Ernesto Che Guevara – thinking about times of revolution

Image Gerhard Lipold


Against Samuel Farber's biased approach

The demonstrations that took place in Cuba on July 11, 2021 highlighted the gravity of the crisis that the island is going through. Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the country had not experienced such dramatic economic, social and political difficulties, with the exception of the years that followed the fall of the USSR, during the so-called “special period”, marked by shortages of all kinds. Fidel Castro's death in 2016 and Raúl Castro's retirement in 2021 gave way to a new executive.

Although this generational transition has gone smoothly, its legitimacy is far from being established and is even beginning to be questioned, as demonstrated by the more localized protests that have taken place across the country since July 11, 2021 against food shortages. and medicines and the prolonged cuts in electricity, as witnessed by numerous independent websites, blogs and reports on social networks since they began to spread across the country. The new generations of Cubans are trying to reassess the past and reexamine the narrative of revolutionary history, in order to understand and elucidate the current impasses, more than 60 years after the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship.

In this context, the political and theoretical legacy of Ernesto Che Guevara, murdered in Bolivia at the age of 39, has resurfaced. Although access to many of his numerous writings remains restricted, the last letter he wrote to Fidel Castro on the eve of his definitive departure from Cuba, on March 25, 1965, was only published in 2019, that is, 54 years later.[I]. More than a letter, it is actually an important analytical document. In October 1965, during the nominal presentation of the new Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) – which did not include Ernesto Guevara –, Fidel Castro read a farewell letter from Che, without making any reference to this other, much longer one. .

In the latter, qualified by Guevara as “constructive criticism”, the economic and organizational disturbances that affected the general situation of the country in the first years of the revolution are unequivocally analyzed and clarifies Che's political conceptions about the economy of the transition to socialism and their divergences from the Soviet system.

Six decades later, Cuba is no longer the same. But Che's latest writings, his critique of the Soviet regime and his ethical conception of the exercise of power resonate with new generations who question the past. But, on the contrary, most opponents of the regime reject Che and disfigure his legacy. They are not alone in this effort. There are others, on the left, who extend their hand.

The text that follows is a review of Che Guevara. Ombres et lumières d'un révolutionnaire[ii], by Samuel Farber, who presents himself as a “Marxist” critic of Guevara. Not that it isn't perfectly legitimate to examine Guevara's mistakes or limitations. But the work of Samuel Farber, due to the generally negative balance of his assessment of Guevara, is full of false, inaccurate and caricatured accusations. The book, first published in 2016 in English and then in 2017 in French, focuses mainly on “shadows” and very little on “lights”.


A “classical Marxist” tradition?

Samuel Farber refers us to an alleged “classical Marxist tradition” in which he recognizes himself: “My political roots go back to the classic Marxist tradition[iii] that preceded Stalinism in the Soviet Union,” he writes. On the other hand, “even if Ernesto Che Guevara was an honest and consecrated revolutionary, he did not have the classic Marxist training of Lenin, who made his democratic legacy of the radical wing of the Enlightenment”[iv].

The Cuban Revolution was born out of peculiar historical and geopolitical circumstances that made possible the victory of an unforeseen revolutionary process in a country – an island – where it was not expected to happen: about 145 km from the southern flank of the United States, in the middle of the American Mediterranean , where geographic fatalism seemed to exclude any possibility of emancipation from US tutelage. However, it was on this island that the first socialist revolution on the continent took place – initially an armed rebellion against the Batista dictatorship – in that “extreme-west” region.[v] Latin American.

The specificity of the Cuban revolutionary process, the organization of a guerrilla war accompanied by civic insurrections, its radical nature, the extent of popular support it received and the originality of an apparently unclassifiable leadership from an ideological point of view make this process a unique case in history. of revolutions. It is necessary to place the Cuban Revolution in its own historical perspective, instead of referring it to the invariants of a “classical Marxism” that would exist in any time and place.

Cuba’s revolution was “a rebellion against … revolutionary dogmas”[vi], wrote Che. A revolution that came to assert the prediction of the great Latin American Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui, who wrote that socialism in Latin America should not be “imitation and copying”, but “heroic creation”.[vii]. As for Lenin – whom Samuel Farber mentions as a reference of “classical Marxism” – he wrote the following in the letters from afar: “If the revolution triumphed so quickly and – apparently, for those who are content with a superficial look – so radically, it was only because, due to an extremely original historical situation, they came together, in an astonishingly 'harmonious' way, absolutely different currents, absolutely heterogeneous class interests, absolutely opposite political and social aspirations”[viii]. An analysis that could be applied, a century later, word for word, to the Cuban Revolution.


A generational and political rupture

It was in an exceptional national and international political context that a new revolutionary generation was forged, whose political conscience would become radicalized under the pressure of events. In the 50s, a new generation, young and combative, emerged and became politicized in Cuba and other Third World countries. The rise of national liberation struggles, the Bandung Conference and the Cold War configured a new historical reality. In Latin America, the revelations of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) had weakened the already weak communist parties.

In this context, which had little to do with the so-called “classical Marxism” claimed by Samuel Farber, the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) was born, which would have its founding act in the bloody assault on the Moncada Barracks. Coming from the ranks of the Orthodox Party, which was a nationalist party, Fidel Castro and the leaders of the M-26-7 embodied the revolt of youth in the face of the passivity of other political parties, expressing the will to overthrow the Batista dictatorship, but also to free themselves from the corruption and domination that had long been imposed by their powerful northern neighbor.

Samuel Farber characterizes these young rebels as “disqualified”, in the “sense that they were disconnected from the organizational life of the working, middle and upper classes of Cuban society”[ix]. It should be noted that the reduction of Cuban society at the time to the “working, middle and upper classes” is, to say the least, schematic. But what is most significant is the analysis of the M-26-7 as a “petty-bourgeois movement”, in contrast to Farber's later characterization of the Popular Socialist Party (PSP) – the name then attributed to the Cuban Communist Party – as a political party. factory worker. Strange interpretation of Marxism that makes a petty-bourgeois movement the promoter and agent of a socialist revolution!

As the French writer Robert Merle points out, who in the early 1960s stayed in Havana while carrying out research, “among those recruited by the Movement after Moncada, peasants will occupy a very important place, once [the Movement] succeeds in establishing itself. if in the Sierra Maestra. That is why it is so surprising that, before Moncada, the movement was almost entirely proletarian”[X]. Let us add that, in Cuba, the ties of the Federation Student University (FEU) with the labor movement are historic, going back to the time of the so-called “revolution of the thirty”, which put an end to the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado and marked the entry into the Cuban political scene of the then sergeant-stenographer Fulgencio Batista. By December 1955, the FEU had actively supported the bank workers' strike, as well as the great sugar workers' strike.[xi].

Finally, Samuel Farber seems to ignore Fidel Castro's ideological trajectory. Already in 1953-1954, when he was in prison, he made reference to Marx and defined a strategy and a political thought that had nothing of “petty-bourgeois”. Quote the 18 Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte – “a formidable work” – and writes that in it “Karl Marx sees the inevitable result of social contradictions and the dispute of interests (…). From then on, I ended up forging my worldview”, concludes[xii]. However, Farber insists that the revolution “was carried out by a multiclass movement under a leadership made up of the disqualified”[xiii].


