Aleida Guevara in Greece: Events for the 55th anniversary of Che Guevara’s assassination

Aleida Guevara March, the daughter of Ernesto Che Guevara, is visiting Athens, Greece between 6 and 12 October 2022 in order to participate in a series of events marking the 55th anniversary since the assassination of the iconic communist revolutionary.

The organizer of the events and host is New Star Cinema’s director Velissarios Kossivakis, a long-time friend of Cuba.

The central political event in honor of Che will take place on Saturday 8 October at 19:30 in Studio New Star Cinema in central Athens (33 Stavropoulou & Spartis street, Amerikis Square). The event will be attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba in Greece Mr. Aramis Fuente Hernandez.

Among others, the series of events include:

  • 55+ film and documentary screenings related to Che from all over the world.
  • Recitations of poems written by Che, Cuban and foreign poets.
  • A concert dedicated to Ernesto Che Guevara on Sunday 9 October 2022.

Nikos Mottas’ book on Che Guevara presented in Veria, Greece

VERIA, GREECE – The presentation of Nikos Mottas’ book “Che Guevara, Ambassador of the Revolution” (2021, Atexnos Publishing) was held with particular success of Sunday 30 September in the northern Greek city of Veria.

The event was attended by numerous friends of Cuba, people from the local administration, representatives of associations and unions from the region of Imathia and others who expressed their solidarity towards the people of Cuba.

Nikos Mottas (right) with journalist Alekos Chatzikostas.

The speakers included Alekos Chatzikostas, journalist and author, as well as the book’s author Nikos Mottas. A special message addressed to the author by Dr. Aleida Guevara, daughter of Ernesto, was also read.

A short documentary titled “PAX CUBANA”, directed by Dimitris Tachmatzidis, was also presented during the event. Among others, the video included scenes from the visit of the Ambassador and Counsellor of the Republic of Cuba, Zelmys Maria Dominguez Cortina and Jose Oriol Marerro Martinez respectively, in northern Greece, including the archaelogical site of Vergina, back in September 2021.


Nikos Mottas Homenaje Che Guevara
El Secretario General de la Asociación Heleno-Cubana de Amistad, Nikos Mottas

Salónica, Grecia: 18 de octubre – Se rindió homenaje a Ernesto Che Guevara en el 50 Aniversario de su caída en Bolivia, luchando por un mundo mejor y más justo , en un exitoso evento político cultural,  celebrado en la alcaldía de la ciudad griega de Salónica, segunda ciudad en importancia del país. El evento estuvo co-organizado por la Asociación Heleno Cubana de amistad y solidaridad  y el Comité griego por la distensión y la paz.

La Embajadora de Cuba en Grecia Zelmys Maria Domínguez Cortina saludo el evento agradeciendo a los organizadores, y resaltando la importancia del Che como ejemplo y su significado para el pueblo cubano. Señaló que “Ese hombre excepcional, ese ejemplo de revolucionario, siempre llevó consigo el amor por el pueblo cubano y su revolución, amor reciprocado por  ese pueblo que lo adoptó como hijo y sufrió como tal su pérdida física”.

Los principales oradores del evento fueron el Presidente de la Asociación Heleno Cubana de Amistad Apostolis Skoufas; el Secretario General de la mencionada Asociación Nikos Mottas y el presidente del Comité griego para la distensión y la paz de Salónica Nikos Zokas.

En su discurso, el Presidente Skoufas presentó los puntos básicos de la vida del Che y su carácter, mientras que el Secretario General Mottas se refirió a la herencia política marxista leninista del Che y su vigencia actual. Por su parte Nikos Zokas se refirió a aspectos de la economía política de Cuba durante la presencia del Che en el gobierno cubano.

En el evento, estaban presentes el consejero de la Embajada Jose Oriol Marrero Martínez, representantes del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Grecia (KKE) en Salónica y de la Juventud comunista (KNE), así como  veteranos del ejército democrático de Grecia, y sindicalistas. Fue un evento muy emotivo donde cientos de amigos de Cuba y cubanos residentes en Salónica honraron la memoria del Che.


Grecia Homenaje al Che Guevara 2

Grecia Homenaje al Che Guevara 3

Revolution Guided by Feelings of Great Love: Learning from Che Guevara

By Mitchel Cohen*.

Che Guevara was not overly concerned about elections as a means for transforming a capitalist or authoritarian state. But he was extremely concerned about finances, and how to fund the revolution. There is a piece in the film, «Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diary,» which is eerie in that it shows Che as part of a Cuban delegation in Moscow begging for funds for Cuba. In the film, the 34-year old Che Guevara is barely able to bite his tongue and check his scathing sarcasm for the Russian bureaucrats, in order to gain funding from them.

