Command Ante Ernesto "Che" Guevara (19

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  • 8/8/2019 Command Ante Ernesto "Che" Guevara (19...


    Commandante Ernesto "Che" Guevara


    This is Che Guevara on a bicycle. OK, it has a small engine, but its still a bike that you have to pedal. Che rodethis through Argentina in the late 40s. I was thinking about Che because Im reading Companero: The Life and

    Death of Che Guevara. Several years ago, I read Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and The MotorcycleDiaries. I recommend them both.

    As you know, Im a union organizer. In my office, I have a big Che poster mounted on the wall. Its the one thingyou can see as you pass my office. A few people have commented that its a shocking thing to see. That may betrue. Its there because it has one of my favorite quotations from Che (or anyone else, for that matter) printed onit:
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    At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling oflove. Che Guevara

    Contributed by ron collins on Tue, 2007-10-09 18:16.

    In sections:




    Argentine physician and revolutionary guerrilla, Cuban official, diplomat and national hero

    "And if there's any hope for America, it lies in a revolution, and if there's any hope for a revolutionin America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara." -Phil Ochs

    Remembering His Death, Celebrating His Life

    On October 9, 1967, 40 years ago today, Che Guevara was assassinated in Bolivia by his CIA-assisted and -directed captors.

    He told the frightened soldier who was sent to execute him in the small room where Che lay,seriously wounded: I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill aman." The Bolivian had been told not to shoot Che in the head, because they wanted to be sure toget identifiable photos of him dead. After he was killed, and photos taken, Che's hands werechopped off and sent to Cuba as further proof that the world-famous revolutionary was dead.

    Che and his comrades were buried in secret graves, which were onlyfound in 1997 by an international team of forensic anthropologists. Their remains were returned
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    to Cuba and buried in a mausoleum in Santa Clara, the city in central Cuba which Che liberated inthe 1959 revolution.

    Today in Bolivia, 40 years later, Che's life is being celebrated not just by the indigenouscampesinos he worked with but by the Government and the country's President Evo Morales, thefirst indigenous President of Bolivia.

    One of the CIA-paid Cuban exiles who were with the military group that hunted Che down wasFelix Rodriquez, a Cuban counterrevolutionary whowas later implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal, during which hehelped the CIA train and infiltrate terrorists into Nicaragua.Rodriquez lives freely in Miami, pardoned by the first President Bushof his many terrorist crimes (including those in the US). He still hasChe's wristwatch, which he proudly displays to reporters.

    Later this month at a gallery in Texas, another ofthe counterrevolutionary Cuban CIA hirelings who were on the hunt forChe will be auctioning off a lock of his hair, a copy of Che'sfingerprints, a map and other trophies of that day

    Meanwhile, two years ago that frightened Bolivian sergeant who was sentto shoot Che, now an old man, was going blind from cataracts. He cannow see again, thanks to the free surgery he received, from Cubandoctors, part of the Venezuelan-Cuban program to provide freeophthalmic care called "Operation Miracle."


    Che's Life and Work:

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    Che Guevara was a Latin American revolutionary leader who rejected bothcapitalism and orthodox Soviet communism. Like T.E. Lawrence, Guevaralived an adventurous life. His tragic early death in Bolivia when hewas 39 created a legend that still lives. He once said that "the truerevolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love," but he also wroteinfluential works on guerrilla warfare:

    "The guerrilla band is an armed nucleus, the fighting vanguard of thepeople. It draws its great force from the mass of the peoplethemselves. The guerrilla band is not to be considered inferior to thearmy against which it fights simply because it is inferior in firepower. Guerrilla warfare is used by the side which is supported by amajority but which possesses a much smaller number of arms for use indefense against oppression." (from "Guerrilla Warfare," 1960)

    In the brief period of 8 years between the 1959 revolutionary victory inCuba and his assassination in 1967, the scope of Che's accomplishmentsis truly astonishing. His legacy includes intellectual writings onradical politics and social theory, military/guerrilla warfare strategyand tactics, diplomatic memos, books, speeches, magazine articles,letters, poetry and diaries, as well as official documents preserved ingovernment archives. Che's practical and theoretical work had aprofound political impact around the globe during the second half ofthe 20th century, especially in the developing world, whererevolutionary organizing and anti-colonial struggles were inspired byhis thought and example. His writings have been translated into hundredsof languages; in English much is available from the Australianpublishing house Ocean Press (see Sources).

    Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born on June 14, 1928 in Rosario,Argentina into a middle-class family of Spanish-Irish descent. Celia dela Serna y Llosa, his mother, had lost her parents while she was still

    a child. Celia was raised by her religious aunt and her older sister,Carmen de la Serna, who married in 1928 the Communist poet CayetanoCrdova Itrburu. Guevara's family was liberal, anti-Nazi andanti-Peronist, and not very religious. With Celia's fortune (modest bytoday's standards of wealth), the family lived comfortably, althoughErnesto Guevara Lynch, Ernesto's father, managed to spend much of it inhis unlucky business ventures. In his youth Guevara read widely andamong his reading list in the 1940s were Sartre, Pablo Neruda, CiroAlegra, and Karl Marx's Das Kapital. He also kept a philosophicaldiary and in Africa during his 1965 Congo campaign, Guevara planned towrite a biography of Marx.

    In 1953 Guevara graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, where hewas trained as a doctor. During these years Guevara read Stalin andMussolini but did not join radical student organizations. He made longtravels in Argentina and in other Latin America countries. At the sametime his critical views about the expanding economic influence of theUnited States deepened. In 1952 he made a journey on his motor bike,an old Norton 500 single, around South America. The journey opened hiseyes about the situation of the indigenous people and was crucial forthe awakening of his social conscience. Like Jack Kerouac later in hisbook On the Road (1957), Guevara recorded his impressions in TheMotorcycle Diaries. "The person who wrote these notes died the day he

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    In the mountains Guevara met Aleida March in 1958, a 24-year-oldrevolutionary fighter, and she became Guevara's second wife in 1959. Hecontinued to write his diary and also composed articles for El CubanoLibre. A selection of Gurvara's articles, which he wrote between 1959and 1964, was published in 1963 [sic] as PASAJES DE LA GUERRAREVOLUCIONARIA. For the world media, Cuba was a hot subject - The NewYork Times, Paris Match and Latin American papers sent reporters to themountains to write stories of the revolutionaries. At the same timeGuevara was in the mountains, his uncle was serving as Argentina'sAmbassador to Cuba.

    Guevara rose to the rank of major and led one of the forces thatinvaded central Cuba in late 1958, liberating the city of Santa Clara.After the Revolutionary victory in January 1959 Guevara gained fame asa leading figure in Castro's government. He attracted much attentionwith his speeches against imperialism and US policy in the Third World.He argued strongly for centralized planning, and emphasized creation ofthe 'new socialist man.' In his famous article, 'Notes on Man andSocialism,' he argued that "to build communism, you must build new menas well as the new economic base." The basis of revolutionary struggleis "the happiness of people," the goal of socialism is the creationof more complete and more devoped human beings.

    In a discussion on September 14, 1961 Guevara opposed the right ofdissidents to make their views known even within the Communist Partyitself. However, privately Guevara was critical of the Soviet bloc, butso was also Nikita Khruschev. When the executions of war criminalsstarted Guevara acted as the highest prosecuting authority. Thecondemned were soldiers found guilty of murder, torture and otherserious crimes. Because Guevara was a doctor, one of his friends onceasked how he could work in such a position. Guevara's answer was likesomething from Western movies: "Look, in this thing you have to killbefore they kill you." In 1959 Guevara formally adopted the nickname

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    Che and was granted honorary Cuban citizenship. He was visited by suchintellectuals as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, who saw in himthe "most complete human being of our age."