Che, “bohemian”

As he himself states in the introduction to his book, Samuel Farber sets out to “dispel many of the common myths”[xiv] around Che. A laudable goal, considering how distorted Guevara's personality was. But, far from contributing to this, what is curious is that, from the first chapter, Farber is dedicated to examining “the bohemian origins of Che's political thought”, “his bohemian formation”[xv], which Farber opposes to his own “political roots”. The adjective “bohemian” appears nine times in the first chapter, an average of once every three pages, and a total of eighteen times throughout the entire book.

To understand the pejorative meaning of this term, it is necessary to compare it with Samuel Farber's characterization of the 26th of July Movement as a petty-bourgeois movement, which groups together "disqualified" and "adventurers".[xvi], the same “adventurers” who carried out one of the most important socialist revolutions of the XNUMXth century; reason enough to revisit the “classical Marxist tradition” that Samuel Farber claims.

As it usually happens, in each historical moment, each generation forges a different political instrument. That's what happened with the M-26-7. Farber's incomprehension stems from his dogmatic view – we could even say poor – of the premises of the 26th of July Movement, its origins, its orientation, its leader Fidel Castro and the political influence that, together with him, an Argentinean, Ernesto Guevara, whom he would meet in Mexico. But Farber adds a falsehood to these adjectives: “Guevara (…), on the other hand, was formed in the political legacy of a Stalinized Marxism”[xvii] and “his revolutionary views were therefore hopelessly (sic) undemocratic”[xviii].

Well, nothing in Che's childhood, in his family circle, in his trajectory, has any relation with a “Stalinized Marxism”. His motorcycle trip, aged 23, with Alberto Granado, testifies to the evolution of his political thinking and his radicalization, an itinerary that will culminate with his experience of the failure of the revolution in Guatemala, the lessons he draws from the action of the Guatemalan Communist Party and his exchanges with his Peruvian companion Hilda Gadea, close to Trotskyist circles in Peru. As Gadea indicates, speaking of Che, “his true transformation began [in Guatemala], despite the fact that [by the time President Arbenz’s government was overthrown] he already had a good Marxist theoretical background”[xx].

This is confirmed by former Cuban diplomat Raúl Roa Kourí: “At that time [in Guatemala], Che already had an advanced political education, above all, clear convictions about the root of our evils in imperialist exploitation and the domination of a bourgeoisie oriented towards the foreign and dependent (...). It can be said that, fundamentally, his thought was oriented towards Marxism since that time. He admired the October Revolution and knew Leninism ”[xx]. After his encounter with Fidel Castro and the M-26-7, Che commits himself to a political movement for the first time. Until then, he had not been a member of any communist party.

In Mexico, he trains with the other members of the M-26-7. Fidel Castro prepares to land on the Cuban coast in November 1956 to organize the overthrow of the dictatorship. The landing did not take place on the date or at the planned place and caused the loss of many lives. Among those who managed to survive was Guevara. He was 28 years old when the armed struggle broke out in the Sierra Maestra and he didn't know Cuba. He would later write: “It was in this spirit that I began the struggle: honorably without hope of going beyond the liberation of the country, ready to leave when the conditions of the subsequent struggle turned to the right (…)”[xxx].

When he arrived in Havana for the first time, in December 1958, as commander of the Rebel Army, crowned by the halo of his impressive military victories, Ernesto Guevara was 30 years old. He had just shared two years of combat with Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra, two years of reflection and exchange. His thinking was in full evolution. He declares himself a Marxist and believes, for a brief period, that he could find in the countries of the East, “behind the so-called iron curtain”[xxiii], useful references for building another society. Disappointments would not be long in coming, nor would criticism.

In 1960, he wrote: “We followed [Fidel Castro], we were a group of men with little political preparation, only with a load of goodwill and an innate honor”[xxiii]. As for the aforementioned letter, which refers to the countries “behind the so-called Iron Curtain”, he would soon change his mind. Later, he would mention his initial misperception of Fidel Castro, whom he then considered “an authentic leader of the left bourgeoisie”, whose anti-imperialist convictions and strategic vision he underestimated in the midst of a process that would lead to a “heretical” revolution.[xxv].


Revaluation of the old Stalinist party (PSP)

If, on the one hand, Samuel Farber censures Che, that petty-bohemian bohemian, for his debt to “a Stalinized Marxism”, on the other hand, he labels the old Cuban communist party, the PSP, as a “workers’ party”, whose Stalinist character and the gravity of his political mistakes Samuel Farber underestimates. In 1959, for Moscow and the international communist movement, the Cuban Revolution, the first victorious socialist revolution in Latin America not led by a communist party, was complete heresy. The rise of Latin American communist parties was always hampered by their dogmatic alignment and their subordination to Moscow, that “classic Marxist tradition”, far removed from the heterodox Marxism of the Peruvian Mariátegui. In fact, it is Samuel Farber – and not Guevara – who rehabilitates the PSP's role in the Cuban Revolution. According to Farber, “the PSP (…) played a fundamental role in the Cuban revolutionary process, especially after the triumph of the revolution”[xxiv]. He even goes so far as to defend the PSP from the accusation of reformism, stating that “during the Cuban Revolution, no important PSP figure showed the slightest inclination or commitment to preserve the status quo capitalist"[xxv].

We do not agree with this positive assessment of the role played by the old Stalinist Communist Party in Cuba. After the revolutionary victory of 1959, the PSP firmly opposed, in the name of the Stalinist doctrine of the revolution by stages, the socialist turn of the Cuban Revolution.

One example is enough to illustrate this attitude: in August 1960, when the Cuban revolutionary government began to intervene in companies and to expropriate large Cuban landowners, in an incipient anti-capitalist turn, this is what Blas Roca – not an “important figure”, but the general secretary of the PSP – said at the 8th National Assembly of the Party: “(…) in the current, democratic and anti-imperialist stage, it is necessary – within the limits that are established – to guarantee the profits of private companies, their functioning and development (...). There were excesses, there were abusive interventions that could have been avoided (…). Intervening in a company or a factory without sufficient reason does not help us, because it irritates and turns against the revolution (…) elements of the national bourgeoisie that must and can remain on the side of the revolution at this stage (…)”[xxviii].

But that is not all. At the same time, the PSP published a pamphlet entitled Trotskyism: agents of imperialism in which he proclaimed: “Trotskyist provocateurs lie when they say that 'the Cuban people are seizing the property of the imperialists and their national allies'. This is what the AP, the UPI and other mouthpieces of imperialism say every day. But it’s false (…)”[xxviii].

Quotations that illustrate how far the PSP – like so many other Latin American communist parties – was from the great Marxists of the continent like Mariátegui.

These assessments are part of a political continuity. Already in an article of Weekly Letter, the PSP magazine, published on September 3, 1953, that is, five weeks after the assault on the Moncada barracks, in which dozens of young people were murdered by the dictatorship's police, the PSP publicly condemned the attackers' actions in these terms : “Everyone knows that the Popular Socialist Party has been the most determined opponent of the adventures, the one that has done the most to show the masses that this is a false path. Everyone knows that the Popular Socialist Party is the only one that pointed out the right path to resolve the Cuban crisis: the path of resolute rejection of adventures, terrorism and 'expeditions', the path of rejection of 'compromises' and isolationism”[xxix].


The 60s and the construction of a new party: the growing influence of the PSP

From the first years of the Revolution, the question of organizing a new party was on the agenda. For Fidel Castro, it was necessary to unite and unify the three political currents that had contributed, in different degrees, to the victory – the M-26-7, the Revolutionary Directorate and the PSP –, while ensuring, at the same time, the hegemony of the M-26-7. Nevertheless, Moscow and the international communist movement distrusted the Cuban leaders, while at the same time they placed their trust in the PSP.

