York. We must never establish peaceful coexistence. In this struggle to the death between two systems we must gain the ultimate victory. We must walk the path of liberation even if it costs millions of atomic victims.
- Statement in an interview with a reporter for the London Daily Worker (November 1962), quoted in The Nuclear Deception : Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis (2002) by Servando Gonzalez, p. 111; and Fidel : Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant (2005) by Humberto Fontova, p. 24
- The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.
- Intercontinental Press (Vol. 3 January -April 1965); also, in Che Guevara speaks: Selected Speeches and Writings (1967)
- I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man.
- Variants : I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.
I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, coward. You are only going to kill a man.
Know this now, you are killing a man.
- These reportedly, were his last words, to Sergeant Jaime Terán, who in different accounts had either volunteered to be his executioner, or by most accounts, had been selected by lot (9 October 1967). Because of the many different reports that have arisen, much confusion and uncertainty exists about his actual last words. His last words to Colonel Arnaldo Saucedo Parada, head of intelligence of the Eighth Division who delivered the official report on Che's final moments were reported as: "I knew you were going to shoot me; I should never have been taken alive. Tell Fidel that this failure does not mean the end of the revolution, that it will triumph elsewhere. Tell Aleida to forget this, remarry and be happy, and keep the children studying. Ask the soldiers to aim well." At one point, early in the confusion and conflicting reports surrounding his death, General Ovando, Chief of Bolivian Armed Forces, declared that he had died in battle, and that just before he dying he had declared: "I am Che Guevara and I have failed."; these are sometimes still accepted as having been last words, though subsequent reports have generally discredited that account.
- Summary of various accounts of Che Guevara's Death at George Washington University
- Variants : I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.
- If there had been some executions, the government would have maintained the capacity to return the blows.
- Letter to his former girlfriend Tita Infante on lamenting the coup d'état against the socialist Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in 1954; as quoted in "The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand" inThe New Republic (11 July 2005)
- I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation. One of the fundamental objectives of Marxism is to remove interest, the factor of individual interest, and gain, from people's psychological motivations. Marx was preoccupied both with economic factors and with their repercussions on the spirit. If communism isn't interested in this too, it may be a method of distributing goods, but it will never be a revolutionary way of life.
- As quoted in The Many Faces of Socialism Comparative Sociology and Politics (1983) by Paul Hollander, p. 224, ISBN 0887387403
- Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!
- As quoted in An American Savage (2003) by J. Flash (Jeff Flashinski), p. 144
- If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.
- As quoted in The Quotable Rebel : Political Quotations for Dangerous Times (2005) by Teishan Latner, p. 112
- To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.
- As quoted in The Cuban Revolution : Years of Promise (2005) by Teo A. Babun and Victor Andres Triay, p. 57; also in The New American Revolution : Using the Power of the Individual to Save Our Nation from Extremists (2005) by Tammy Bruce, p. 204
- I knew that the moment the great governing spirit strikes the blow to divide all humanity into just two opposing factions, I would be on the side of the common people.
- As quoted in Becoming Che : Guevara's Second and Final Trip through Latin America (2005) by Carlos "Calica" Ferrer, as translated by Sarah L. Smith (2006), p. 170
- We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.
- As quoted in Wise Guys : Brilliant Thoughts and Big Talk from Real Men (2005) by Allan Zullo, p. 36
- Silence is argument carried out by other means.
- As quoted in Secrets to a Richer Life: Illuminating Wisdom from the Human Family on the 12 Ultimate Questions (2005) by Earl Ernest Guile
- Arms cannot be regarded as merchandise in our world. They should be delivered to the peoples asking for them for use against the common enemy without any charge at all, and in quantities determined by the need and their availability.
- Che Guevara : Radical Writings on Guerrilla Warfare, Politics and Revolution (2006) ISBN 1599869993
- Hay que endurecerse sin perder jamás la ternura jamás.
- One has to grow hard but without ever losing tenderness.
- As quoted in Essential Care : An Ethics of Human Nature (2008) by Leonardo Boff, p. 82
- Variant translation: One must harden without ever losing tenderness.
Guerrilla Warfare (1960)
- Camilo was the subject of a thousand anecdotes; he created them naturally wherever he went. To his ease of manner, always appreciated by the people, he added a personality that naturally and almost unconsciously put the stamp of Camilo on everything connected with him. Few men have succeeded in leaving on every action such a distinctive personal mark. As Fidel has said, he did not have culture from books; he had the natural intelligence of the people, who had chosen him out of thousands for a privileged position on account of the audacity of his blows, his tenacity, his intelligence, and unequalled devotion. Camilo practiced loyalty like a religion.
- Dedication, to Camilo Cienfuegos
- Let us not try to classify him, to capture him in a mold, that is, kill him. Let us leave him thus, in general lines, without attributing to him a precise social and economic ideology which he never completely defined. Let us emphasize that there is not a soldier to be compared to Camilo in this war of liberation.
- When forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law, peace is considered already broken.
- Ch. 1 : General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
- Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.
- Ch. 1 : General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
- The guerrilla fighter needs full help from the people of the area. This is an indispensable condition.
- Ch. 1 : General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
- Why does the guerrilla fighter fight? We must come to the inevitable conclusion that the guerrilla fighter is a social reformer, that he takes up arms responding to the angry protest of the people against their oppressors, and that he fights in order to change the social system that keeps all his unarmed brothers in ignominy and misery.
- Ch. 1 : General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
- War is always a struggle in which each contender tries to annihilate the other. Besides using force, they will have recourse to all possible tricks and stratagems to achieve the goal.
- Ch. 1 : General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
On Revolutionary Medicine (1960)
- "On Revolutionary Medicine", speech delivered to the Cuban Militia (16 August 1960).
- After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming a famous or making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.
- The desire to sacrifice an entire lifetime to the noblest of ideals serves no purpose if one works alone.
- Everything we thought and felt in that past period ought to be deposited in an archive, and a new type of human being created.
- The task of educating and feeding youngsters, the task of educating the army, the task of distributing the lands of the former absentee landlords to those who laboured every day upon that same land without receiving its benefits, are accomplishments of social medicine.
- In the future individualism ought to be the efficient utilization of the whole individual for the absolute benefit of a collectivity.
- We brought ten thousand head of cattle to the Sierra one day and said to the peasants, simply, "Eat". And the peasants, for the first time in years and years, some for the first time in their lives, ate beef.