    The most famous picture of Guevara was taken by Alberto Diaz Gutirrez,known professionally as Korda, at a memorial rally held for more than100 Cubans killed when the French ship La Coubre exploded as it was

    being unloaded in Havana Harbor -- it is generally agreed as the resultof counterrevolutionary sabotage against the ship, which carriedmunitions as part of its cargo. Korda declined to demand royaltypayments when the picture became a worldwide icon. But when a Britishadvertising agency appropriated the image for a vodka ad, Korda wasincensed and went to court to stop this commercial use of his famousphoto. "[Che] never drank himself," said the photographer, "and drinkshould not be associated with his immortal memory."

    From 1961 to 1965 Guevara was minister for industries, and director ofthe national bank, signing the bank notes simply 'Che.' He traveledwidely, representing Cuba at the Organization of American States andspeaking at the United Nations, as well as making extended trips tothe USSR, India and Africa, meeting the leading figures of the world,among others Jawaharel Nehru and Nikita Khruschev. Guevara was also thearchitect of the close relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union.Although good a relationship with Moscow became the cornerstone ofCastro's foreign policy, Guevara followed with interest the developmentof the Maoist model in China. In 1965 Guevara made public hisdisappointments in Algieria and described the Kremlin as "an accompliceof imperialism."

    Guevara's departure from the Cuban government followed his return fromAlgiers. To test his revolutionary theories he resigned from hisofficial government posts. He had published the highly influential

    manuals "Guerrilla Warfare" (1960) and "Guerrilla Warfare: AMethod" (1963), which were based on his own experiences and partly onchairman Mao Zedong's writings. President John F. Kennedy had"Guerrilla Warfare" rapidly translated for him by the CIA. Guevarastated that revolution in Latin America must come through insurgentforces developed in rural areas with peasant support. There is no needfor the right preconditions for revolution, he wrote; guerrilla warfarecan begin the activities. In his last article, "Vietnam and WorldStruggle," Guevara outlined his global perspective for revolutionarystruggle, and stressed the dual role of hate and love.

    "And he did have a saving element of humor. I possess a tape of hisappearance on an early episode of 'Meet the Press' in December 1964,where he confronts a solemn panel of network pundits. When they addresshim about the 'conditions' that Cuba must meet in order to be permittedthe sunshine of American approval, he smiles as he proposes that thereneed be no preconditions: 'After all, we do not demand that you abolishracial discrimination....' A person as professionally skeptical as I.F.Stone so far forgot himself as to write: 'He was the first man I evermet who I thought not just handsome but beautiful. With his curlyreddish beard, he looked like a cross between a faun and aSunday-school print of Jesus.... He spoke with that utter sobriety which

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    sometimes masks immense apocalyptic visions." (Christopher Hitchens inNew York Review of Books, July 17, 1997).

    During his disappearance from public life Guevara spent some time inAfrica organizing the Lumumba Battalion which took part in the Congocivil war. He was not happy with the way Laurent Kabila fought againstJoseph Mobutu, although his first impression of Kabila was positive."Africa has a long way to go before it reaches real revolutionarymaturity," Guevara concluded in his diary.

    In 1966 Guevara turned up incognito in Bolivia, where he trained and leda guerrilla force in the Santa Cruz region. In his manual "GuerrillaWarfare," Guevara had stressed that the guerrilla fighter needs fullsupport of the people of the area as an indispensable condition, butGuevara failed to win the support of the peasants, and his group wassurrounded near Vallegrande by American-trained Bolivian troops. "Thedecisive moment in a man's life is when he decides to confront death,"Guevara once said. "If he confronts it, he will be a hero whether hesucceeds or not. He can be a good or a bad politician, but if he doesnot confront death he will never be more than a politician."

    After Guevara was captured, Captain Gary Prado Salmn assigned asecurity detail around him to be sure that nothing happened. Guevaratold him, "Don't worry, Captain, don't worry. This is the end. It's

    finished" (according to the documentary film 'Red Chapters,' 1999).Guevara was assassinated in a schoolhouse in La Higuera on October 9,1967, by Warrant Officer Mario Tern of the Bolivian Rangers, under thecommand of Colonel Zenteno. Tern was half-drunk, celebrating hisbirthday. Guevara's last words were, according to some sources: "Shoot,coward, you are only going to kill a man."