Building the new party would be long and difficult and would go through several stages. The successive projects of the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI) and, later, of the United Party of the Socialist Revolution of Cuba (PURSC) were not enough to achieve this objective. Only in 1965, six years after taking power and after lengthy negotiations, did the construction of the new PCC begin. This time, however, his first secretary would not be Blas Roca, but Fidel Castro.”[xxx].

To illustrate how this new party was conceived, it is worth remembering the words of a PSP political instructor, Gaspar Jorge García Galló, in which he proclaimed the lasting supremacy of the PSP and its cadres over the 26th of July Movement, which would later generating numerous tensions. In a speech addressed to party militants at the Leoncio Guerra Revolutionary Instruction School, entitled “The party of the proletariat and the people”, García Galló recalled the fact that the 26th of July was not a Marxist-Leninist party governed by Leninist rules of organization and within it coexisted various currents and factions of the right, center and left, although all accepted Fidel's leadership.

As for the rapprochement then underway between the three political currents – the M-26-7, the PSP and the Revolutionary Directorate – grouped in the ORI, with the aim of founding the future single party, García Galló anticipated the operating rules of the new party : its members should be disciplined, follow the guidelines received as a soldier would follow the orders of his superiors and fight relentlessly against all kinds of divisional activity[xxxii]. It is this conception, inherited from Stalinism, that will prevail during the formation of the future CCP, despite the initial political pluralism. Its connections with the USSR would lead the PSP to take control of the bureaucratic apparatus and explain the numerous crises that arose and marked the first revolutionary decade. The rules of operation of the PCC remained unchanged. And Fidel Castro would eventually adapt to the situation. Che increasingly distanced himself from the control exercised by the PSP and from the growing influence of Soviet concepts in the economic, political and cultural spheres.


unsubstantiated allegations

Contrary to Samuel Farber's unfounded claims that "Che's political ideas were more like the ultra-left militancy of the so-called Third Period of the Communist International (Comintern) of the late 20s and 30s [than the political maneuvers of the doctrine of the Popular Front]”[xxxi], a brief comparison of Guevara's ideas with those of Stalinism of the so-called Third Period would be enough to reveal the inanity of such an argument. One of the main aspects of Stalinism between 1929 and 1933 was the refusal to see Fascism and Nazism as the main enemy.

Indeed, in Germany and elsewhere, Stalinists regarded social democracy – defined as “social fascism” – as the greatest enemy of the communist movement, with catastrophic consequences for workers and humanity. This was the most important and decisive feature of the Third Period of the Comintern and the reason why, as early as 1933, Trotsky came to the conclusion that a new international was needed.

In the 1930s, the Communist Party of Cuba, predecessor of the PSP and faithful disciple of Moscow, had unreservedly accepted the instructions of the Third International on “social-fascism” and the struggle of “class against class”, which led it, like the other communist parties of the subcontinent, to adopt a sectarian and sterile policy and to reject any collaboration with other leftist political forces. Cuban communists, for example, would not participate in the struggles that overthrew the Machado dictatorship.

Is it possible to find something similar in Guevara? Did he consider that the military dictatorships in Latin America, supported by imperialism, were not the main adversary to fight? Did he define the socialist parties – for example, in Chile or Argentina – as the main enemy? Did he ever use the term “social-fascism” to refer to social democrats or reformists?

The Third Period of Stalinism was not a “left turn” in foreign policy, but a period of brutal repression of dissent, in which thousands of communist opponents, including Trotsky, his comrades and supporters, were sent to concentration camps in Siberia and sometimes murdered. It was also the period when millions of peasants accused of being “kulaks” were exterminated. Any resemblance to Guevara?

Are Che's views on political economy comparable to those of the forced Soviet industrialization of 1929-33? Remember that Ernest Mandel, a Marxist economist, visited Cuba in 1964[xxxii] at Guevara's invitation and he had written an article supporting Che's positions in the economic debate that was taking place in Cuba at the time. Mandel apparently did not know that Guevara's positions were those of Third Period Stalinism. On the other hand, another Marxist economist, Charles Bettelheim, had harshly criticized Guevara's theses, describing them as heretical and “non-Marxist”, because they were in contradiction with… Stalin's economic theories[xxxv].

According to Samuel Farber, “Third Period Stalinism, Maoism and Guevarism maintained a more aggressive and revolutionary posture towards capitalism, as part of their attempt to extend their form of class domination beyond their own countries”[xxxiv]. Certainly the “internationalism” of Stalinist discourse during the Third Period, or of Maoism in the 60s or 70s, was nothing more than an instrument in the service of the interests of the Soviet and Chinese bureaucracies, respectively. Can this attitude be extended to Guevara's internationalism? Does it have any relevance to your internationalist revolutionary attempts in Congo and Bolivia, which ended up being defeated? What bureaucratic interests did he serve when, as an Argentine, he decided to join the Cuban revolutionaries in 1956?

To conclude this question, nothing prevents us from making a critical examination of Guevara's positions, which he himself encouraged in his debates with collaborators at the Ministry of Industry[xxxiv]. But the artificial, not to say slanderous, analogy with Third Period Stalinism is the safest way to miss the point. Not only can we not identify Che with the reasons that led to the failure of the Soviet Union, but, moreover, a quarter of a century before the demise of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Che predicted the crisis and collapse of the Soviet regime and envisioned the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and in the countries of Eastern Europe.


Che and the Great Economic Debate: Transition to Socialism and Underdevelopment

It was in the light of his experience in the exercise of power that Che analyzed the problems and difficulties of the transition to socialism in Cuba. The rereading of his last texts in the great economic debate that opposed him to the supporters of the Soviet liberal reforms in the 60s, his essay Socialism and Man in Cuba[xxxviii], his last speeches, in particular the one he delivered in Algiers in 1965, and his Critical notes on the Economics Manual Policy of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR[xxxviii] illustrate his premonitory vision of the serious problems facing the Soviet Union and the difficulties that were likely to come to Cuba due to its economic and financial dependence on Moscow.

The great debate of 1963 and 1964 in the Ministry of Industry, which Che headed, was essentially about the construction of socialism, about the planning and organization of the economy during the transition to socialism in a small dependent island, subject to the pressures of the international market, whose development was hampered by a drastic economic and trade embargo imposed by the world's leading economic power. In addition to the theoretical debate on the persistence of mercantile categories and the law of value during the transition period, different political approaches emerged within the Cuban government, at the same time that, in the 60s, Soviet economists Evsei Liberman and Vadim Trapeznikov presented proposals for market-based economic reforms. Noting the inefficiency of the management methods used in the USSR, Liberman and Trapeznikov criticized planning based on mandatory norms, which they considered too restrictive. To remedy this situation, they proposed the reintroduction of profit as one of the criteria for good business management.

The debate took place in Havana, parallel to the introduction of these reforms in the USSR. The island was then faced with the need to redefine an economic and social development strategy in the face of the challenge of insertion in a globalized capitalist economy. Added to this was the difficulty – wrote Ernesto Che Guevara at the time – that “we were all beginning to learn this march towards communism”[xxxix], at the same time that “the political economy of this whole period [of transition] had not been created”[xl].