- The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.
- Far more important than a good remuneration is the pride of serving one's neighbor.
- Much more definitive and much more lasting than all the gold that one can accumulate is the gratitude of a people.
- We should not go to the people and say, "Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you our science, to show you your errors, your lack of culture, your ignorance of elementary things." We should go instead with an inquiring mind and a humble spirit to learn at that great source of wisdom that is the people.
- Our enemy, and the enemy of all America, is the monopolistic government of the United States of America.
Notes on the Cuban Revolution (1960)
- When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist or a biologist when asked if he is a "Newtonian," or if he is a "Pasteurian".There are truths so evident, so much a part of people's knowledge, that it is now useless to discuss them.
- The merit of Marx is that he suddenly produces a qualitative change in the history of social thought. He interprets history, understands its dynamic, predicts the future, but in addition to predicting it, he expresses a revolutionary concept: the world must not only be interpreted, it must be transformed.
Mobilising for Invasion (1961)
- "Mobilising the Masses for the Invasion" speech given to sugar workers in Santa Clara, Cuba 20 days before the Bay of Pigs invasion (28 March 1961)
- We have to remind ourselves of this at every moment: that we are in a war, a cold war as they call it; a war where there is no front line, no continuous bombardment, but where the two adversaries — this tiny champion of the Caribbean and the immense imperialist hyena — are face to face and aware that one of them is going to end up dead in the fight.
- The victory of the Cuban Revolution will be a tangible demonstration before all the Americas that peoples are capable of rising up, that they can rise up by themselves right under the very fangs of the monster.
Cuba as Vanguard (1961)
- "Cuba: Historical exception or vanguard in the anticolonial struggle?" speech (9 April 1961)
- On various occasions emissaries of the U.S. State Department came, disguised as reporters, to investigate our rustic revolution, yet they never found any trace of imminent danger. By the time the imperialists wanted to react — when they discovered that the group of inexperienced young men marching in triumph through the streets of Havana had a clear awareness of their political duty and an iron determination to carry out that duty — it was already too late.
- The first liberating revolutions never destroyed the large landholding powers that always constituted a reactionary force and upheld the principle of servitude on the land.
- In most countries the large landholders realized they couldn't survive alone and promptly entered into alliances with the monopolies — the strongest and most ruthless oppressors of the Latin American peoples. U.S. capital arrived on the scene to exploit the virgin lands and later carried off, unnoticed, all the funds so “generously” given, plus several times the amount originally invested in the “beneficiary” country.
- We, politely referred to as “underdeveloped,” in truth are colonial, semi-colonial or dependent countries. We are countries whose economies have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. “Underdevelopment,” or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat of hunger for all our peoples. We, the “underdeveloped,” are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing conditions. That is the great formula for imperialist economic domination.
- The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day — faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed — so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital.
- The United States hastens the delivery of arms to the puppet governments they see as being increasingly threatened; it makes them sign pacts of dependence to legally facilitate the shipment of instruments of repression and death and of troops to use them.
On Growth and Imperialism (1961)
- "Economics Cannot be Separated from Politics" speech to the ministerial meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES), in Punta del Este, Uruguay (8 August 1961)
- Cuba hopes that her children will see a better future, and that victory will not have to be won at the cost of millions of human lives destroyed by the atomic bomb.
- Democracy is not compatible with financial oligarchy, with discrimination against Blacks and outrages by the Ku Klux Klan, or with the persecution that drove scientists like Oppenheimer from their posts, deprived the world for years of the marvelous voice of Paul Robeson, held prisoner in his own country, and sent the Rosenberg's to their deaths against the protests of a shocked world, including the appeals of many governments and of Pope Pius XII.
- Democracy cannot consist solely of elections that are nearly always fictitious and managed by rich landowners and professional politicians.
Method of Guerrilla Warfare (1963)
- "Guerrilla Warfare: A Method " (written September 1963)
- Guerrilla warfare is a people's warfare; an attempt to carry out this type of war without the population's support is a prelude to inevitable disaster.
- The guerrilla is supported by the peasant and worker masses of the region and of the whole territory in which it acts. Without these prerequisites, guerrilla warfare is not possible.
- Revolution, in history, is like the doctor assisting at the birth of a new life, who will not use forceps unless necessary, but who will use them unhesitatingly every time labor requires them. It is a labor bringing the hope of a better life to the enslaved and exploited masses.
- We should not allow the word “democracy” to be utilized apologetically to represent the dictatorship of the exploiting classes.
- Violence is not the monopoly of the exploiters and as such the exploited can use it too and, moreover, ought to use it when the moment arrives.
- The dictatorship tries to function without resorting to force so we must try to oblige it to do so, thereby unmasking its true nature as the dictatorship of the reactionary social classes.
On Development (1964)
- "On Development" Speech delivered at the plenary session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, Switzerland (25 March 1964)
- Justice remains the tool of a few powerful interests; legal interpretations will continue to be made to suit the convenience of the oppressor powers.
- If, on the other hand, the groups of underdeveloped countries, lured by the siren song of the vested interests of the developed powers which exploit their backwardness, contend futilely among themselves for the crumbs from the tables of the world's mighty, and break the ranks of numerically superior forces ... our efforts will have been to no avail.
- The only way to solve the problems now besetting mankind is to eliminate completely the exploitation of dependent countries by developed capitalist countries, with all the consequences that this implies.
- The inflow of capital from the developed countries is the prerequisite for the establishment of economic dependence. This inflow takes various forms: loans granted on onerous terms; investments that place a given country in the power of the investors; almost total technological subordination of the dependent country to the developed country; control of a country's foreign trade by the big international monopolies; and in extreme cases, the use of force as an economic weapon in support of the other forms of exploitation.
- The International Monetary Fund is the watchdog of the dollar in the capitalist camp.
- The world is hungry but lacks the money to buy food; and paradoxically, in the underdeveloped world, in the world of the hungry, possible ways of expanding food production are discouraged in order to keep prices up, in order to be able to eat. This is the inexorable law of the philosophy of plunder, which must cease to be the rule in relations between peoples.
- And the imperialists? Will they sit with their arms crossed? No! The system they practice is the cause of the evils from which we are suffering, but they will try to obscure the facts with spurious allegations, of which they are masters.
- The feeling of revolt will grow stronger every day among the peoples subjected to various degrees of exploitation, and they will take up arms to gain by force the rights which reason alone has not won them.
