“Fidel...“Anywhere I am I shall feel the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary and as such I shall act.” (Letter read by Fidel Castro in October 3, 1965)“To my children...“Your father has been a man who acts as he thinks and you can be sure that he has been faithful to his convictions. Grow up to be good revolutionaries.... Remember that the Revolution is what matters and that each one of us, alone, is worth nothing. Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone anywhere in the world. That is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary.” (Last letter to his children, Bolivia, 1967)
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 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.
In their analysis of Guevara's ideology, Bonachea and Valdés are at ease with Marxist terminology and are able to present his views in a highly intelligible manner. Theirs is the first serious presentation of Che's thought through the medium of an unbiased and straight-forward translation, and is also the most complete. Those writings that reveal Che's free adaptation of Marxism to the specific problems of developing nations are of particular significance. The book includes essays written in Bolivia as well as some previously unpublished speeches and articles.
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 he failed because he was unable to alter his ideology to include the cultural differences and historical peculiarities of that country and he was caught in the circle of his own theory of foco insurrectional (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.