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These writings, speeches, interviews, and letters of Che Guevara are introduced by a brief and lucid account of his career. The editors are Cuban and were active in the student movement before they left Cuba in 1961. Their portrayal of Guevara is straightforward yet sympathetic to the need for revolutionary reform in Latin America. In their analysis of Guevara’s ideology, Bonachea and Valdes are at ease with Marxist terminology and are able to present his views in a highly intelligible manner. The book includes a selection of essays written in Bolivia as well as some previously unpublished speeches and article:
This work invites us to explore the many dimensions of Che the revolutionary thinker and man of action - beginning with his childhood as an upper-middle-class Argentine with high hopes for a career in medicine, following his peregrinations about Latin America, the birth of his revolutionary sympathies, the formation of his ideology, his physical toughening as a guerrilla, and ending with his murder in the small town of Higueras in October 1967 after he was captured in a Bolivian canyon.
The ideology was formed in Peru (political power is not gained through electoral politics), in Guatemala (destroy the traditional military and mobilize and arm the people from the start), and in Mexico, where in 1955 he met Fidel Castro. It was brought to fruition in the Cuban Revolution and further developed as the theory of “guerrilla communism.” In 1966 after leaving Cuba he began the struggle in Bolivia. Here, the editors stress, he failed because he was unable to alter his ideology to include the cul-tural differences and historical peculiar-ities of that country and le was caught in the circle of his own theory of foco insurrecional (to survive, the guerrillas need the support of the peasants, and to achieve support they must show the peasant that they can survive). Thus the guerrilla band so successful in Cuba disintegrated in the mountains of Bolivia, unsupported by the peasants it was designed to aid.
The editors’ history of Che Guevara’s career is brought to a close at the point where fact converges on myth, and throughout the rest of the book he speaks for himself.
‘The editors are to be commended for having undertaken the monumental task of collecting this vast amount of material and making it accessible to students of Cuba and Latin America in general. The contribution is especially sig-nificant because many of the periodicals, such as Verde Olivo, and Bohemia can only be found in two U.S. libraries. Many of the newspapers are also hard to find. The translations are uniformly good. The volume is well organized, and it is indeed a major contribution to this year’s list of books on Cuba.’ - The Times of the Americas
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