Address to the United Nations (1964)
- "Colonialism is Doomed" speech to the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City (11 December 1964). Geuvara quoted earlier statements of Fidel Castro extensively in this speech, and many of these are often misattributed to him.
- The final hour of colonialism has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia and Latin America rise to meet a new life and demand their unrestricted right to self-determination.
- We should like to see this Assembly shake itself out of complacency and move forward. We should like to see the committees begin their work and not stop at the first confrontation. Imperialism wishes to convert this meeting into a pointless oratorical tournament, instead of solving the grave problems of the world. We must prevent their doing so.
- Peaceful coexistence cannot be limited to the powerful countries if we want to ensure world peace. Peaceful coexistence must be exercised among all states, regardless of size, regardless of the previous historical relations that linked them, and regardless of the problems that may arise among some of them at a given moment.
- As Marxists we have maintained that peaceful coexistence among nations does not encompass coexistence between the exploiters and the exploited, between the oppressors and the oppressed.
- We speak out to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the African continent the superiority of one race over another remains official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?
- Our free eyes open now on new horizons and can see what yesterday, in our condition as colonial slaves, we could not observe: that “Western Civilization” disguises behind its showy facade a picture of hyenas and jackals ... A carnivorous animal that feeds on unarmed peoples.
- Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom? The government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population.
- This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly abound in our suffering Latin American lands. Struggles of masses and ideas. An epic that will be carried forward by our peoples, mistreated and scorned by imperialism; our people, unreckoned with until today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins to be terrified of that flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees its gravediggers.
- Now in the mountains and fields of America, on its flatlands and in its jungles, in the wilderness or in the traffic of cities, on the banks of its great oceans or rivers, this world is beginning to tremble. Anxious hands are stretched forth, ready to die for what is theirs, to win those rights that were laughed at by one and all for 500 years.
Afro-Asian Conference (1965)
- "At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria" speech to the Second Economic Seminar of Afro-Asian Solidarity in Algiers, Algeria (24 February 1965)
- The struggle against imperialism, for liberation from colonial or neocolonial shackles, which is being carried out by means of political weapons, arms, or a combination of the two, is not separate from the struggle against backwardness and poverty. Both are stages on the same road leading toward the creation of a new society of justice and plenty.
- Ever since monopoly capital took over the world, it has kept the greater part of humanity in poverty, dividing all the profits among the group of the most powerful countries. The standard of living in those countries is based on the extreme poverty of our countries. To raise the living standards of the underdeveloped nations, therefore, we must fight against imperialism. And each time a country is torn away from the imperialist tree, it is not only a partial battle won against the main enemy but it also contributes to the real weakening of that enemy, and is one more step toward the final victory.
- There are no borders in this struggle to the death. We cannot be indifferent to what happens anywhere in the world, because a victory by any country over imperialism is our victory, just as any country's defeat is a defeat for all of us.
- Variant translation: There are no boundaries in this struggle to the death. We cannot be indifferent to what happens anywhere in the world, for a victory by any country over imperialism is our victory; just as any country's defeat is a defeat for all of us.
- Each time a country is freed, we say, it is a defeat for the world imperialist system, but we must agree that real liberation or breaking away from the imperialist system is not achieved by the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution. Freedom is achieved when imperialist economic domination over a people is brought to an end.
- Variant translation: We said that each time a country is liberated it is a defeat for the world imperialist system. But we must agree that the break is not achieved by the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution. It is achieved when imperialist economic domination over a people is brought to an end.
- Imperialism has been defeated in many partial battles. But it remains a considerable force in the world, and we cannot expect its final defeat save through effort and sacrifice on the part of us all.
- The socialist countries must help pay for the development of countries now starting out on the road to liberation.
- Socialism cannot exist without a change in consciousness resulting in a new fraternal attitude toward humanity, both at an individual level, within the societies where socialism is being built or has been built, and on a world scale, with regard to all peoples suffering from imperialist oppression.
- How can it be “mutually beneficial” to sell at world market prices the raw materials that cost the underdeveloped countries immeasurable sweat and suffering, and to buy at world market prices the machinery produced in today's big automated factories?
- We must agree that the socialist countries are, in a certain way, accomplices of imperialist exploitation ... The socialist countries have the moral duty to put an end to their tacit complicity with the exploiting countries of the West.
- Variant translation: The socialist countries have the moral duty of liquidating their tacit complicity with the exploiting countries of the West.
- For us there is no valid definition of socialism other than the abolition of the exploitation of one human being by another. As long as this has not been achieved, if we think we are in the stage of building socialism but instead of ending exploitation the work of suppressing it comes to a halt — or worse, is reversed — then we cannot even speak of building socialism.
- Variant translation: There is no other definition of socialism valid for us than that of the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.
- Development cannot be left to complete improvisation. It is necessary to plan the construction of the new society. Planning is one of the laws of socialism, and without it, socialism would not exist. Without correct planning there can be no adequate guarantee that all the various sectors of a country's economy will combine harmoniously to take the leaps forward that our epoch demands.
- As long as imperialism exists it will, by definition, exert its domination over other countries. Today that domination is called neocolonialism.
- Arms cannot be commodities in our world. They must be delivered to the peoples asking for them to use against the common enemy, with no charge and in the quantities needed and available.
- Now is the time to throw off the yoke, to force renegotiation of oppressive foreign debts, and to force the imperialists to abandon their bases of aggression.
Man and Socialism in Cuba (1965)
- A letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha a radical weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay; published as "From Algiers, for Marcha : The Cuban Revolution Today" (12 March 1965); also published in Verde Olivo, the magazine of the Cuban armed forces "Socialism and Man in Cuba" - Variant translation by Margarita Zimmermann
- A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokespeople, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the abolition of the individual for the sake of the state.
- The state sometimes makes mistakes. When one of these mistakes occurs, a decline in collective enthusiasm is reflected by a resulting quantitative decrease of the contribution of each individual, each of the elements forming the whole of the masses. Work is so paralysed that insignificant quantities are produced. It is time to make a correction.
- A more structured connection with the mass is needed, and we must improve it in the course of the coming years. But as far as initiatives originating in the upper strata of the government are concerned, we are currently utilizing the almost intuitive method of sounding out general reactions to the great problems we confront.