Che hated the Cuban revolution’s reliance on the Soviet Union, and went on to devise other means for obtaining funds and dispersing them. As the only one among the victorious guerrilla leadership in the Cuban revolution who had actually studied the works of Karl Marx, Che despised the bureaucrats and party hacks in the USSR as well as in Cuba.

I.F. Stone revealed that how, as early as 1961, at a conference in Punte del Este, Uruguay, Che Guevara — born in Argentina and a student of medicine there — was huddled in discussion with some new leftists from New York. A couple of Argentine Communist Party apparatchiks passed. Che couldn’t help shouting out: «Hey, why are you here, to start the counter-revolution?»

Like many in the emerging new left around the world, Che had first-hand experience with party apparatchiks and hated their attempts to impose their bureaucracy on indigenous revolutionary movements.

Indeed, contrary to the conceptions of many in the U.S. today, the revolution in Cuba was made independent of, and at times in opposition to, the Cuban Communist Party. It was only several years after the revolution succeeded in taking state power that an uneasy working relationship was established leading to a merger of the revolutionary forces and the Party — a merger that provided no end of problems for Che, and for the Cuban revolution itself.

We can learn something for our situation in the US today by examining Che’s approach in Latin America.

One such problem: Cuba’s increasing dependence upon the Soviet Union (in some ways similar to radical organizations’ increasing dependence on Foundation grants and other hoop-providing jumpsters). In its desperation for currency to buy needed items, the government — after strenuous debate — decided to forego diversification of Cuba’s agriculture in order to expand its main cash-crop, sugar, which it exchanged for Soviet oil, using some and reselling the rest on the world market. Despite Che’s (and others) warnings, Cuba gradually lost the capability to feed its own people — a problem that reached devastating proportions with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Similar crises had beset the Soviet Union and other avowedly socialist countries when they pursued industrial models of development and tried to pay for it by producing for and competing in the world market. Che’s response: Don’t produce for the world market. Reject cost/benefit analysis as the measure for what gets produced. A truly new society, Che believed, must aspire to and implement immediately, in the here and now, what its people dream for the future. And to get there, REAL communist revolutions must reject «efficiency» and nurture communalistic attempts to create a more humane society instead.

Che’s contempt for the officials of Marxdom (while considering himself a marxist) and bureaucrats of every stripe broke with the numbing mechanistic economics that Marxism had become. With Che and the new left inspired by him, «Revolution» was placed back on the historical agenda.

Che’s internationalism and identification with the poor and downtrodden every-where, his refusal to recognize the sanctity of national boundaries in the fight against U.S. imperialism, inspired new radical movements throughout the world. Che called upon radicals to transform OURSELVES into new, socialist human beings BEFORE the revolution, if we were to have any hope of actually achieving one worth living in. His call to begin living meaningfully NOW reverberated through an entire generation, reaching as much towards Sartre’s existentialism as the latter stretched towards Marx. Through action, through wringing the immediacy of revolution from the neck of every oppression, of every moment, and by putting one’s ideals immediately into practice, Che hammered the leading philosophical currents of the day into a tidal wave of revolt.

For Che, Marx’s maxim: «From each according to their ability to each according to their needs,» was not simply a long-range slogan but an urgent practical necessity to be implemented at once. The harrowing constraints of developing a small country (or radio station!!!!) along socialist lines, particularly in the context of continued attacks by U.S. imperialism (including a blockade, an invasion, a threatened nuclear war, and ongoing economic and ideological harrassment), on the other hand, militated against Che’s vision and boxed-in the revolutionary society into choosing from equally unpalatable alternatives.

In a sense, many of our organizations face similar «alternatives» today.

It was amid such contradictory pressures that Che tried to set a different standard for Cuba, and for humanity in general. As Minister of Finance, he managed to distribute the millions of dollars obtained from the USSR to artists, and to desperately poor farmers who in the U.S. would have been considered, shall we say, «poor risks.»

The Russian bureaucrats, like any capitalist banker, were furious with Che’s «Take what you need, don’t worry about paying it back» attitude. They leaned on Fidel to control Che and to regulate the «proper» dispersal of funds, just as twenty years later under Brezhnev, and apparently having learned nothing, the Soviet state leaned on Poland to pay back its inflated debt to the western banks, causing cutbacks and hardship and leading to the working class response: the formation of Solidarnosc. Indeed, the Soviet Union at that time was the best friend Chase Manhattan ever had! And in so doing it paid the ultimate price.