    Che was actually shot with the connivance of the CIA's the mercenaryCuban counterrevolutionaries who were deployed with theUS-trained Bolivian military. One of these, Felix Rodriguez, later

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    living in Miami, bragged for years afterward that he had taken Che'swristwatch and would eagerly display it to any reporter who seemedinterested.

    In order to make a positive fingerprint comparison with recordsin Argentina, Guevara's hands were amputated and put into a flask offormaldehyde. They were later returned to Cuba. Guevara's corpse was

    buried in a ditch at the end of the runway site of Vallegrande's newairport. "Che considered himself a soldier of this revolution, withabsolutely no concern about surviving it," said Fidel Castro later in"Che: A Memoir."

    In the fall of 1997, a team of Cuban and international forensicarcheologists finally located the hidden unmarked graves of Che and hiscompaner@s in Bolivia. Their remains were exhumed and returned to Cuba,where they are interred in a mausoleum and memorial museum in thecentral city of Santa Clara, which Che liberated during the 1959revolution. October 9, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of Che's death.

    Guevara's life inspired the film Che! (1969), directed by RichardFleischer and starring Omar Sharif (Guevara) and Jack Palance (Castro).The fictionalized biography was criticized by James Baldwin in "TheDevil Finds Work" (1976): "The intention of Ch! was to make both theman, and his Bolivian adventure, irrelevant and ridiculous; and to dothis, furthermore, with such a syrup of sympathy that any incipient ofCh would think twice before leaving Mama, and the ever-ready friend atthe bank."

    FURTHER READING: Cuba: An American Tragedy by Maurice Zeitlin(1964); Che: The Making of a Legend by Martin Ebon (1969); Che Guevaraby A. Sinclair (1970); The Marxism of Che Guevara: Philosophy,Economics and Revolutionary Warfare by Michael Lowy (1973); The Latin

    American Revolution by Donald C. Hodges (1974); The Legacy of CheGuevara, ed. by Donald C. Hodges (1977); Shadow Warrior: The CIAs Heroof a Hundred Unknown Battles by Felix Rodriguez with John Weisman(1989); Che Guevara, A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson (1997);Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge G. Castaneda(1997); Guevara, Also Known as Che by Paco Ignacio Taibo (1997); Che inAfrica: Che Guevara's Congo Diary by William Glvez (1999); CheGuevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution by Peter McLaren(2000) - See also: Jos Mart

    Selected works:

    * LA GUERRA DE GUERRILLAS, 1960 - Guerrilla Warfare

    * PASAJES DE LA GUERRA REVOLUCIONARIA, 1963 - Reminiscences of theCuban Revolutionary War - Vallankumoussota Kuubassa

    * Guerrilla Warfare: A Method, 1963

    * EL SOCIALISMO Y EL HOMBRE - CUBA, 1965 - Socialism and Man

    * Che Guevara Speaks, 1967 (ed. by George Lanvan)

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    * DIARIA DE CHE EN BOLIVIA, 1968 - Diary of Che Guevara (ed. byRobert Scheer) / Bolivian Diary of Ernesto "Che" Guevara

    * OBRAS COMPLETAS, 1968 (Complete Works)

    * Venceremos! The Speeches and Writings of Che Guevara, 1968 ( John Gerassi)

    * Che Guevara on Revolution, 1969 (ed. by Jay Mallin)

    * Che Guerava, 1969 (selected works)

    * Che: Selected works of Ernesto Guevara, 1970 (ed. by RolandoBonachea and Nelson P. Valdes)

    * OBRAS (Works) 1957-1967, 1970 (2 vols.)