In this Fidel is a master. His own special way of fusing himself with the people can be appreciated only by seeing him in action. At the great public mass meetings one can observe something like the dialogue of two tuning forks whose vibrations interact, producing new sounds. Fidel and the mass begin to vibrate together in a dialogue of growing intensity until they reach the climax in an abrupt conclusion crowned by our cry of struggle and victory.
- In capitalist society individuals are controlled by a pitiless law usually beyond their comprehension. The alienated human specimen is tied to society as a whole by an invisible umbilical cord: the law of value. This law acts upon all aspects of one's life, shaping its course and destiny.
- The difficult thing for someone not living the experience of the revolution to understand is this close dialectical unity between the individual and the mass, in which the mass, as an aggregate of individuals, is interconnected with its leaders.
Some phenomena of this kind can be seen under capitalism, when politicians capable of mobilising popular opinion appear, but these phenomena are not really genuine social movements. (If they were, it would not be entirely correct to call them capitalist.) These movements only live as long as the persons who inspire them do, or until the harshness of capitalist society puts an end to the popular illusions which made them possible.
- The laws of capitalism, blind and invisible to the majority, act upon the individual without his thinking about it. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists, who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller — whether or not it is true — about the possibilities of success.
The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.
- Variant translation: The laws of capitalism, which are blind and are invisible to ordinary people, act upon the individual without he or she being aware of it. One sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon ahead. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller — whether or not it is true — about the possibilities of individual success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for a Rockefeller to emerge, and the amount of depravity entailed in the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible for the popular forces to expose this clearly ... It is a contest among wolves. One can win only at the cost of the failure of others.
- In any case the road to success is pictured as one beset with perils but which, it would seem, an individual with the proper qualities can overcome to attain the goal. The reward is seen in the distance; the way is lonely. Further on it is a route for wolves; one can succeed only at the cost of the failure of others.
- I think the place to start is to recognize the individual's quality of incompleteness, of being an unfinished product. The vestiges of the past are brought into the present in one's consciousness, and a continual labor is necessary to eradicate them.
- It was not capitalism's internal contradictions that, having exhausted all possibilities, caused the system to explode. The struggle for liberation from a foreign oppressor; the misery caused by external events such as war, whose consequences privileged classes place on the backs of the exploited; liberation movements aimed at overthrowing neo-colonial regimes — these are the usual factors in unleashing this kind of explosion.
- Wealth is far from being within the reach of the masses simply through the process of appropriation.
- To build communism it is necessary, simultaneous with the new material foundations, to build the new man and woman.
- In moments of great peril it is easy to muster a powerful response to moral stimuli; but for them to retain their effect requires the development of a consciousness in which there is a new priority of values. Society as a whole must be converted into a gigantic school.
- Capitalism uses force but it also educates the people to its system. Direct propaganda is carried out by those entrusted with explaining the inevitability of class society, either through some theory of divine origin or through a mechanical theory of natural law.
This lulls the masses since they see themselves as being oppressed by an evil against which it is impossible to struggle. Immediately following comes the hope of improvement — and in this, capitalism differed from the preceding caste systems, which offered no possibilities for advancement.
- For some people, the principle of the caste system will remain in effect: The reward for the obedient is to be transported after death to some fabulous other world where, according to the old beliefs, good people are rewarded.
- The myth of the self-made man, has to be profoundly hypocritical: it is the self-serving demonstration that a lie is the truth.
- In this period of the building of socialism we can see the new man and woman being born. The image is not yet completely finished — it never will be, since the process goes forward hand in hand with the development of new economic forms.
- What is important, however, is that each day individuals are acquiring ever more consciousness of the need for their incorporation into society and, at the same time, of their importance as the motor of that society.
- The road is long and full of difficulties. At times we wander from the path and must turn back; at other times we go too fast and separate ourselves from the masses; on occasions we go too slow and feel the hot breath of those treading on our heels. In our zeal as revolutionists we try to move ahead as fast as possible, clearing the way, but knowing we must draw our sustenance from the mass and that it can advance more rapidly only if we inspire it by our example.
- The change in consciousness will not take place automatically, just as it doesn't take place automatically in the economy. The alterations are slow and are not harmonious; there are periods of acceleration, pauses and even retrogressions.
- In the field of ideas not involving productive activities it is easier to distinguish the division between material and spiritual necessity. For a long time man has been trying to free himself from alienation through culture and art. While he dies every day during the eight or more hours that he sells his labour, he comes to life afterwards in his spiritual activities.
But this remedy bears the germs of the same sickness; it is as a solitary individual that he seeks communion with his environment.
- Socialism is young and has made errors. Many times revolutionaries lack the knowledge and intellectual courage needed to meet the task of developing the new man with methods different from the conventional ones — and the conventional methods suffer from the influences of the society, which created them.
- Let us not attempt, from the pontifical throne of realism-at-any-cost, to condemn all the art forms which have evolved since the first half of the nineteenth century for we would then fall into the Proudhonian mistake of returning to the past, of putting a straitjacket on the artistic expression of the man who is being born and is in the process of making himself.
- What are needed are the development of an ideological-cultural mechanism which permits both free inquiry and the uprooting of the weeds which multiply so easily in the fertile soil of state subsidies.
- What we must create is the man of the twenty-first century, although this is still a subjective and not a realised aspiration. It is precisely this man of the next century who is one of the fundamental objectives of our work...
- The great multitudes continue to develop; the new ideas continue to attain their proper force within society; the material possibilities for the full development of all members of society make the task much more fruitful. The present is a time for struggle; the future is ours.
- Our task is to prevent the present generation, torn asunder by its conflicts, from becoming perverted and from perverting new generations. We must not bring into being either docile servants of official thought or scholarship students who live at the expense of the state — practising "freedom." Already there are revolutionaries coming who will sing the song of the new man in the true voice of the people. This is a process, which takes time.
- We are doing everything possible to give labor this new status of social duty and to link it on the one side with the development of a technology which will create the conditions for greater freedom, and on the other side with voluntary work based on a Marxist appreciation of the fact that man truly reaches a full human condition when he produces without being driven by the physical need to sell his labor as a commodity.
- Man still needs to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in his attitude towards his work, freed from the direct pressure of his social environment, though linked to it by his new habits. That will be communism.
The change in consciousness will not take place automatically, just as it doesn't take place automatically in the economy. The alterations are slow and are not harmonious; there are periods of acceleration, pauses and even retrogressions.