In 1959, the guerrillas, headed by Fidel Castro, swept into Havana having defeated the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Although the U.S. government armed and funded Batista, the CIA had its agents in Fidel’s guerrilla army as well.

One lieutenant in the guerilla army, Frank Fiorini, was actually one of several operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency there. Fiorini would surface a few years later as a planner of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, two years after that as one of three «hobos» arrested in Dallas a few moments after President Kennedy was assassinated and immediately released (one of the other «hobos» was none other than CIA-operative E. Howard Hunt), and again as one of the culprits involved with the dozens of CIA assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

Fiorini became quite famous again in 1973 as one of the burglars at the Democratic Party Headquarters at a hotel known as the Watergate, under the name Frank Sturgis. Indeed, it was precisely when the Watergate hearings were on the verge of raising serious questions about the Bay of Pigs and U.S. covert operations in Cuba that, suddenly, the existence of secret White House tapes was «unexpectedly» revealed. From that moment on, all we heard was what did Nixon know and when did he know it, and the potentially explosive investigation on the verge of revealing the secret history of illegal CIA interventions in Cuba, the murder of John F. Kennedy and attempted assassinations of Fidel were effectively sidetracked.

And yet it was under the constant threat of warfare by the U.S. — overt as well as the ongoing covert operations — that the Cuban revolution, especially under the instigation of Che, took some of its boldest steps in introducing «socialism of a new type.»

Contrast that with the erstwhile «communist» states, as they sacrificed whatever visionary socialist features they had in order to lure capitalist investment, so that they could compete on the world market. As head of the Cuban national bank, Che going against the tide, as always — made Cuba’s new banknotes famous by signing them simply «Che.» The first question Che asked of his subordinates when he took over the bank was «Where has Cuba deposited its gold reserves and dollars?» When he was told, «In Fort Knox,» he immediately began converting Cuba’s gold reserves into non-U.S. currencies which were exported to Canadian or Swiss banks. (1)

Che’s concern was not so much with developing «solvent» banking institutions in Cuba, but with two things: fighting U.S. imperialism, in this instance by removing the revolution’s gold from the clutches of the United States government (which could all too easily invent an excuse to confiscate it, as it later did with other Cuban holdings. Che was prescient in understanding that this would happen); and, of equal importance, finding ways to foster and fund the creation of a new socialist human being without relying upon capitalist mechanisms, which he understood would end up undermining the best of efforts. Che best put forth his outlook, which came to be that of the new left internationally as well, in a speech, «On Revolutionary Medicine»:

«Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger, and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefication provoked by continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming a famous scientist or making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.

«How does one actually carry out a work of social welfare? How does one unite individual endeavor with the needs of society?

«For this task of organization, as for all revolutionary tasks, fundamentally it is the individual who is needed. The revolution does not, as some claim, standardize the collective will and the collective initiative. On the contrary, it liberates one’s individual talent. What the revolution does is orient that talent. And our task now is to orient the creative abilities of all medical professionals toward the tasks of social medicine.

«The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth. … Far more important than a good remuneration is the pride of serving one’s neighbor. Much more definitive and much more lasting than all the gold that one can accumulate is the gratitude of a people.

«We must begin to erase our old concepts. We should not go to the people and say, `Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you our science, to show you your errors, your lack of culture, your ignorance of elementary things.’ We should go instead with an inquiring mind and a humble spirit to learn at that great source of wisdom that is the people.

«Later we will realize many times how mistaken we were in concepts that were so familiar they became part of us and were an automatic part of our thinking. Often we need to change our concepts, not only the general concepts, the social or philosophical ones, but also sometimes our medical concepts.

«We shall see that diseases need not always be treated as they are in big-city hospitals. We shall see that the doctor has to be a farmer also and plant new foods and sow, by example, the desire to consume new foods, to diversify the nutritional structure which is so limited, so poor.

«If we plan to redistribute the wealth of those who have too much in order to give it to those who have nothing; if we intend to make creative work a daily, dynamic source of all our happiness, then we have goals towards which to work.» (2)

Che’s love for the people took him first to the Congo and then to Bolivia, where he organized a band of guerrillas to serve, he hoped, as a catalyst in inspiring revolution. Che once again had to battle Official Marxdom: He struggled with the head of the Bolivian Communist Party for leadership of the guerrillas. The question: «Who should set policy for the guerrillas, Che and the guerrillas themselves or the head of the Bolivian Communist Party?» The guerrillas voted for Che perhaps the only election Che was ever involved in. NOT anybody was allowed to vote, not those who happened to live in the area, for example, but only people who were actively engaged in the struggle. Once Che won that election against the Communist Party attaché — an election that was not only about the individuals but a plebiscite on completely different revolutionary strategies — the Communist Party abandoned the guerrilla movement.