    * ESCRITOS Y DISCURSOS, 1977 (9 vols.) (Writings and Speeches)

    * Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution: Writings and Speeches ofErnesto Che Guevara, 1987

    * The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey Around South America by ErnestoChe Guevara, 1995 (trans. by Ann Wright) - Moottoripyrpivkirja(trans. into Finnish by Aleksi Siltala, from Notas de viaje. Mi primergran viaje: de la Argentina e Venezuela en motocicleta) - film 2004,dir. by Walter Salles, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrogo de la Serna

    * Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, 1956-58, 1996 (ed. byMary-Alice Waters)

    * Che Guevara Reader: Writings by Ernesto Che Guevara on GuerrillaStrategy, Politics & Revolution, 1997

    * Che Guevara Speaks: Selected Speeches and Writings, 2000

    * Che Guevara Talks to Young People, 2000 (ed. by Mary-Alice Waters)

    * The Complete Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara, and Other CapturedDocuments, 2000 (ed. by Danile James)

    * The African Dream: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in theCongo, 2001 (trans. by Patrick Camiller)

    * Back on the Road: A Journey to Latin America, 2002 (trans. byPatrick Camiller) - Tien pll taas (trans. into Finnish by AnuPartanen, from Otra vez)

    * Che Guevara on Global Justice, 2002


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    News, biographical and historical notes:

    Kirjasto website, Finland

    NY Transfer News

    Prensa Latina (Latin American international news servicein Cuba, which Che helped establish)http://www.prensa-latina.org

    Granma International

    Radio Havana Cuba

    MacroHistory: Revolution and Che Guevara, 1960-1967

    Wikipedia entry for Santa Clara, Cuba,_Cuba

    Wikipedia entry for Che Guevara is generally full of venomousanti-communist propaganda and hatred of Che, but there are somedecent photos and a fairly good bibliography and list of Che's writingsat the end. Also some links. Treat the text skeptically, however.

    Che's writings, and archival photographs of Cheavailable from Ocean Press

    Che Lives (offers a biography, speeches, and papers about Che)



    Great quotes at Geocities

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    Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN)

    Ernesto "Che" Guevara: A Chronology

    -June 14th, 1928: Born in Rosario, Argentina. Son of Ernesto GuevaraLynch and Celia de la Serna.

    -May 2nd, 1930: Before the age of 2, Che suffers his first asthmaattack.

    -1933: The Guevara family moves to Alta Gracias in the provinceof Cordoba due to their son's asthma. In 1942, he begins his studies inthe Dean Funes National School in Cordoba some 45 kilometres from AltaGracia.

    -In 1946, the family moves to Buenos Aires in an apartment belonging tohis paternal grandmother, Ana Isabel. When she falls sick, ErnestoGuevara cares for her for 17 days and after her death, Che announces he

    would study medicine.

    -1947: Enrols in medicine at the University of Buenos Aires.

    -October 1950: First trip throughout Latin America.

    -December 29th, 1951: on a motorcycle with his friend Alberto Granadoto tour South America.

    -August 1952: Returns to Buenos Aires. He graduates as a doctor.

    -July 7th, 1953: another trip throughout South and Central America

    accompanied by Carlos "Calica" Ferrer.

    -January 3rd, 1954: Meets Cuban ico Lopez in Guatemala, whomnicknamed Ernesto, Che.

    -September 1954: The democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz inGuatemala falls and Guevara travels to Mexico.

    -July 1955: He meets Fidel Castro and decides to join the struggleagainst the Batista dictatorship.

    -August 18th, 1955: He marries Hilda Gadea Acosta, a Peruvian

    economist in Tepotzotlan, Mexico

    -February 15th, 1956, Hildita is born. Her godfather is Raul Castro-

    -June 1956: A betrayal informs the Mexican police of the preparationsof the Cubans and some 30 of them were detained. He spends time injail.

    -November 25th, 1956: Travels on board the Granma yacht with another 81men headed by Fidel Castro.
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    -December 2nd, 1956: Landed in Cuba and began the rebel struggle.

    -July 21st, 1957: He becomes a Commander of the Rebel Army.

    -February 24th, 1958: The first broadcast was launched on RadioRebelde, created by Che.