- Variant translation: There is still a need to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in one's attitude toward one's own work, freed from the direct pressure of the social environment, though linked to it by new habits. That will be communism. The change in consciousness does not take place automatically, just as change in the economy does not take place automatically. The alterations are slow and not rhythmic; there are periods of acceleration, periods that are slower, and even retrogressions.
- At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice.
The leaders of the revolution have children just beginning to talk, who are not learning to call their fathers by name; wives, from whom they have to be separated as part of the general sacrifice of their lives to bring the revolution to its fulfilment; the circle of their friends is limited strictly to the number of fellow revolutionists. There is no life outside of the revolution.
In these circumstances one must have a great deal of humanity and a strong sense of justice and truth in order not to fall into extreme dogmatism and cold scholasticism, into isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Excerpts from the two paragraphs above have sometimes been quoted in abbreviated form: At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality... We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Variant translation: One must have a large dose of humanity, a large dose of a sense of justice and truth in order to avoid dogmatic extremes, cold scholasticism, or an isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity is transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
- Of course there are dangers in the present situation, and not only that of dogmatism, not only that of weakening the ties with the masses midway in the great task. There is also the danger of weaknesses. If a man thinks that dedicating his entire life to the revolution means, that in return he should not have such worries as that his son lacks certain things, or that his children's shoes are worn out, or that his family lacks some necessity, then he is entering into rationalisations which open his mind to infection by the seeds of future corruption.
In our case we have maintained that our children should have or should go without those things that the children of the average man have or go without, and that our families should understand this and strive to uphold this standard. The revolution is made through man, but man must forge his revolutionary spirit day by day.
- We know that sacrifices lie before us and that we must pay a price for the heroic act of being a vanguard nation. We leaders know that we must pay a price for the right to say that we are at the head of a people, which is at the head of the Americas. Each and every one of us must pay his exact quota of sacrifice, conscious that he will get his reward in the satisfaction of fulfilling a duty, conscious that he will advance with all toward the image of the new man dimly visible on the horizon.
- The ultimate and most important revolutionary aspiration: to see human beings liberated from their alienation.
- The individual under socialism, despite apparent standardization, is more complete.
- The individual will reach total consciousness as a social being, which is equivalent to the full realization as a human creature, once the chains of alienation are broken. This will be translated concretely into the reconquering of one's true nature through liberated labor, and the expression of one's own human condition through culture and art.
- In order to develop a new culture, work must acquire a new status. Human beings-as-commodities cease to exist, and a system is installed that establishes a quota for the fulfillment of one's social duty. The means of production belong to society, and the machine is merely the trench where duty is performed.
- While a person dies every day during the eight or more hours in which he or she functions as a commodity, individuals come to life afterward in their spiritual creations. But this remedy bears the germs of the same sickness: that of a solitary being seeking harmony with the world.
- The law of value is no longer simply a reflection of the relations of production; the monopoly capitalists — even while employing purely empirical methods — surround that law with a complicated scaffolding that turns it into a docile servant. The superstructure imposes a kind of art in which the artist must be educated. Rebels are subdued by the machine, and only exceptional talents may create their own work. The rest become shamefaced hirelings or are crushed.
- Variant translation: The monopoly capitalists — even while employing purely empirical methods — weave around art a complicated web which converts it into a willing tool. The superstructure of society ordains the type of art in which the artist has to be educated. Rebels are subdued by its machinery and only rare talents may create their own work. The rest become shameless hacks or are crushed.
- A school of artistic experimentation is invented, which is said to be the definition of freedom; but this “experimentation” has its limits, imperceptible until there is a clash, that is, until the real problems of individual alienation arise. Meaningless anguish or vulgar amusement thus become convenient safety valves for human anxiety. The idea of using art as a weapon of protest is combated. Those who play by the rules of the game are showered with honors — such honors as a monkey might get for performing pirouettes. The condition is that one does not try to escape from the invisible cage.
- The fault of many of our artists and intellectuals lies in their original sin: they are not true revolutionaries. We can try to graft the elm tree so that it will bear pears, but at the same time we must plant pear trees. New generations will come that will be free of original sin.
- It is not a matter of how many kilograms of meat one has to eat, or of how many times a year someone can go to the beach, or how many pretty things from abroad you might be able to buy with present-day wages. It is a matter of making the individual feel more complete, with much more inner wealth and much more responsibility.
- Our children must have, or lack, those things that the children of the ordinary citizen have or lack; our families should understand this and struggle for it to be that way.
- We socialists are freer because we are more fulfilled; we are more fulfilled because we are freer. The skeleton of our complete freedom is already formed. The flesh and the clothing are lacking; we will create them.
- The basic clay of our work is the youth; we place our hope in it and prepare it to take the banner from our hands.
Farewell letter to Fidel Castro (1965)
- In a revolution one wins or dies, if it is a real one.
- In a revolution, one triumphs or dies (if it is a true revolution).
- I feel that I have fulfilled the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban revolution in its territory, and I say farewell to you, to the comrades, to your people, who now are mine.
- He vivido días magníficos
- I have lived magnificent days.
- Other nations of the world summon my modest efforts of assistance.
- I leave a people who received me as a son. That wounds a part of my spirit. I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be.
- If my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you.
- Hasta la victoria siempre, ¡Patria o Muerte!
- Until victory always, Homeland or death!
- Variant translations:
Always toward Victory!
Until eternal victory!
Until the everlasting victory.
Ever onward until victory.
Last Letter to his Parents (1965)
- "Dear Old Folks", Sent by Che to his parents in 1965 as he embarked for Bolivia.
- Once again I feel beneath my heels the ribs of Rocinante. Once more, I'm on the road with my shield on my arm.
- Rocinante was the name of Don Quixotes' horse.
- My Marxism has taken root and become purified. I believe in armed struggle as the only solution for those peoples who fight to free themselves, and I am consistent with my beliefs.
- Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am... only one of a different sort: one who risks his skin to prove his truths.
- Variant translation: Many will call me an adventurer — and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes.
- It is possible that this may be the end. I don't seek it, but it's within the logical realms of probabilities. If it should be so, I send you a final embrace.
- Now a willpower that I have polished with an artist's delight will sustain some shaky legs and some weary lungs. I will do it. Give a thought once in awhile to this little soldier of fortune of the twentieth century.
Letter to his Children (1965)
- "Last Letter from Papa", Letter to all of his children written sometime in 1965, to be read in the event of his death.