Samuel Farber dedicates more than 20 pages of his book to this economic debate. To begin with, he states that “Che came to conceive of socialism based on centralized economic planning and the rejection of competition and the law of value”[xi]. But Samuel Farber did not read Che's writings well, which, on the contrary, in relation to the application of the law of value in socialism, and in response to an article by Alberto Mora entitled “On the question of the functioning of the law of value in the economy Cuban culture”, expressed the following: “How to consciously manage the knowledge of the law of value (…) is one of the most serious problems facing the socialist economy (…) The validity of the law of value is not contested, it is considered that this law has its most developed form of action through the capitalist market and that, the variations introduced in the market by the socialization of the means of production and distribution apparatuses, imply alterations that prevent an immediate qualification of its action (...)[xliii]. When we accept the validity of the commodity, we do not accept the main validity of the market (…) as an organizer of the national economy”[xiii].

Far from Samuel Farber’s statements, here are the nuanced comments of one of those who opposed Che in that debate, former Minister Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, who highlighted the complexity of the controversy: “The theory of eliminating the law of value was not presented by Che as absolute, it is interesting to remember it, since we admit the validity of the law of value for certain purposes. He said that the law of value could not govern economic activity, that we had conditions created by socialism to manipulate the law of value, to use it for the benefit of socialism. I think this is important (...) Because, in fact, it is not, as some of the defenders of economic calculation of that period tried to establish, the absolute defense of the validity of the law of value and the inevitability of the market, but the use of the law of the value under control, fundamentally taking into account the elements imposed by the responsibility of the economy of our time, in our country”[xiv].

Samuel Farber launches accusations against conceptions attributed by others to Che, without first confirming them. We highlight three.

“His critique of the capitalist market and competition, which tend to commodify everything, and his praise of the altruistic commitment to the collectivity, lay the foundations of a reactionary utopia that seeks to emulate pre-capitalist social formations”[xlv]. Where can we find in Guevara any reference to “pre-capitalist formations”? In what sense are Che's statements against the capitalist market and in favor of altruistic compromise “a reactionary utopia”? Samuel Farber does not offer any explanation, nor does he quote any text by Che in support of such a strange accusation.

José Carlos Mariátegui, in the 1920s, used to refer to the collectivism of pre-capitalist formations and considered that the ayllu traditional – the pre-Columbian rural community – could be a starting point for the mobilization of peasants in a modern socialist movement. However, Mariátegui was not a “reactionary”, although some of his opinions were considered similar to those of “populists” (narodniki) by the Stalinists. We do not know if Guevara shared these ideas with Mariátegui, but only the Stalinists could have considered them as belonging to a “reactionary utopia”.

According to Samuel Farber, in his critical notes on the Soviet manual of political economy, when referring to economic priorities, Guevara “[gives] the impression that this would be decided exclusively by the Communist Party in power”[xlv]. However, in their critical notes, kept secret by the Cuban authorities until the beginning of the 2000s, Che wrote exactly the opposite when he defended that the plan should be conceived “as an economic decision of the masses, aware of their role (…) something that was elementary, the importance, the enthusiasm that the people have when they know they are going to elect their representatives”[xlv]. In the same vein, Farber accuses Guevara of “avoiding and rejecting the election by the people of his representatives”[xlviii].

This inaccurate reading is belied by Guevara's criticism of the unions and the Party's intervention: “Here, union democracy is a myth, which will be said or not, but it is a perfect myth. The Party meets, then proposes 'so-and-so' to the masses, a single candidacy, and from there the elected candidate is chosen; one with a lot of assistance, one with less assistance, but in reality there was no selection process by the masses”[xlix]. And he insists: “This is something that should call our attention from the (…) institutional point of view, which is the fact that people need to express themselves, they need a vehicle to express themselves. We have to reflect on this issue (…) [that of establishing] a necessary vehicle of democracy for the new institutions to be created”[l].

He also criticized the trade union bureaucracy that had been created and did not want to go back to working with their hands[li] and points out that “the work of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba had left much to be desired in recent times”[liiii]. The relationship between socialism and man was at the center of his concerns. To say that, in Guevara's eyes, it was exclusively up to the Communist Party in power to make the most important economic decisions is not true.

For Samuel Farber, in Che's writings, as Socialism and Man in Cuba, “there is a deafening silence (…) on the substantial increase in consumer goods and, more generally, on the rise in the people’s standard of living”[iii]. Samuel Farber himself contradicts this claim. Several dozen pages earlier, he notes that, as minister of industry, Guevara had proposed “more than doubling the standard of living of Cubans in just four years”[book]. If it is true that, as Guevara later admitted, this plan was unrealistic, it demonstrates that “the substantial increase in consumer goods” was by no means outside his conception of socialism: “the peasant also aspires to have television”[lv], observes.

In the same way, and following his custom of recognizing mistakes, he reiterated the need for housing for Cubans and regretted that housing construction continued to decline, thus implicitly criticizing planning errors and the decisions of other ministries.[lv]. It should be noted, in passing, how decisive planning was for Che, a strange preoccupation for a “bohemian” mind.

“In mid-1961, [Guevara] announced, on behalf of the revolutionary government, a very unrealistic four-year economic plan, whose objectives were unrealistic”[lviii], writes Samuel Farber, illustrating Che's “voluntarism”. Let us ignore the fact that this decision was taken “in the name of the government”, led by Fidel Castro, someone who did not allow himself to be imposed on decisions he did not agree with, especially taking into account that the attempt at rapid industrialization made at the beginning of the Revolution responded to the commitment assumed by Fidel Castro in 1953, in his speech La history me absolverá, and later by the direction of the M-26-7 in the Sierra Maestra, to break with the historical dependence of the monoculture of sugar cane. However, the revolutionary leadership had underestimated the obstacles it would eventually face in breaking with decades of economic subordination, ties documented by numerous authors, including Cuban historians Ramiro Guerra and Manuel Moreno Fraginals.[lviii].

Driven by its momentum, Samuel Farber compares the plan he attributes to Guevara “to the Great Leap Forward [in Mao-Tse Tung’s China],” a campaign that resulted in “the starvation and death of millions of people.”[lix]. Once again, Farber points the finger at Guevara and blames him for the agricultural catastrophe that occurred in the 60s, ignoring Fidel Castro's own responsibilities, as René Dumont had to point out at that time. The real agricultural disaster was caused by the failure of the plan to harvest 10 million tons of sugar during the 1970 harvest, an objective linked to agreements with Moscow to which Che was oblivious.


against dogmatism

Perhaps the most outrageous of all Samuel Farber's accusations against Che is that he advocated, in general terms, a "monolithic conception of socialism that ignored the hierarchical division of labor and ruled out the possibility of any conflict of interests other than those class interests in the process of abolition”[lx], as evidence to the contrary is abundant, came to be considered a heretic and was wrongly labeled a Trotskyist by the Soviets. Farber is silent on Che's stance in favor of free speech, and while acknowledging that he protected Cuban Trotskyists, downplays this practice, attributing Che's attitude to the fact that Cuban Trotskyists "were supporters, albeit critical, of the state one-party”[lxi]! This is a curious characterization of political militants belonging to a Trotskyist party independent of the Communist Party, semi-clandestine, repressed and finally banned.

In 1964, during a discussion with his comrades at the Ministry of Industry, when Trotsky's books (including The Permanent Revolution) were on the verge of being destroyed, Guevara reaffirmed: “We have to have enough capacity to destroy all opposing opinions [based on] arguments or else let opinions be expressed. Opinion that must be destroyed with clubs is opinion that has the advantage over us (…) It is not possible to destroy opinions with clubs, and that is precisely what kills all development, the free development of intelligence”[lxii].

