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Latin American perspectives a program of comment and analysis about current Latin American problems and their historical setting. The commentator for these programs is Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Here now is Dr. Gardiner a gorilla a day he lay a bloody mess killed in a Bolivian jungle far from there. And earlier too he had been a guerrilla killing a way of life the life of the Teesta is Cuba. In both Bolivia and Cuba he was a giant among men a living legend in Cuba Bolivia and elsewhere. He was Che Guevara. We have now from Monthly Review Press distributed by Grove Press volume entitled reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Che Guevara. Within a year after the triumphal entry into Havana at the beginning of
1959 Che Guevara began to set down the history of the guerrilla war. Fearful that the design of the events might as he put it dissolve in the past and that an important part of the history of America would be lost. He urged other leaders of the revolution to do the same asking only that the narrator be strictly truthful. His history of the war appeared episodically during the next few years in various Cuban periodicals such as very day O-level and Bohemia in 1963. An Afghan publishing house published 19 episodes of his recollections of the war his reminiscences under a Spanish title and of course in the Spanish language. In 1967 a French publisher made a collection and added a few more chapters to the previous number 19. The president bought you the most complete version of
reminiscences on the Cuban guerrilla war. In any language contains 32 chapters and the prologue diagrams of several battles photographs of the guerrilla period and paper maps and as well as that we have a an introduction by Fidel Castro which incidentally consists of his speech in memory of Globe delivered at the Plaza del revolution on on October 18th 1967 at which time of course Fidel was admitting that the man killed in Bolivia was his former fellow revolutionary. Fidel Castro said in the course of that speech in October 67 he wrote with of virtuosity of a master of our language his narratives of the war are incomparable. The depth of his thinking impressive and he never wrote about anything with less than extraordinary seriousness with less than
extraordinary profundity. And we have no doubt that some of his writings will pass on to posterity as classic documents of revolutionary thought. Well some of his writings not necessarily in this volume on guerilla warfare have of course become manuals employed by the United States Army among others. And so this volume which has so many episodes written by Guevara continues with no fewer than 26 letters written by him between the end of the guerrilla war and his quiet disappearance from Cuba in the spring of 1965. Letters which are remarkable in their breadth in that they suggest a certain discretion a certain irreverence a certain wit. Indeed a certain intelligence on the part of the soldier of the revolution. At all times of course in the pattern of his career Che Guevara who
dies at eight thirty nine had an intense dislike for the United States. This I would quote from one of his early passages in these words. The history of the military takeover of March ten thousand nine hundred fifty two. The bloodless coup directed by Batiste does not of course began on the very day of the coup its antecedents must be sought further back in the history of Cuba. Much further back than the intervention of U.S. Ambassador Sumner wells in 1933 even further back than the Platt Amendment of 1001 then back further than the landing of Narcisso dope is sent directly by the North American antics Oceanus we reach the roots of the matter in the period of John Quincy Adams who at the beginning of the nineteenth century announced the posture which his country was to take with regard to Cuba.
The island was seen by John Quincy Adams as an apple which cut from Spains branches was fated to fall into Uncle Sam's hands. These are all links in a long chain of continental aggression which have been directed against others as well as Cuba. This of course suggests then that the animosity that Che Guevara has for the United States is rooted in history and is not related to the area of Cuba alone. Indeed if one looks into Cheney's career you find that he born in Argentina into a family. The head of the house which was architect schooled in medicine preparing for a distinguished career in that area had wandered about the countryside and had come to decide that there were underprivileged people he needed to serve.
And yet for a time one can't be sure about his concept. His form of service is it to be as a doctor. For those in need of health IT TURNS OUT OF COURSE to be rather the revolutionary. And as a guerrilla he first moves into the. Guatemalan picture in the 1950s at a time when the Arbenz government was being challenged by some Guatemalans outside that country who were armed aided abetted by the CIA and other U.S. agencies when the Ardens government was overthrown and he felt that liberalism as he understood it was a dying cause he made his way to the north there and Mexico. He met Fidel Castro who of course by this time had come to that country preparing for his eventual invasion of Cuba. Che Guevara became one of the very first men to join Fidel and
fact became one in charge of personnel recruiting others among the 80 plus men who on the small yacht made their way to Cuba to launch the revolution in 1956. The course of that struggle is told with a great deal of intimacy on many occasions a great deal of detail some of which is repetitious in these pages by a GO VIRAL. But when one remembers that the revolutionists were in the countryside fighting toward the capital fighting for victory. For more than twenty six months there were many things many days that became sheer repetitions of other days in fact one rather senses the fundamental nature of such a long uphill struggle as that Cuban revolution through a measure of monotony that only repetition alone can give. And so
what can strike one as a poor literary device is indeed a sound statement of the historical pattern of affairs. In the course of the struggle Needless to say Che Guevara serves as a time as Doctor of Medicine. He serves Increasingly however as a man with a gun in his hand. He serves increasingly as a man with the discipline mine the more thoroughly communist individual than most in the early ranks. And so he is in a sense the man taking care of the physical ills the needs of the man as an M.D. He is a leader of revolution with a machine gun in hand. He is a thinker of revolution. He is a sort of triple threat as far as the accomplishment of the Castro victory is concerned. His theory of guerrilla warfare is of great interest. I've said before because some of his writings have become a veritable
textbook for armies of the world. A synthesis of his ideas and he is the expert. Include these thoughts constant movement absolute mistrust and eternal vigilance. As you look into these components separately concerning movement he held that one should never stay put never spend two nights in the same place never stop moving from one place to another. So much for movement. Under the heading of mistrust he held that at the beginning of a revolutionary campaign one should virtually mistrust his own shadow. The friendly peasants should be mistrusted the informants the guides the contacts. Indeed you must trust everyone everything until you control the zone that you
could actually consider liberated. So much for movement and mistrust. That third component of guerrilla warfare was for him vigilance constant guard duty constant reconnaissance the establishment of a camp and a safe place and above all he said. I never sleep in a house where you can be surrounded. Well these principals of course were plied by him with great success in his own war in Cuba. But there comes a time of course when he is that bloody corpse in Bolivia. And so one realizes that either he ran out of principles or he indeed came to violate some of them. Late in 1965 before he left Cuba before he entered upon this last and hazy. Bit of his career he wrote a letter to his family back home in
Argentina and said among other things. Once again I feel between my heels the ribs of Rossa non-techie once more I hit the road with my shield upon my arm. Here you see he plainly pictures himself a don't Quixote. He continues almost ten years ago today I wrote you another letter of farewell. This was before Guatemala and Cuba as I remember I lamented at not being a better soldier a better doctor. The latter no longer interests me but I'm not such a bad soldier. Nothing has changed in essence except that I am much more aware of my Marxism has taken root. Become purified. I believe in the arms 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 of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes to prove his platitudes. We can play upon that and think of a distant area in which guerrilla warfare today finds perhaps both sides employing to a degree. What this man stood for what he considered the basic principles indeed in Vietnam today both sides are trying to prove platitudes and take recourse to the style of warfare that made his name that of a master. This was a Latin American perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Join us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will examine another aspect of life in Latin America Latin American perspectives is produced and recorded by station WSI you
Af-Am at Southern Illinois University and is distributed by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives
Episode Number
Episode 26 of 39
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Latin American Perspectives. This prog.: Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolution, by Che Guevarra.
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-32-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:16
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives; Episode 26 of 39,” 1968-09-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 20, 2024,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives; Episode 26 of 39.” 1968-09-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives; Episode 26 of 39. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from