The Literature Ernesto Guevara Saved Us From / Luis Cino Alvarez

50797_trnsFeaturedHAVANA, Cuba, October, – Che Guevara used to say that the history of the Cuban Revolution shouldn’t be written by others who were not its protagonists. The writers, whom he didn’t consider revolutionary enough, did not inspire confidence in this task.

In fact, he himself, who did not lack a literary vocation and talent, was the first who ventured a narrative. Reminiscences of the Revolutionary War was good effort to start writing the story of the Castro insurrection, from the Sierra Maestra to the taking of Santa Clara.

In any case, although fragmented and incomplete, the result was much better when Guevara wanted to give expression to his military thinking in Guerrilla Warfare, which was  a diffuse manual of insurgency tactic and strategy.

A few years later the Frenchman Regis Debray attempted what Guevara hadn’t achieved: to establish guerrilla theory. But Debray himself, after the publication of Revolution in the Revolution?, acknowledged that failure of his theories. It wasn’t easy to theorize about the fortuitous and almost providential events of the Cuban Revolution. The Castro insurrection, with disasters such as the attack on the Moncada Barracks and the shipwreck at the landing of the yacht Granma, could be dramatic examples of what a guerrilla movement should never do unless it aspires to suicide. Not all guerrillas have the luck of facing barely professional troops,corrupts and demoralized as was the army of the dictator Batista. Che Guevara’s disasters in the Congo and Bolivia tragically demonstrated this.

Nor did Che Guevara manage to clearly define his social and economic thinking in a book. Man and Socialism in Cuba is frightening in its immoderate and super-human statist idealism. With regards to the economy, for years the economists who are trying to ensure the survival of the Castro regime have unsuccessfully tried to work Che Guevara’s ambiguous and contradictory concepts into a body of practical and coherent ideas applicable to the Cuban situation.

Guevara considered socialist economic planning banal. “Without Communist morality, it doesn’t interest me at all,” he confessed to the French journalist Jean Daniel in 1963.

Today, Guevara’s thesis of creating two, three, many Vietnams… would be counterproductive to the reinvention of socialism, but with a market economy.

Che Guevara saved us the horror by not writing about his time as an executor of the Revolutionary terror in the La Cabaña Fort in the first months of 1959. It’s terrifying to imagine what his narrative may have been. The murdered puppy gives us an idea. The only account he wrote is impeccable, but very cruel. Bringing to mind the call to Revolutionary fighters to become, according to his own words, “cold killing machines.”

By Luis Cino Alvarez

From Cubanet, 7 October 2013