These statements are all the more significant as they confirm his disagreements with the Trotskyists. In 1965, on the eve of his departure from Cuba, he took the Cuban Trotskyist Roberto Acosta Echevarría out of prison, to whom, after giving him a hug, he addressed in similar terms: “Acosta, ideas are not killed with clubs.”[lxiii]. At the Ministry of Industry, the assessment and analysis of the situation gave rise to disagreements and controversies, which were reproduced in the book by its deputy minister, Orlando Borrego[lxiv]. In that same ministry, Che received Alberto Mora, former minister of foreign trade and one of his opponents in the economic debate.

On September 29, 1963, in his closing speech at the First International Meeting of Professors and Students of Architecture, Guevara clearly set out his criteria: “We never shy away from confrontation or discussion. We have always been open to the discussion of all ideas and the only thing we have not allowed is the blackmail of ideas or the sabotage of the Revolution. We were absolutely adamant about that (…) There were professionals who went to prison for directly counterrevolutionary tasks, for sabotage.

And even these professionals, in prison, were rehabilitated and worked first in prison, then left and worked in our industries, and they are working. We place in them all the confidence that can be placed in any of our technicians and they adhere despite having lived through the hardest part, the darkest part of the Revolution, which is repression, which is mandatory in a revolution that succeeds (…) But (...) that part of society that takes up arms against us, be it direct weapons of destruction, or ideological weapons to destroy society, we attack them and we are merciless. Against the rest, the non-conformists, the honest malcontents, those who claim that they are not and never will be socialists, we simply say to them: 'Well, nobody asked you before whether you were a capitalist or not. He had a contract and he fulfilled it. Fulfill your contract, work and come up with whatever ideas you want, we don't meddle in your ideas'”[lxv].

The testimony of the poet Heberto Padilla is revealing. Returning from a trip to the USSR, he voiced his criticisms and disappointments during a meeting with Guevara, who agreed with him: “Damn it, I know what all that is, I could see it with my own eyes”[lxvi]. Faced with the concerns of the poet, who was looking for a job in journalism, he warned him: “Times are not good for doing journalism”[lxv], and advised him to abandon the idea and go to work at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, then directed by Alberto Mora. Some time later, in 1971, Padilla was the victim of a Stalinist trial and forced to carry out a public self-criticism.

Samuel Farber tries by all means to fit Che into the Stalinist mold. For this, he privileges – among others – sources such as Jorge Castañeda[lxviii], declared opponent of the Cuban Revolution and detractor of Che, to assert that, since his passage through Guatemala, “Guevara identified himself closely with Josef Stalin” and that this “identification with Stalin would remain”[lxix]. It is true that, in a 1953 letter addressed to his aunt, during his initiation tour of Latin America, Guevara praised “comrade Stalin”, but the fact that he had never joined any communist party, neither in Guatemala nor in Mexico – as Farber himself recognizes[lxx] –, demonstrates the little importance of an episode that dates back to the time when Che was 25 years old. From there, turning Guevara into a Stalinist goes a long way, which Samuel Farber, a “classical Marxist”, follows without hesitation.

In fact, as Luis Simón, an intellectual affiliated with the M-26-7, recalls, when he met Guevara in September 1958, amid the rain and mosquitoes, he asked him to borrow Merleau-Ponty's work Existentialism and Marxism, and when the conversation turned to international politics, he scathingly attacked Stalinism and the Budapest massacre.[lxxi]. In yours critical points, Guevara pointed out that “Stalin's tremendous historic crime” consisted in “having despised communist education and instituted the unrestricted cult of authority”[lxxiii].

Samuel Farber also accuses Guevara of having been a repressive – albeit “honest” – communist, comparable to the Russian revolutionary Felix Dzerzhinsky. In this regard, he writes: “Perhaps (sic) a parallel can be established between Guevara and Felix Dzerzhinsky (…) Although, as head of the Cheka [Soviet political police], he was known for his repressive, generally arbitrary actions, Dzerzhinsky was considered a honest person and a communist”[lxxiii]. Did Guevara ever head a political police body comparable to Dzerzhinsky's Soviet Cheka, which was responsible for the execution of thousands of opponents, including left-wing ones (anarchists, left-wing eserists, etc.)?

In the same vein, for Farber, “[Che's] views were far from the 'humanist' philosophy attributed to him by some of his supporters. During his days in the Sierra [Maestra], Guevara opposed the very effective prisoner return tactic used by Fidel Castro.”[lxxiv]. Farber takes this “information” from the book by Castañeda, author of a hostile and acerbic biography of Che. In his bibliography, Farber often privileges the writings of opponents of the Revolution[lxxv] to the detriment of the numerous testimonies of combatants from the Sierra[lxxvi] and those who accompanied Che at the Ministry of Industry until his departure from Cuba in 1965. But the reality is exactly the opposite of what Farber claims!

So in your manual A guerrilla warfare, Guevara proclaims: “(…) as long as there are no sizable bases of operations and impregnable places, do not take prisoners. Survivors must be freed. The wounded must be treated with all possible resources at the time of action.”[lxxvii]. This was also his practice as a guerrilla commander in Bolivia. In his Bolivian diary, he wrote: “Two new spies were taken prisoner; a lieutenant and a soldier. The booklet was read to them and they were released”[lxxviii]. Farber himself is forced to admit that Che opposed the execution of Huber Matos – an anti-communist opponent sentenced to 20 years in prison – and even his imprisonment. Guevara reportedly contacted Matos' family and suggested they appeal the court's verdict, according to Matos' own testimony after his release from prison.[lxxix].

Another testimony, made public in France by Luis Alberto Lavandeyra, a former guerrilla who had been a member of Che's column in the Sierra Maestra, is illustrative of Che's ethics and respect for life during the battle of Santa Clara: "[Che ] had meticulously prepared an ambush in the upper part of a valley through which a battalion of Batista's soldiers, all black, was to pass. Che warned us that he would be the first to fire and that would be the signal. The company passed without Che firing.

After the company had passed, the whole troop met him in surprise: “We were waiting for you to give the signal. But why didn't you fire, commander? “I was thinking,” replied Che. We won the war. What good would a massacre do? They are soldiers recruited from the poorest environments and have wives and children.”[lxxx]. This is a reflection – in full combat – that obeys ethical considerations. Every day, Che asked himself questions of an ethical nature. It was a constant political attitude that he would maintain in Bolivia, where he would release the soldiers taken prisoner.


Departure from Cuba. Bolivia

“Despite having failed in the Congo,” writes Samuel Farber, “[Guevara] saw no reason to question the decision, which he had taken in 1965, to renounce Cuban citizenship and resign from his responsibilities in the government.”[lxxxi]. Farber takes up the official version and presents this decision as a personal choice independent of a political situation marked by tensions between Havana and Moscow after Guevara's speech in Algiers. Farber cannot ignore that reality was quite different. After his return to Havana, Guevara did not appear in public again. By the end of 1964, the Minister of Industry had already made known his numerous disagreements with foreign policy and Soviet economic reforms and was being attacked by some apparatchiks from the PSP.

Guevara knows this: “In a whole series of aspects I expressed opinions that may be closer to the Chinese side: in guerrilla warfare, in people's war, in the development of all these things (…) [And] how they identify me with the budget system , Trotskyism also appears mixed. They say that the Chinese are also divisionist and Trotskyist, and they also put 'sambenito' on me”[lxxxii], he writes (the sambenito is the garment of infamy imposed by the Inquisition on those who would be burned at the stake).

When he returned to Havana, on March 14, 1965, he wrote to his mother that he would spend a month in the interior of the country cutting sugar cane.[lxxxiii], which caused misunderstanding among his closest collaborators. As René Dumont indicates, in fact, rejected, Guevara had already resigned, very discreetly, from his position as minister[lxxxiv].