Would we view Che’s decision today as the correct one if the Bolivian CP had not been so heavy-handed, irresponsible and doctrinaire? (On the other hand, can there be a vanguard party that does not act in such a manner?) The question still haunts: To whom is the guerrilla responsible? Who sets the framework?

Such questions are not any easier to resolve. In Vietnam, for example, contary to Che’s guerrilla army, the National Liberation Front’s military took their policy from the party’s political bureau, not the other way around.

This was not the case with Che in Bolivia. The relationship of organization to mass-movement is a problem that has always plagued radical movements when they get to a certain stage. To whom is the affinity group, for example, responsible? Or, for that matter, the artist? The radio network?

On the one hand, decentralization is attractive, allowing for the greatest small-group autonomy, individual freedom and creativity. (One’s individual radio show, perhaps. One’s need for a paying job to support the family.) On the other hand, the larger movement must not only be able to coordinate the activities of many local groups but frame the actions of smaller groups who purport to be part of the same movement within a larger collective strategy, thus in some sense limiting their autonomy.

In Bolivia, failure by the guerrillas to be part of a many-pronged social movement led to their demise. Indeed, Che in his last days was rueful and frustrated at the lack of working class uprising in the mines, which he had hoped to incite. (The Communist Party was powerful among mine workers in Bolvia.) An uprising would have enabled the guerrillas to have had much greater impact. Eventually, the miners did overcome the CP reticence and did go on strike, but it was too little, too late. The guerrillas were depleted, Che wished for just 100 more guerrilla troops; that rather small number (he believed) would have made the difference.

These are serious and complicated questions that apply to our social movements today. Resolving such matters is not helped by demagoguery or grand-standing. It COULD BE helped by a transformation at the station itself, into one that consciously tries to develop a revolutionary culture and sees itself as such, and not simply a «job». Tricky stuff. Not easily reconciled. The world or at least OUR world depends upon whether we are able to resolve (or at least live with) the contradictions implied therein.

In Bolivia in the Summer of 1967, the guerrillas were picked off one by one. Without additional revolutionary forces Che and the others were forced to deal with the reality that, at least in Bolivia at that moment, their strategy for catalyzing a mass-based revolutionary uprising has failed. With the U.S. government under the presidency of the Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, sending military «advisers» and arms to the Bolivian junta, it became only a matter of time, a few months, before the struggle was defeated and the guerrillas wiped out.

A true picture of Che is not that of the flamboyant posters, nor the hagiography of both Hollywood and Stalinism, but of a man dedicated to the poor internationally, trying with a small band of guerrillas to spark a revolutionary uprising of peasants and workers to create a better life for themselves, and meeting frustration after frustration, with only some small successes apart from the tremendous victory of the Cuban revolution itself.

In America, we portray heroes as all-knowing exceptions to the rule, thereby reinforcing our dependence upon the myth of the heroic individual and maintaining the impotence of the multitude. In our culture, we are taught that change takes place not through mass-action but through a single moralistic or righteous figure (think of how Dr. King or Malcolm X is portrayed today) who is able to make the system respond positively to the importance of his or her argument.

We should hold no such illusions. The Bolivian peasants who are still alive and living in the areas in which Che and his guerrilla band were operating were clearly touched by the brush of history. In the film «Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diary,» the filmmakers found that many of them were still alive, and interviewed them. They movingly recounted that one world-historic experience of their lives, their encounter with Che. Some remembered his kindness towards them. One peasant woman was an apolitical young teenager in 1967 and had risked her life to bring Che food and look after him in his last hours. Now around 50 years old, she remembers Che’s kindness towards her, and how this profoundly affected her life. Although no one in the film says it in so many words, clearly Che was something of a Christ figure to them, even to those who betrayed him or fired on him. It’s quite a comment on our present condition that human touches that were once quite ordinary seem, in today’s world, exceptional.

As Che put it, in his most famous quote: «At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.»