- Your father has been a man who acted according to his beliefs and certainly has been faithful to his convictions.
- Grow up as good revolutionaries. Study hard to be able to dominate the techniques that permit the domination of nature. Remember that the Revolution is what is important and that each of us, on our own, is worthless.
- Above all, try always to be able to feel deeply any injustice committed against any person in any part of the world. It is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary.
- Until always, little children. I still hope to see you again. A really big kiss and a hug from Papa.
Birthday Letter to his Daughter (1966)
- "Birthday Wishes from Papa", sent to Guevara's oldest daughter Hilda on her 10th birthday (written 15 February 1966)
- Remember, there are still many years of struggle ahead, and even when you are a woman, you will have to do your part in the struggle. Meanwhile, you have to prepare yourself, be very revolutionary — which at your age means to learn a lot, as much as possible, and always be ready to support just causes.
- You should fight to be among the best in school. The very best in every sense and you already know what that means; study and revolutionary attitude. In other words: good conduct, seriousness, love for the revolution, comradeship. I was not that way at your age but I lived in a different society, where man was an enemy of man. Now you have the privilege of living in another era and you must be worthy of it.
Message to the Tricontinental (1967)
- "Message to the Tricontinental" sent from his jungle camp in Bolivia, to the Tricontinental solidarity organisation in Havana in the Spring of 1967, Published: 16 April 1967.
- There is a sad reality: Vietnam — a nation representing the aspirations, the hopes of a whole world of forgotten peoples — is tragically alone. This nation must endure the furious attacks of U.S. technology, with practically no possibility of reprisals in the South and only some of defense in the North — but always alone.
- The solidarity of all progressive forces of the world towards the people of Vietnam today is similar to the bitter irony of the plebeians coaxing on the gladiators in the Roman arena. It is not a matter of wishing success to the victim of aggression, but of sharing his fate; one must accompany him to his death or to victory.
- Not for a long time shall we be able to know if President Johnson ever seriously thought of bringing about some of the reforms needed by his people — to iron out the barbed class contradictions that grow each day with explosive power. The truth is that the improvements announced under the pompous title of the "Great Society" have dropped into the cesspool of Vietnam.
- Our America is integrated by a group of more or less homogeneous countries and in most parts of its territory U.S. monopolist capitals maintain an absolute supremacy. Puppet governments or, in the best of cases, weak and fearful local rulers, are incapable of contradicting orders from their Yankee master.
- The slogan "we will not allow another Cuba" hides the possibility of perpetrating aggressions without fear of reprisal, such as the one carried out against the Dominican Republic or before that the massacre in Panama — and the clear warning stating that Yankee troops are ready to intervene anywhere in America where the ruling regime may be altered, thus endangering their interests.
- There are no other alternatives; either a socialist revolution or a make-believe revolution.
- A new era will dawn in Africa, when the impoverished masses of a nation rise up to rescue their right to a decent life from the hands of the ruling oligarchies.
- We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism — and it must be defeated in a world confrontation. The strategic end of this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism. Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capitals, raw materials, technicians and cheap labor, and to which they export new capitals — instruments of domination — arms and all kinds of articles; thus submerging us in an absolute dependence.
- We must not underrate our adversary; the U.S. soldier has technical capacity and is backed by weapons and resources of such magnitude that render him frightful. He lacks the essential ideological motivation which his bitterest enemies of today — the Vietnamese soldiers — have in the highest degree. We will only be able to overcome that army by undermining their morale — and this is accomplished by defeating it and causing it repeated sufferings.
- It is absolutely just to avoid all useless sacrifices. Therefore, it is so important to clear up the real possibilities that dependent America may have of liberating itself through pacific means. For us, the solution to this question is quite clear: the present moment may or may not be the proper one for starting the struggle, but we cannot harbor any illusions, and we have no right to do so, that freedom can be obtained without fighting.
- These battles shall not be mere street fights with stones against tear-gas bombs, or of pacific general strikes; neither shall it be the battle of a furious people destroying in two or three days the repressive scaffolds of the ruling oligarchies; the struggle shall be long, harsh, and its front shall be in the guerrilla's refuge, in the cities, in the homes of the fighters — where the repressive forces shall go seeking easy victims among their families — in the massacred rural population, in the villages or cities destroyed by the bombardments of the enemy.
- The beginnings will not be easy; they shall be extremely difficult. All the oligarchies' powers of repression, all their capacity for brutality and demagoguery will be placed at the service of their cause. Our mission, in the first hour, shall be to survive; later, we shall follow the perennial example of the guerilla, carrying out armed propaganda ... the great lesson of the invincibility of the guerrillas taking root in the dispossessed masses; the galvanizing of the national spirit, the preparation for harder tasks, for resisting even more violent repressions. Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.
- Variant translation: The great lesson of the guerrillas' invincibility is taking hold among the masses of the dispossessed. The galvanization of the national spirit; the preparation for more difficult tasks, for resistance to more violent repression. Hate as a factor in the struggle, intransigent hatred for the enemy that takes one beyond the natural limitations of a human being and converts one into an effective, violent, selective, cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be like that; a people without hate cannot triumph over a brutal enemy.
- We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war. It is necessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet moment outside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move. Then his moral fiber shall begin to decline. He will even become more beastly, but we shall notice how the signs of decadence begin to appear.
- To die under the flag of Vietnam, of Venezuela, of Guatemala, of Laos, of Guinea, of Colombia, of Bolivia, of Brazil — to name only a few scenes of today's armed struggle — would be equally glorious and desirable for an American, an Asian, an African, even a European.
- Each spilt drop of blood, in any country under whose flag one has not been born, is an experience passed on to those who survive, to be added later to the liberation struggle of his own country. And each nation liberated is a phase won in the battle for the liberation of one's own country.
- How close we could look into a bright future should two, three or many Vietnams flourish throughout the world.
- Our every action is a battle cry against imperialism, and a battle hymn for the people's unity against the great enemy of mankind: the United States of America.
- Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons and other men be ready to intone the funeral dirge with the staccato singing of the machine-guns and new battle cries of war and victory.
- Variant: "Whenever death may surprise us..."
- As quoted in Che : Selected Works of Ernesto Guevara (1969) edited by Rolando E. Bonachea and Nelson P. Valdes
- Variant: "Whenever death may surprise us..."
In Spanish, with translations:
- La revolución no se lleva en los labios para vivir de ella, se lleva en el corazón para morir por ella.