This decision was the result of increased tensions between Havana and Moscow, tensions in which Che played a leading role. During his last trip to the USSR, he had, in his own words, held several scientific debates with Soviet students and economists invited by the Cuban embassy[lxxxv]. O speech given by Che in Algiers, during the Second Economic Seminar on Afro-Asian Solidarity, was the high point of the public expression of their differences, which will be referred to in the letter to Fidel Castro[lxxxvi] which would only be published in 2019, three years after the latter's death.

After the failure of his mission in the Congo, Che writes to Fidel to dissuade him from sending reinforcements, returns clandestinely to Cuba and finally leaves the island in 1966, heading for Bolivia. The choice of locations and the organizational and political preparations were carried out at the highest level of Cuban leadership.[lxxxvii].

According to Samuel Farber, "Che's expeditionary force in Bolivia failed to establish an effective relationship of support with the Bolivian left"[lxxxviii]. However, Farber's assertion is categorically contradicted by various statements from miners' unions and left-wing political organizations, with the exception of the Communist Party of Bolivia (PCB), but not its youth organization. As assured by Guillermo Lora, general secretary of the Revolutionary Workers Party (POR)[lxxxix], in an interview with the Mexican journalist Rubén Vásquez Díaz: “The only way in which the working class – the Bolivian proletariat – can conquer power in the country is through the mines.[xc] (…) The guerrilla without the working class is nothing. The POR supports the guerrillas unconditionally, because it is a logical consequence of the current situation in Bolivia (…) And our help and support are completely limitless”[xci].

When asked by Vasquez Diaz whether the POR was ready to send men to the guerrillas, Lora answered in the affirmative without hesitation: “Men too, yes”[xcii]. The other Trotskyist organization affiliated with the Fourth International (the POR of González Moscoso) had sent militants to train in Cuba and join the Bolivian guerrillas. They were stuck on the island, unable to leave the country to join the guerrillas.

Em 1967: Saint John in blood and fire, Bolivians Carlos Soria Galvarro, José Pimentel Castillo and Eduardo García Cárdenas[xciii] narrate this crucial moment in the history of the Andean-Amazonian country. In the first chapter of the book, “Mineiros e guerrilheiros”, Soria Galvarro recounts the days of May 1965, when the pact between miners and university and secondary school students was ratified; period when miners were relentlessly repressed, when union leaders who had organized assemblies and strikes to defend their claims were attacked and condemned, when the government of the military junta headed by Barrientos reinstated the death penalty, when leftist parties were declared illegal for having publicly manifested their solidarity with the guerrillas and all meetings and public demonstrations were strictly prohibited, and when, in March 1967, the presence of the guerrillas began to be on the front pages of newspapers, after the beginning of clashes with the army in the southeast of the country.

Another testimony that contradicts Samuel Farber's statement is that of Domitila Barrios de Chungara, a Bolivian mining leader, who recalls that in Che's guerrilla there were several guerrillas from the mines and that the workers organized activities in favor of the guerrilla, as this was the army of Che. people, the workers, the exploited and who had decided to support her by sending her a day's wages, food and medicine. According to Barrios de Chungara, many miners believed that she was responsible for coordinating support for the guerrillas and even went to sign up with her to join the guerrilla movement.[xciv].

On May 25, 1967, in its number 17, the Fedmineros, a press organ of the powerful Trade Union Federation of Mining Workers of Bolivia (FSTMB), published a note entitled “Guerrilla Front”, in which it said: “Hunger, misery, exploitation, unemployment, violence and intimidation, as like the persecution imposed by the gorilla government of Barrientos, are the consequence of the appearance of the guerrillas. The generals say they are bandits, enemies of the poor, but nobody believes that. We can say that the vast majority of workers view the guerrilla action with sympathy. This is the truth. It cannot be different when you live in injustice, without work and poorly fed. We know that the Yankees act as anti-guerrillas and this revolts the workers”[xcv].

On June 6 of the same year, at a general meeting of workers and union leaders from the mines of Huanuni, Siglo XX and Catavi, a resolution was approved with thirteen points, one of which called for “moral and material support for patriotic guerrillas (sic) operating in the southeast of the country" and the "sending of [medicines] and food"[xcvi]. The following day, the military junta declared a state of siege. “According to the [Bolivian] government spokesman, the measure had been taken mainly due to the threat of the Huanuni miners to march in protest to the city of Oruro and the fact that several mining leaders had given speeches that were “frankly subversive and in support of to the guerrillas operating in the southeast of the country”[xcvii].

In an interview in 1967, sociologist René Zavaleta Mercado, former minister of mines in the government of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR), stated: “Within three months we will be in a position to send the first contingents to the guerrillas and, with some help, we hope to be in a position to form a propaganda network (…) The great merit of the guerrilla movement is having broken with all traditional political conceptions and party lines”[xcviii]. The miners would be massacred on the eve of the feasts of São João. It was after this carnage that Guevara issued Communiqué No. 5, addressed to Bolivian miners, which Farber misinterprets. As Farber recalls, Guevara “warned the miners not to follow the 'false apostles of mass struggle'” (…) and, in return, made them “the very unrealistic proposal to leave their jobs, their families and their communities and go somewhere else to join your guerrilla group (...) led by militants outside your class and coming from other countries”[xcix].

But what does the statement say?[c]? “We must not insist on false tactics; heroic, yes, but sterile, which plunge the proletariat into a bloodbath and thin its ranks, depriving us of its most combative elements. Against machine guns, heroic breasts are of no use.”[ci]. The communiqué recommends “not committing forces to actions that do not guarantee success, but the pressure of the working masses must be exerted continuously against the government, as this is a class struggle without limited fronts”[cii]. And he concludes: “Comrade from Minas Gerais: the ELN guerrillas await you with open arms and invite you to join the underground workers who fight alongside us. Here we will rebuild the worker-peasant alliance broken by anti-popular demagoguery; Here we will turn defeat into triumph.”[ciii]. This conclusion is in line with the debates of the 60s on the relationship between armed struggle and mass struggle in Latin America, seven years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.


act of accusation

Samuel Farber's book reads like an act of accusation. Farber goes on and on about Che's shortcomings and shortcomings. An entire section of the second chapter is entitled “Political Schematism and Indifference to Specific Contexts” (pp. 23-25). There are many variations on the same theme: “failure to understand specific political situations” (p. 4); “ignorance and indifference in the face of specific political contexts” (p. 23); “inability to recognize specific political plots and historical conjunctures in Cuba during the period of armed struggle” (p. 23); “political deafness” (p. 23); “[lack] of that difficult to decipher but real trait called political instinct” (pp. 23 and 46); “tactical blindness” (p. 23); “[indifference] in the face of concrete historical data and the political significance” of the period marked by the 1940 Constitution (p. 25), and so on. All this, always, in contrast to the “genius” of Fidel Castro.

Samuel Farber even puts Che's internationalism into doubt, since – according to him – it is the expression of “[a] common project for the creation of a new class system” that “he will share until the last moment” (…) “with the Castro brothers and the Cuban communists aligned with Moscow”[civ]. For Farber, the bureaucracy is a new social class to which Che, a non-proletarian “petty-bourgeois bohemian”, would have naturally joined. It can be shown.