But back in the Autumn of 1967, Che was thrown increasingly into doubt. He began to question his strategy of the «foco» for Bolivia, which in Cuba had worked so effectively. The guerrillas were faced with the failure of the peasants to join the revolt, contrary to the guerrillas’ expectations. This had a huge demoralizing effect on the guerrilla army, as well as upon Che’s state of mind.

Che was captured, tortured and murdered in Bolivia under the direction of the CIA on October 9, 1967. Thirty-six years have passed. Still Che is remembered, not as some ancient and barely remembered patriarch, but as one who exemplifying the spirit of the times. He inspired so many ordinary people to commit themselves to their vision of a different world, even in the face of bureaucratic intransigence and the enormous power of US imperialism, against all odds.

That such a vision seems extraordinary today, that acting out of one’s love for humanity is almost inconceivable in the US today only makes yesterday’s commonplace behavior seem beyond comprehension. And yet, people act in such ways ALL THE TIME. We just don’t see it, or report it. It’s what makes us human in an era of robots. It’s what enabled the new Bolivian revolution to actually win state power, much to the chagrin of the US government. That, too, is part of Che’s legacy.

And, hopefully, its what inspires us to continue «risking ridicule,» regardless of where it comes from, to make our radical efforts today successful. For many of us, it’s not only the end result that matters, it’s the way we live, living a meaningful life.


1. John Gerassi, «Venceremos! The Speeches and Writings of Che Guevara,» Introduction, Simon and Schuster, p. 14.

2. ibid. This is an edited and abbreviated extract from a 1960 speech by Che Guevara, «On Revolutionary Medicine.» The entire speech can be found in the Gerassi book, pp 112-119.

* Mitchel Cohen is co-editor of «Green Politix,» the national newspaper of the Greens/Green Party USA. Article published on COUNTERPUNCH, January 3-5 2004.

Che: A very modern Icon

By George Galloway.

Che Guevara represents what today’s politicians conspicuously lack: idealism, self-sacrifice and a deep connection with young people. That’s why his image is an enduring inspiration, writes George Galloway.

On a visit to Cuba last month, I stayed in an apartment complex the floor above Camilo Guevara, Ernesto «Che» Guevara’s eldest son, and his children. Now that’s a tough number – being the son of a legend for whom a single name suffices, an icon who is more ubiquitous now than he was at the time of his death in 1967. Camilo maintains, however, that distinctive revolutionary rectitude, working as a humble civil servant with no privileges of any kind.

I looked out over the old harbour of Havana, where Alberto Korda took his famed portrait of Che, currently the subject of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was taken on 4 March 1960 at a funeral service and not published until seven years later, after Guevara’s death. I mulled over how, since that time, the photograph – like the posters and murals derived from it – has become associated with every site of struggle from Soweto to the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organisation.

That image continues to be one of the most iconic in contemporary culture, with repro- ductions available in the most surprising places. Che T-shirts are on sale at the cut-price clothing chain Primark. Smirnoff tried to use it for a vodka promotion a few years ago, prompting successful legal action by Korda. Though he had received no royalties for the image, he took umbrage at that particular distillation of the Che legacy. «As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died,» he said, «I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world. But I am categorically against the exploitation of Che’s image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che.»

Korda (real name Alberto Diaz Guttierez) was a fashion photographer when first assigned to the Cuban paper ‘Revolucion’ – and some argue that history has transformed Che’s revolutionary image into just another fashion accessory. It is tempting for those of us on the left to feel uncomfortable with his popular appeal; rather like music fans who, when their favourite underground band hits the big time, moan that they’ve «gone commercial» and sagely tell new enthusiasts that the latest gigs aren’t a patch on «the night they played the Crooked Billet in Scunthorpe».

I don’t see it that way. If only 10 per cent of the people who wear the image of this incredibly handsome figure know what he stood for, that is still many millions. Overwhelmingly, they are also young people, with their hearts set on making the world a better place. Indeed, in my experience, many more than 10 per cent have a very good idea of what he stood for. It is an excellent example of the younger generation confounding the low expectations of them.

The image is given further contemporary relevance by the renaissance of the radical left across Latin America. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is fast becoming a touchstone for anti-war activists and campaigners against corporate globalisation. The «axis of good» conference Chavez will attend in Havana in September, alongside Fidel Castro and Evo Morales, is already creating a similar energy to the great gatherings of the Non-Aligned Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

If Che’s image seems to be everywhere, that is because what he fought and died for is more fashionable than ever. It’s hard to imagine a more potent symbol of internationalism. He was born in Argentina of mixed Spanish and Irish descent; a motorcycle journey the length of South America awakened him to the injustice of US domination in the hemisphere, and to the suffering colonialism brought to its original inhabitants.