- The revolution is not carried in the lips to live on, it is carried in the heart for die for.
- Variant translation: The revolution lives on not in words to live for it, but in one's heart to die for it.
- No se vive celebrando victorias, sino superando derrotas.
- Live your life not celebrating victories, but overcoming defeats.
- El conocimiento nos hace responsables.
- Knowledge makes us accountable.
- I was born in Argentina; this is no secret for anyone. I am Cuban as well as Argentinean and, if the highly illustrated lordships of Latin America may not feel offended, I feel such a patriotism for Latin America, for any country in Latin America, that in the moment it might be necessary, I would be ready to yield my life for the liberation of any Latin American nation, without asking anybody anything, without demanding anything, without exploiting anyone.
- No enemy, no forces should be underestimated — for there are no longer any isolated nations. As established by the second declaration in Havana, no nation in Latin America is weak, for it belongs to a family of 200 million brothers who all live in the same poverty and all have the same feelings. They all have the same enemy, they all dream of a better life and they count on the solidarity of all righteous people. This elegy of ours will be written by starving indians, by landless peasants, by exploited workers, by the progressive masses, by honest and brilliant intellectuals of which there are so many in Latin America.
- Under the discredited flag of the United Nations, dozens of countries under the military leadership of the United States participated in this war with the massive intervention of U.S. soldiers and the use, as cannon fodder, of the South Korean population that was enrolled.
- Words that do not match deeds are unimportant.
- While envisaging the destruction of imperialism, it is necessary to identify its head, which is no other than the United States of America.
- ¡Patria o muerte! Venceremos!
- Homeland or death! We will triumph!
- Though Gueverra often used this slogan or part of it, it originates with Fidel Castro, who first used it in a speech at a cemetery in Colon, Cuba (5 March 1960)
- Y esa ola de estremecido rencor, de justicia reclamada, de derecho pisoteado, que se empieza a levantar por entre las tierras de Latinoamérica, esa ola ya no parará más. Esa ola irá creciendo cada día que pase.
- And the wave of anger, of demands for justice, of claims for rights trampled underfoot, which is beginning to sweep the lands of Latin America, will not stop. That wave will swell with every passing day.
- Fidel Castro, in the Second Declaration of Havana (4 February 1962). Guevara quoted this extensively in his famous speech to the 19th United Nations General Assembly (11 December 1964), and lines from it are often misattributed to him; this portion has also been paraphrased as Esa ola irá creciendo cada día que pase, esa ola ya no parará mas. (This wave will swell with everyday that passes, this wave will no longer be stopped.)
Quotes about Che
- Che was loved, in spite of being stern and demanding. We would give our life for him.
- Tomas Alba, who fought under Che, as quoted in "Che Guevara Honored 40 Years After Death" at AHN News (11 October 2007)
- I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed "an innocent". Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath: desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder.
- Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (1997), at "The Legacy of Che Guevara" at PBS Online Newshour Forum (20 November 1997)
- Che is a figure who can constantly be examined and re-examined. To the younger, post-cold-war generation of Latin Americans, Che stands up as the perennial Icarus, a self-immolating figure who represents the romantic tragedy of youth. Their Che is not just a potent figure of protest, but the idealistic, questioning kid who exists in every society and every time.
- We'll still have to wait many years for history to deliver a definite judgement on Che, when the passions of both sides have passed.
- Uva de Aragon, Cuban-American academic at Florida International University, "Sympathizers marks 40th anniversary of Che Guevara's death" AParticle (8 October 2007)
- The discussions that count, are those that continue albeit silently in thought.
In my mind, the discussion with Che has continued for all these years, and the more time passed, the more he has been right.
Even today, dying while putting in motion a never ending struggle, he continues, always, to be right.
- He wasn't able to inspire revolutions because individuals don't inspire revolutions — they inspire movements, respect, and, sometimes, adulation and admiration. Once he was dead, of course, the fact that you could read him any way you wanted, and that there was no danger of being contradicted by him, made it easier in a sense for Che to inspire people. But the fact is that none of the political movements that Che inspired after his death in 1968 were triumphant. The cultural movements were, but the political movements didn't go anywhere.
- Jorge Castañeda, Author of "Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara", as quoted in "A Life (more or less) Revolutionary" in The Atlantic (20 November 1997)
- Why did they think that by killing him, he would cease to exist as a fighter? ... Today he is in every place, wherever there is a just cause to defend.
- Che sowed the seeds of social conscience in Latin America and the world, he was a flower prematurely cut from its stem.
- Che is fairly intellectual for a Latino.
- It's like he is alive and with us, like a friend. He is kind of like a Virgin (Mary) for us. We say, "Che, help us with our work or with this planting,' and it always goes well."
- Manuel Cortez, a farmer who lives next door to the schoolhouse where Guevara was executed, "In Bolivia, Push for Che Tourism Follows Locals' Reverence" by Kevin Hall in Knight-Ridder (17 August 2004)
- This secular saint was ready to die because he could not tolerate a world where the poor of the earth, the displaced and dislocated of history, would be relegated to its vast margins.
- What has made Guevara a cultural icon is not his example for poor countries, but his capacity to provoke empathy among the spoiled youth of the affluent West.
- It was difficult to recall that this man had once been one of the great figures of Latin America. It was not just that he was a great guerrilla leader; he had been a friend of Presidents as well as revolutionaries. His voice had been heard and appreciated in inter-American councils as well as in the jungle. He was a doctor, an amateur economist, once Minister of Industries in revolutionary Cuba, and Castro's right-hand man. He may well go down in history as the greatest continental figure since Bolivar. Legends will be created around his name.
- Richard Gott, journalist in Bolivia on the day of Che's execution, in "US Intelligence agent in at Che Guevara's death" in The Guardian (10 October 1967)
- What I appreciated most was his honesty — and his ability to transform negative things into positive things. ... he was not compromising. It wasn't easy unless you shared his vision and believed in it.
- He always did what he said he was going to do, That's why he is still timely.
- Che was wearing green fatigues, and his usual overgrown and scraggly beard. Behind the beard his features are quite soft, almost feminine, and his manner is intense. He has a good sense of humor, and there was considerable joking back and forth during the meeting ... Although he left no doubt of his personal and intense devotion to communism, his conversation was free of propaganda and bombast. He spoke calmly, in a straightforward manner, and with the appearance of detachment and objectivity ... I had the definite impression that he had thought out his remarks very carefully — they were extremely well organized.