According to Samuel Farber, “Most Cubans consider Che a quixotic failed figure”[cv] and, nowadays, “Che has absolutely no influence among the different currents of the Cuban opposition”[cvi]. What opposition does Samuel Farber speak of? The Cuban opposition is not homogeneous. It is true that the new Cuban generations harshly judge the balance of the country's leadership, but these criticisms differ from one another and tend to evolve. Guevara's fight against the privileges of the bureaucracy and against the increase in inequalities, his visionary analyzes of the possible collapse of the USSR, his ethical conception of the exercise of power, explain the prestige he enjoys on the critical left, especially among young people in attitude breakage.

In a text published in March 2023 in La Joven Cuba, the young Afro-Cuban Alexander Hall Lujardo – detained during the demonstrations of July 11, 2021 –, referring to Che’s last letter to Fidel, recalls how “the criticisms made by the internationalist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara from a radical Marxist militancy , in favor of the economic autonomy of the island as the only condition [capable] of guaranteeing its national sovereignty, were silenced by the Cuban leadership[,] for more than forty years”. Nothing is more foreign to Ernesto Guevara's thinking than an apologetic approach that obscures errors and differences. “If you don’t agree, write your own” – tells Enrique Oltuski what Che told him when he commented on some aspect of the revolutionary war”[cvii].

Interrupted by his death at the age of 39, Che's project on the socialist transition remained unfinished, points out Cuban historian Fernando Martínez Heredia. His thinking was constantly evolving. He lacked a structural and organic conception of political democracy that was necessarily pluralistic in the transition to socialism, but in its brief existence it only knew what he himself called “armed democracy”.[cviii].

However, it is not possible to understand Che's theoretical and strategic thinking, his political and ethical influence, if we reduce him to a Stalinist from the so-called Third Period or a Chekist from the XNUMXs. Nor can Guevara be reduced to the figure of a pure idealist, a singular character whose “political honesty [and] radical egalitarianism (…) could have made him more apt to be a communist opponent than a communist ruler installed in power during a long time (…)"[cix].

Nor is it possible to write about Ernesto Guevara without referring to the context in which he thought and acted between 1955 and 1959, and then between 1959 and 1965, when he was entrusted with the highest responsibilities in a revolution that initiated a process of socialist transition by unexplored paths, in a historical context that forced him to “navigate[r] between imperialist Charybdis and totalitarian Scylla”[cx].

*Janette Habel is a political scientist. She is the author, among other books, of Cuba: The Revolution in Peril (To).

*Michael Lowy is director of research in sociology at Center nationale de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).  Author, among other books, of What is Ecosocialism?Cortez).

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves


[I] Aurelio Alonso,Discuss it, with veneration and irreverence. About the letter from Che Guevara to Fidel, 25/04/1965", La Tizza, June 28, 2019. Also published under the title “Letter to Fidel. By Ernesto Che Guevara" in: Socialist Cuba. Theoretical and political quarterly magazine of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (July 2, 2019).

[ii] Che Guevara. Ombres et lumières d'un révolutionnaire, Paris, Ed. Syllepse, 2017 ( [original edit: The politics of Che Guevara. Theory and Practice, Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2016)].

[iii] Farber, The Politics of Che Guevara, ed. cit., p. xvii. Emphasis added (

[iv] Ibid., p. xwiii.

[v] Alain Rouquié, . Introduction à l'Extreme-Occident, Paris, Seuil, 1987.

[vi] Ernesto Che Guevara, Journal of Bolivia, Paris, La Découverte, 1997, p. 222. [Ernesto Guevara, El Diario del Che in Bolivia (Foreword by Fidel Castro), Madrid, Siglo XXI de España Editores, 2003 (33rd edition)].

[vii] José Carlos Mariátegui, “Aniversario y balance”, ideology and politics, in: Complete works, Lima, Amauta, 1971, volume 13, p. 252.

[viii] Vladimir Ilich Lenin, Loin letters, Œuvres Choisies, Moscow, Éditions en Langues Étrangeres, 1962, vol. II, p. 30.

[ix] Farber, op. quoted, p. 10.

[X] Robert Merle, Moncada. Fidel Castro Premier Combat, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1965, p. 84. Emphasis added.

[xi] See Julio Garcia Oliveras. “The anti-Baptist student movement and the ideology of the revolution”, in: 1959: A rebellion against the oligarchies and the revolutionary dogmas, La Habana, Ruth Casa Editorial/Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello, 2009, p. 20.

[xii] Merle, Moncada, on. cit., pp. 341-348.

[xiii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 116.

[xiv] Ibid., p. xxvi.

[xv] Ibid., pp. 1-5 and ff.

[xvi] Ibid., P. 8.

[xvii] Ibid., p. xviii. Griffin ours.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xx] Hilda Gadea, Che Guevara. Decisive years, Mexico, Aguilar, 1972, p. 27.

[xx] Raúl Roa Kouri, In the torrent, La Habana, Fondo Editorial Casa de las Americas, 2004, pp. 79-80.

[xxx] Ernesto Guevara, Letter of December 14, 1957 to René Ramos Latour (“Daniel”), in: Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution, Barcelona, ​​R. Torres, 1976, p. 362.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Letter to Ernesto Sábato, April 12, 1960, in: Ernesto Che Guevara, Letters 1947-1967, Paris, Au Diable Vauvert, 2021, p. 261.

[xxv] René Dumont, Cuba est-il socialiste?, Paris, Seuil, 1970, p. 30. [Is Cuba socialist? (trans. Mariela Álvarez), Caracas, Editorial Tiempo Nuevo, 1970].

[xxiv] Farber, on. cit.,P. 116.

[xxv] Farber, on. cit.,P. 20.

[xxviii] Blas Roca, Balance of the work of the Party since the last National Assembly and the development of the revolution, La Habana, 1960, pp. 87-88.

[xxviii] Quoted by Silvio Frondizi, Argentine anti-Stalinist revolutionary, in his book The Cuban Revolution, Montevideo, Political Science Editorial, 1960, p. 151.

[xxix] "The way”, Weekly Letter, no. 4, September 3, 1953. Quoted by Caridad Massón Sena, in: “Projects and action of the Popular Socialist Party between 1952 and 1958”, in: 1959: A rebellion against the oligarchies and the revolutionary dogmas, La Habana, Ruth Casa Editorial, 2009, p. 229.

[xxx] Ernesto Guevara was not among the members of the Political Cabinet or the Central Committee of the new PCC. He had disappeared from the Cuban public's view after delivering a speech in Algiers in which he openly questioned Soviet foreign policy, in particular the way in which the USSR managed its relations with Third World countries.

[xxxii] Gaspar Jorge Garcia Galló, “El Partido del proletariado y del pueblo”, La Habana, Departamento de Extensión Educacional, 1962, pp. 23-26.

[xxxi] Farber, op. quoted, pp.17, 113.

[xxxii] As published in Havana in the magazine Our Industry, directed by Guevara and later reproduced in the magazine Critical thinking (1967-1971). See the full index of Critical thinking em

[xxxv] See Ernesto Che Guevara, Charles Bettelheim, Ernest Mandel, El Gran Debate. About the economy in Cuba, La Habana, Ocean Sur, 2005 (translated into English and also published by Ocean Sur in 2006).

[xxxiv] Farber, op. quoted, pp. 113-114.

[xxxiv] Alonso, “Discussing it, with veneration and irreverence…”, cit.

[xxxviii] Ernesto Guevara, Socialism and the man in Cuba, La Habana, Ocean Sur, 2005.