The CIA-sponsored overthrow of the popular government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 deepened Che’s commitment to revolutionary change. He was, in Fidel’s estimation, the more accomplished revolutionary thinker of the two when they met in Mexico.

«There are no frontiers in this struggle to the death,» Che told an international conference in 1965. «We cannot remain indifferent in the face of what occurs in any part of the world. A victory for any country against imperialism is our victory, just as any country’s defeat is our defeat.» In a refutation of every right-wing stereotype, he added that, «the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.»

But it is as a man of deeds rather than words that his reputation has been secured. He distinguished himself and was appointed Comandante in the rebel war of liberation that was led by Fidel and which brought victory on New Year’s Day 1959. The story of how Che became Cuba’s finance minister might be apocryphal, but it says everything about his willingness to take on the most demanding tasks, and the sheer optimism of the will he embodied. Legend has it that Fidel once asked his comrades who among them was an economista (economist). Che stuck his hand up, believing he had been asked who was a comunista (communist).

In his life, he set a model of the self-sacrifice that he held central to the creation of a new society, outlined in his letter «Man and Socialism in Cuba» (1965). The same year, he made his last appearance on an international stage, having already represented the Cuban revolution at the United Nations and across the developing world. He could have remained a revered leader of the revolution, facing the arduous task of constructing a society in the face of US aggression.

Che chose instead to return to the perils of guerrilla life. He travelled to the Congo, aiming to trigger a Cuban-style revolution that would simultaneously ease the island’s isolation and assist the wave of change breaking across Africa. Despite the bitter and near-fatal experience of the Congo campaign, he proceeded to the mountains of Bolivia, where the forces of the puppet government and its CIA paymasters cut short his life on 9 October 1967. He was 39. His legend continued to grow in the wake of the epoch-defining, global revolt of the following year.

And that, surely, explains why there is a resurgence of interest in, and affection for, Che. It is a manifestation of this renewed stirring of revolt – another generation standing up to imperialist savagery, articulating fresh hopes for a world of equality and justice. I hope these young people find in him what I do – that rarest of things: an inexhaustible source of inspiration, someone who did not simply theorise social change, but actually brought it about.

Not only that, but Che set a benchmark which the vast majority of contemporary politicians fail to reach. He communicated his ideas with verve and imagination to a mass audience, and particularly to young people.

«If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine,» he said. He is a comrade to so many because so many today are burning with indignation.

*George Galloway is a british politician and a Member of the British Parliament from 1987 to 2010. Since 2004 he is a member of the Socialist political party “Respect” in the United Kingdom.

Article published on «New Statesman», 12 June 2006.

Ποδερόσα (La Poderosa II)

Η θρυλική «Ποδερόσα ΙΙ» κατά τη διάρκεια του ταξιδιού στη Νότια Αμερική. Ο Τσε Γκεβάρα είναι στο κέντρο, τρίτος από δεξιά.

Με το όνομα Ποδερόσα ΙΙ («Η Δυνατή») είναι γνωστή η μηχανή μάρκας Νόρτον (Norton 500cc) με την οποία ο Ερνέστο Γκεβάρα και ο Αλμπέρτο Γκρανάδο διέσχισαν τη Νότιο Αμερική κατά το διάσημο ταξίδι τους («Ημερολόγια Μοτοσυκλέτας») το 1951. Η μηχανή ήταν ιδιοκτησίας του Αλμπέρτο Γκρανάδο, απόφοιτου βιοχημικής. Κατά τη διάρκεια του ταξιδιού και έπειτα από αρκετά μικροατυχήματα, λίγο έξω απ’ το Σαντιάγκο της Χιλής, το καλώδιο που συνέδεε το μπροστινό φρένο της Ποδερόσα έσπασε με αποτέλεσμα να δημιουργηθεί μη αναστρέψιμος ζημιά στη μηχανή. Στο Σαντιάγκο ο Γκρανάδο αναγκάστηκε να αφήσει το αγαπημένο του όχημα σε ένα συνεργείο, καθώς οι δύο φίλοι έπρεπε να συνεχίσουν το ταξίδι τους.

Εξήντα χρόνια μετά τη θρυλική διαδρομή των Ημερολογίων Μοτοσυκλέτας, η Ποδερόσα η εξαρτήματα της δεν είναι δυνατό να βρεθούν. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, στο μουσείο του Τσε Γκεβάρα στην Κόρδοβα της Αργεντινής, εκτίθεται μιά ρέπλικα του μοντέλου της διάσημης μηχανής.