    -December 28th, 1958: The Ciro Redondo Column 8, under the leadershipof Che arrived in the city of Santa Clara from the Sierra MaestraMountains.

    -December 29-31, 1958: Che leads the Battle of Santa Clara which wasa hardest blow against Batista.

    -January 3rd, 1959: Che enters Havana and sets up headquarters in LaCabaa.

    -February 9th, 1959: Che is declared a Cuban citizen.

    -June 9th, 1959: He marries Aleida March, member of the July 26thMovement in Santa Clara.

    -November 26th, 1959: Is named President of the Cuban National Bank.

    -November 24th, 1960: Aleida Guevara is born.

    -February 23rd, 1961: Che is named Industry Minister.

    -March 20th, 1962: His son Camilo is born.

    -August 4th: Che heads a Cuban delegation to the Conference of theAmericas in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

    -October-November of 1962: He heads the military command in Pinar delRio during the October Missile Crisis.

    -June 14th, 1963: His daughter Celia is born.

    -November 5th to the 19th: Visits the Soviet Union andparticipates in the 47th anniversary of the October Revolution.

    -December 11th, 1964: He speaks at the UN General Assembly.

    -January of 1965: Travels to China, Mali, Congo, Guinea, Ghana, Benin,Tanzania, Egypt and Algeria.

    -March 15th, 1965: Last publicappearance: Talks about his trips abroad to members of the IndustryMinistry.

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    -April 1st, 1965: He writes a farewell letter to his parents, sons anddaughters and Fidel. Travels to the Congo in July and returns sometime later.

    -October 3rd, 1965: Fidel makes public Che?s farewell letter.

    -November 3rd, 1966: Arrives in La Paz and on the 7th in acahuaz.

    Begins to write his diary.

    -March 5th, 1967: First combat with the Bolivian army in Lagunillas.

    -March 25th, 1967: Creates the Bolivian National Liberation Army.

    -March 27th, 1967: makes public Communiqu No. 1 of the organizationin Camiri.

    -October 8th, 1967: He becomes a prisoner in El Yuro.

    -October 9th, 1967: He is assassinated by Sergeant Mario Tern at

    1.30pm in a school in the town of La Higuera.

    -October 18th, 1967: Fidel announces his death in Havana's RevolutionSquare.

    -June 12th, 1997: Che's remains and rest of his comrades in arms areidentified in Valle Grande.

    -October 17th, 1997: Official ceremony when the remains of CheGuevara and his comrades in arms were laid to rest in the Memorial thatbears his name in the central city of Santa Clara.


    Some Che Guevara quotes:

    I don't care if I fall as long as someone elsepicks up my gun and keeps on shooting.

    "If you tremble with indignation at every injusticethen you are a comrade of mine."

    "The revolution is not an apple that falls whenit is ripe; you have to make it fall."

    In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, likeNietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.

    "Words that do not match deeds are unimportant."

    "Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!"

    "The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated."

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    Better to die standing, than to live on your knees.

    I don't know if the Cuban revolution will survive or not. It'sdifficult to say. But [if it doesn't] ... don't come looking for meamong the refugees in the embassies. I've had that experience, and I'mnot ever going to repeat it. I will go out with a machine gun in myhand, to the barricades... I'll keep fighting to the end.

    Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the truerevolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.

    It's a sad thing not to have friends, but it is even sadder not tohave enemies.

    Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cryhas reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to takeup our arms.

    I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and

    keeps on shooting."

    Many will call me an adventurer - and that I am, only one of adifferent sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove hisplatitudes.

    Silence is argument carried out by other means.

    In a revolution, one triumphs or dies. -farewell letter to FidelCastro, April 1, 1965)

    "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 isnecessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet momentoutside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he maybe, make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move. Then hismoral fiber shall begin to decline, but we shall notice how the signsof decadence begin to disappear. -Message to the Tricontinental, 1967

    Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of theenemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man isheir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective andcold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people withouthatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy. -Message to the Tricontinental,1967