[xxxviii] See Ernesto Guevara, Critical points to the Political Economy, La Habana, Ocean Sur, 2006, and Orlando Borrego, Che. The path of fire, La Habana, Imagen Contemporánea, 2001, pp. 201-242.

[xxxix] Alonso, “Discussing it, with veneration and irreverence…”, cit.

[xl] Ibid and Guevara, critical points, on. cit., P. 342, where he states: “The political economy of the transition period is totally non-existent”.

[xi] Farber, op. quoted, P. 90. Emphasis added.

[xliii] Ernesto Guevara, “On the conception of value (Contesting some assertions on the subject)”, Our Industry. economic magazine, La Habana, October 1963. Taken from Ernesto Guevara, economic writings, Córdoba (Argentina), Ediciones Pasado y Presente (Cuadernos de Pastado y Presente/5), pp. 69-77.

[xiii] Ernesto Che Guevara, Écrits d'un révolutionnaire, Paris, La Brèche, 1987, p. 31. Emphasis added. Quoted by Aurelio Alonso in “Del debate de ayer al debate de mañana”, prologue to the 29th edition of the work by Carlos Tablada Che's economic thinking, La Habana, Social Sciences Editorial, 2017, p. 13.

[xiv] Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, “About Che's contribution to the development of the Cuban economy”, Socialist Cuba, no. 33, May-June 1988. Conference given at the Ministry of Industry and partially reproduced in the Cuban magazine Bohemia, in October 2017, on the occasion of a special edition for the fiftieth anniversary of the fall in combat and subsequent assassination of Che.

[xlv] Farber, op. quoted, p. 110.

[xlv] Ibid., P. 93.

[xlv] Ibid., p. 413.

[xlviii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 126.

[xlix] Orlando Borrego (comp.), Che in the Cuban Revolution, La Habana, Editorial José Martí, 2013, volume VI, p. 438.

[l] Ibid.

[li] Ibid., P. 439.

[liiii] Ibid., P. 529.

[iii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 78.

[book] Ibid., P. 21.

[lv] Guevara, Critical points, op. cit., p. 475.

[lv] See, for example, Borrego (comp.), Che in the Cuban Revolution, ed. cit., volume VI, p. 553 et passim.

[lviii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 21.

[lviii] See, among others, Manuel Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio. Cuban Social Economic Complex of Azúcar, La Habana, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1978.

[lix] Farber, op. quoted, p. 113.

[lx] Ibid., pp. 67-68.

[lxi] Ibid., P. 17.

[lxii] lamb, op. quoted, volume VI, p. 427.

[lxiii] Rafael Acosta de Arriba, “The end of Trotskyism organized in Cuba”, in: Caridad Massón (ed.), Las Izquierdas Latinoamericanas. Multiplicity and Experiences during the XNUMXth Siglo, Santiago de Chile, 2017, Ariadna Ediciones, pp. 299-230.

[lxiv] lamb, op. quoted, I take VI, passim.

[lxv] lamb, on. cit., volume IV, pp. 390-391.

[lxvi] Herberto Padilla, the bad memory, s/l, Hypermedia, 2018, p. 107.

[lxv] Ibid., P. 108.

[lxviii] Jorge Castaneda, La vida en rojo. A biography of Che Guevara, Barcelona, ​​ABC, 2003.

[lxix] Farber, op. quoted, p. 16.

[lxx] Ibid.

[lxxi] Luis Simón, “Mis relaciones con el Che Guevara”, Paris, Cuadernos, 60, May 1962. Quoted by Pierre Kalfon in: Che: Ernesto Guevara, a legend of the siècle, Paris, Seuil, 1997, p. 229.

[lxxiii] Guevara, Critical points to the economy, on. cit., P. 214.

[lxxiii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 135, note 8.

[lxxiv] Ibid., P. 72.

[lxxv] This is the case of Jacob Machover – whom Farber cites as a reference on p. 15th of shadows and lights – whose relentless opposition to the Cuban Revolution led him to deny the destructive impact of US sanctions against Cuba.

[lxxvi] We collected numerous testimonies from former guerrillas – some of which appear in a film by Maurice Dugowson, as well as in the aforementioned book by Pierre Kalfon – which contradict these statements.

[lxxvii] Ernesto Che Guevara, writings and speeches, Volume 1, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, Havana, 1972.

[lxxviii] Ernesto Guevara, El Diario del Che in Bolivia (Foreword by Fidel Castro), Madrid, Siglo XXI de España Editores (33rd edition), 2003, p. 166.

[lxxix] Farber, op. quoted, p. 143, note 26.

[lxxx] Fabien Augier, Souvenirs d'un guerillero tendre, Louis-Alberto Lavandeyra, le lieutenant français de Che Guevara, Paris, Les Indes savants, 2022.

[lxxxi] Farber, op. quoted, p. 42.

[lxxxii] lamb, Che in the Cuban Revolution, ed. cit., vol. VI, p. 428.

[lxxxiii] Dumont, Cuba est-il socialiste?, ed. cit., p. 51.

[lxxxiv] Ibid.

[lxxxv] KS Carol, Les guerilleros au pouvoir. L'itinéraire politique de la révolution cubaine, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1970, p. 331. [Ed. esp.: The guerrillas in power, Barcelona, ​​Seix Barral, 1970.]

[lxxxvi] Ver note 1.

[lxxxvii] See François Maspero's Preface to the reprint of Che's Diary in Bolivia (Journal of Bolivia, Paris, Maspero, 1950).

[lxxxviii] Farber, op. quoted, p. 44.

[lxxxix] Bolivian Trotskyism was divided into two organizations, POR de Lora and POR-Combate by Hugo González Moscoso (IV Internacional), which supported the guerrillas. There were also two communist parties, that of Mario Monje (Communist Party of Bolivia – PCB), pro-Moscow, and that of Óscar Zamora (Communist Party of Bolivia (Marxist-Leninist) – PCB(ML)), pro-China.

[xc] Ruben Vasquez Diaz, Bolivia a la hora del che, Mexico, Siglo XXI Editores, 1978 (4 ed.), p. 162. The quotation is taken from the original in Spanish. See also: Carlos Soria Galvarro, José Pimentel Castillo and Eduardo García Cárdenas 1967: San Juan a sangre y fuego, La Paz, Punto de Encuentro, 2008, pp. 264.

[xci] Vasquez Diaz, op. cit., P. 162.

[xcii] Ibid.

[xciii] Soria Galvarro et al. on. cit.

[xciv] Soria Galvarro et al. on. cit., P. 181.

[xcv] Ibid., pp. 148-149.

[xcvi] Ibid., P. 155.

[xcvii] Ibid., P. 17.

[xcviii] René Zavaleta Mercado, «We must organize armed resistance» (Interview, 1967), in Sociological and political writings, Cochabamba, Serie del Pensamiento Latinoamericano, 1986, pp. 9-12.

[xcix] Farber, on. cit., P. 52.

[c] Guevara, Bolivia Diary, ed. cit., p. 285.

[ci] Ibid., pp. 255-256.

[cii] Ibid., P. 256.

[ciii] Ibid., P. 256.

[civ] Farber, op. cit., p. 118-119.

[cv] Ibid., p. xv.

[cvi] Ibid., p. xvi.

[cvii] Enrique Oltuski, people of the llano, La Habana, Imagen Contemporánea, 2001, p. 1.

[cviii] Fernando Martinez Heredia, Think about Che, La Habana, CEA/Editorial José Martí, 1989-1992, volume I, p. 357.

[cix] Farber, op. quoted, p. 118.

[cx] Dumont, op. quoted, p. 236.

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