- We can in no way accept that my father should appear on women's underwear or men's underwear or that it should be on the back pocket of a pair of jeans or that they use it as a commercial image for a pair of glasses. We think that is lacking in respect and we won't accept that.
- He belongs more to the romantic tradition than the revolutionary one. To endure as a romantic icon, one must not just die young, but die hopelessly. Che fulfils both criteria. When one thinks of Che as a hero, it is more in terms of Byron than Marx.
- We predict that Guevara will be eulogized as the model revolutionary who met a heroic death.
- Thomas L. Hughes, Intelligence specialist, in a memo to U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk (October 19 1967); National Security Archives
- Long Live Che Guevara!
- Jesse Jackson, speech in Havana, Cuba (1984), quoted in "Fidel Castro, the First Superdelegate" by Greg Grandin in The Baltimore Chronicle
- As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che.
- Alberto Korda, on his famous photograph of Guevara, as quoted in "Che Guevara photographer dies" in BBC News (26 May 2001)
- Che never wavered from his firm revolutionary stand, even as other Cuban leaders began to devote most of their attention to the internal problems of the revolution.
- Brian Latell, CIA analyst, in an intelligence memo (18 October 1965); quoted in "The Death of Che Guevara: Declassified" by Peter Kornbluh, a summary of various accounts of Che Guevara's Death at George Washington University]
- Che was not only a heroic fighter, but a revolutionary thinker, with a political and moral project and a system of ideas and values for which he fought and gave his life. The philosophy which gave his political and ideological choices their coherence, colour, and taste was a deep revolutionary humanism. For Che, the true Communist, the true revolutionary was one who felt that the great problems of all humanity were his or her personal problems, one who was capable of feeling anguish whenever someone was assassinated, no matter where it was in the world, and of feeling exultation whenever a new banner of liberty was raised somewhere else.
- Michael Löwy, author of The Marxism of Che Guevara, in "The spark that does not die" in International Viewpoint (July 1997)
- Che's life is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom. We will always honor his memory.
- On his trips, he would receive gifts from his hosts, some of them very expensive. He would get presents for me as well, and he would give them away if he considered them too ostentatious. I was given a color TV only to see Che pass it on to a factory worker. And back then, it was sort of an unimaginable item. Once, after a trip to Algeria, he received a barrel of an excellent wine. When he arrived home, he told me to give it to the army barracks near our home. I would not always unconditionally obey his mandates. Knowing that wine was one of the few treats he allowed himself, I kept five liters.
- Aleida March, Che's widow, as quoted in "Widow has her say on Che" in NY Daily News (1 October 2007)
- To his critics, Guevara was a trigger-happy megalomaniac whose bloody example led thousands to their deaths in futile uprisings that only hardened military repression from Guatemala to Chile.
- Patrick J. McDonnell, journalist, "Che Guevara's legacy looms larger than ever in Latin America" in The Los Angeles Times (8 October 2007)
- He was just like a Christ, with his strong eyes, his beard, his long hair. He is very miraculous.
- Susana Osinaga, the nurse who cleaned Guevara's corpse, as quoted in "The final triumph of Saint Che" in The Observer (23 September 2007)
- Why do we say Che is alive? Because of his grandeur, his transcendence. For us, Che is here, very much alive, in everything we say.
- Osvaldo 'Chato' Peredo, president of the Che Guevara foundation, as quoted in "The final triumph of Saint Che" in The Observer (23 September 2007)
- The myth of the holy Che must finally be destroyed.
- Bolivian General Gary Prado Salmon, commander of the mission to capture Guevara, in "The Curse Of Che Guevara" by Jens Glüsing in Der Spiegel (8 October 2007)
- We feel sick about this grand show that goes on every year on the anniversary of his death. Rather than honour a man who came to invade the country, we should honour the armed forces, the soldiers who defended the country.
- Bolivian General Gary Prado Salmon, commander of the mission to capture Guevara, "Che Guevara Honored 40 Years After Death" at AHN News (11 October 2007)
- Most people don't know the real Che Guevara — the Che Guevara who wrote that he was thirsty for blood, the Che who assassinated thousands of people without any regard for any real legal process.
- Che was the most complete human being of our age.
- He was demanding of everyone and practiced being a personal example. Once, Guevara and other ministry officials were served steaks during a severe food shortage. Steaks are a treasured meal for Argentines, but Guevara became incensed and ordered it all removed. "What is this? No one is touching this meat. Take it away."
- Tirso Saenz, Che's aide, as quoted in "Che Remembered 40 Years After Death" by Alvaro Suazo in The Washington Post (6 October 2007)
- Che T-shirts are among the first things you'll see after landing at the Havana airport. But at least the Cubans know whom they're glorifying. In the United States, Che's life story and ambitions seem beside the point, or maybe they've just been reduced to caricature. The guy's face is shorthand for "I'm against the status quo." He's politics' answer to James Dean, a rebel with a very specific cause.
- David Segal, journalist, in "The Che Cachet" in The Washington Post (7 February 2006)
- He taught me to think — he taught me the most beautiful thing which is to be human.
- "Urbano", former Cuban rebel fighter, as quoted in "Latin America's new look at Che" in BBC News (9 October 2007)
- Guevara remains a national hero in Cuba where he is remembered for promoting unpaid voluntary work by working shirtless on building sites or hauling sacks of sugar. To this day, he appears on a Cuban banknote cutting sugar cane with a machete in the fields.
- Rosa Tania Valdes, journalist, in "Cuba remembers Che Guevara 40 years after his fall" in Reuters (8 October 2007)
- Time 100 : Che Guevara
- Moreorless.au.com - Hero File profile and timeline
- The Che Guevara internet archive - contains written works, pictures, and speeches
- Che Guevara page which includes many articles and much information
- "The Death of Che Guevara: Declassified" by Peter Kornbluh, a summary of various accounts of Che Guevara's Death at George Washington University
- Documents by and about Guevara (in Spanish)
- ABC News : "Life and Death of Che Guevara"
- "The True Story of Che Guevara" (History Channel video)
- Italo Calvino on Che Guevara (1967)
- "Che Guevara: Symbol of Struggle" (1997) by Tony Saunois at SocialistWorld.net
- "The Revolution of Che Guevara" by Sabrina Laurent in Bohème (May 2004)