Γράμματα στην Αλέϊδα Μαρτς

Παρακάτω παρατίθενται γράμματα και επιστολές που απέστειλε ο Τσε στην σύζυγο του Αλέϊδα Γκεβάρα-Μαρτς από διάφορα μέρη του εξωτερικού. Ως επι το πλείστον αναφέρονται στην περίοδο 1965-1966. Οι επιστολές  ανήκουν στο προσωπικό αρχείο της Αλέϊδα Μαρτς και μέρος αυτών δημοσιεύθηκαν στο πρόσφατο βιβλίο της με τίτλο «Αναπόληση: Η ζωή μου με τον Τσε» (2007).


Αγαπημένη μου,

Σήμερα σου γράφω απ’ τη Χιροσίμα, την πόλη της βόμβας. Στο βάθρο που βλέπεις υπάρχουν τα ονόματα εβδομήντα οκτώ χιλιάδων νεκρών. Το σύνολο υπολογίζεται σε εκατόν ογδόντα χιλιάδες. Τέτοιες επισκέψεις κάνουν καλό, σε ωθούν να παλέψεις ακόμη πιό αποφασιστικά γιά την ειρήνη.

Σε φιλώ,




Σου στέλνω έναν πιστό συζυγικό εναγκαλισμό απ’το τελευταίο επίσημο σταθμό αυτού του ταξιδιού. Σκόπευα να σου μείνω πιστός με τη σκέψη αλλά εδώ πέρα κυκλοφορούν κάτι Μαροκινές που τα θέλουν.



ΠΑΡΙΣΙ, Ιανουάριος 1965

Πέρα από κάθε αμφιβολία, έχω αρχίσε να γερνάω. Είμαι όλο και πιο ερωτευμένος μαζί σου και μου λείπει ολοένα και πιο πολύ το σπίτι, τα παιδιά, όλος αυτός ο μικρός κόσμος που περισσότερο τον μαντεύω παρά τον ζω. Σε τούτη την προχωρημένη ηλικία που κουβαλάω, αυτό ειναι πολύ επικίνδυνο’ εσύ μου είσαι αναγκαία κι εγώ είμαι μονάχα μιά συνήθεια…..




Απ’ αυτές τις δύο πόρτες το έσκασε η μοναξιά και πήγα να τη βρω στο πράσινο νησί της. Δεν ξέρω αν θα μπορέσουμε μιά μέρα να σταθούμε πιασμένοι χέρι-χέρι, με τα παιδιά μας ένα γύρω, και να θαυμάσουμε η θέα, ανεβασμένοι σε κάποιο χνάρι του παρελθόντος. Αν δεν το καταφέρουμε, ονειρεύομαι να το πετύχετε εσείς.

Σας φιλώ με σεβασμό το χέρι.

Ο αντρούλης σας.


Αγαπημένη μου,

Εκμεταλλεύομαι τα λιγοστά ελεύθερα λεπτά μου εν μέσω αυτής της ταραγμένης διαδρομής στο Στάλινγκραντ, γιά να σου στείλω αυτήν την κάρτα. Πράγματι, εδώ βρίσκεται μπροστά σε μία από τις μεγαλύτερες εποποιίες της ανθρώπινης ιστορίας. Σε δύο μέρες φεύγω γιά την Κίνα.





Έμαθα τα νέα σε τούτη την πόλη, που το όνομα της μπορείς να διαβάσεις κάτω από αυτό το καινούργιο απόκτημα. Έχεις βαλθεί να με κάνεις πάντα ρεζίλι. Εν πάση περιπτώσει, στέλνω ένα φιλί στην καθεμιά σας και να θυμάσαι: ότι έγινε έγινε.





Αγαπημένη μου,

Καθώς ονειρευόμουν μες στο Λούβρο, κρατώντας σε απ’ το χέρι, σε είδα να παριστάνεσαι σε μια ζωγραφιά. Στρουμπουλή, σοβαρή, μ’ένα χαμόγελο λιγάκι θλιμμένο (ίσως επειδή κανένας δε σ’αγαπάει) να περιμένεις τον μακρινό αγαπημένο (να είναι άραγε αυτός που νομίζω ή κάποιος άλλος;). Κι’ άφησα το χέρι σου για να σε δω καλύτερα και να μαντέψω τι κρύβεται στην καρπερή σου μήτρα. Αγόρι, σωστά;

Ένα φιλί και μια μεγάλη αγκαλιά γιά όλους και ιδιαίτερα για σένα, απ’ τον

Στρατάρχη Του



Αγαπημένη μου,

Είναι η τελευταία κάρτα εδώ και πολύ καιρό, ίσως. Σε σκέφτομαι, όπως σκέφτομαι και τα μικρά κεφτεδάκια που έχω αφήσει πίσω. Αυτή η δουλειά σου αφήνει τελικά πολύ λίγο χρόνο γιά σκέψεις.

Δε σου στέλνω το δαχτυλίδι, γιατί σκέφτηκα πως δεν ήταν σωστό να ξοδέψω χρήματα γιά κάτι τέτοιο, τώρα που τόσο τα έχουμε ανάγκη. Θα σου στείλω κάτι απ’ τη χώρα του προορισμού μας. Γιά την ώρα σου στέλνω δύο παθιασμένα φιλιά, ικανά να λιώσουν την κρύα σου καρδιά. Μοίρασε το ένα σε μικρότερα κομμάτια και δώσ’ το στα παιδιά. Δώσε άλλα πιό μετρημένα φιλιά στα πεθερικά μου και στους υπόλοιπους του σογιού. Στους νιόπαντρους μια αγκαλιά και την πρόταση μου τον πρωτότοκο να τον πουν Ραμόν.

Τις νύχτες των τροπικών, θα ξαναπιάσω την παλιά μου τέχνη, ή μάλλον κακοτεχνία, του ποιητή (κυρίως στον τομέα της σκέψης παρά σ’εκείνον της σύνθεσης), κι εσύ θα είσαι η μόνη πρωταγωνίστρια. Μη σταματάς να διαβάζεις. Να δουλέψεις αρκετά και να με θυμάσαι πότε πότε.

Ένα φιλί τελευταίο, παθιασμένο, δίχως ρητορείες, απ’ τον

Ραμόν σου



Μοναδική μου εσύ στον κόσμο, (Αυτό το δανείστηκα απ’ τον γερο-Χικμέτ.)

Τι μάγια έχεις κάνει στο φτωχό σαρκίο μου και δε με νοιάζουν πια οι αληθινές αγκαλιές, παρά ονειρεύομαι τις κοιλότητες όπου μ’ έβαζες να φωλιάζω, τη μυρωδιά και τα τραχιά, χωριάτικα χάδια σου;

Ετούτο εδώ είναι μια άλλη Σιέρρα Μαέστρα αλλά δίχως τη γεύση της δημιουργίας ή, ακόμη λιγότερο, της ικανοποίησης του να νιώθω τον τόπο δικό μου. Όλα κυλούν με αργούς ρυθμούς, λες κι’ ο πόλεμος είναι μια δουλειά που μπορούμε ν’αφήσουμε για μεθαύριο. Γιά την ώρα, ο φόβος σου μην τυχόν και με σκοτώσουν είναι τόσο αβάσιμος όσο οι ζήλιες σου παλιότερα.

Η δουλειά μου περιορίζεται σε μαθήματα γαλλικών κάμποσες ώρες τη μέρα, εκμάθηση σουαχίλι και ιατρική. Σε λίγες μέρες από τώρα θα ξεκινήσει μια σοβαρή δουλειά, αλλά μόνο για εκπαίδευση. Κάτι σαν το Μίνας νιελ Φρίο, όπως ήταν στον πόλεμο. Όχι όπως όταν το επισκεφτήκαμε μαζί.

Δώσε ένα προστατευτικό φιλί στα παιδιά (και στην Ιλδίτα). Βγάλτε μιά φωτογραφία όλοι μαζί και στείλ’ τη μου. Μιά που να μην είναι πολύ μεγάλη κι’ άλλη μιά μικρούλα. Μάθε γαλλικά, ασχολήσου περισσότερο μ’ αυτά παρά με τη νοσηλευτική, και να μ’αγαπάς.

Ένα μεγάλο φιλί, σαν κι αυτό που θα σου δώσω όταν ξαναβρεθούμε.




Μη με εκβιάζεις. Δεν μπορείς να έρθεις εδώ πέρα τώρα, αλλά ούτε και σε τρείς μήνες. Μέσα σ’ ένα χρόνο τα πράγματα θα είναι αλλιώς και θα δούμε τι θα γίνει. Πρέπει να αναλύσουμε σωστά τις περιστάσεις. Το σπουδαιότερο είναι όταν έρθεις να μην είσαι “η κυρία” αλλα η μαχήτρια, και πρέπει να προετοιμαστείς γι’ αυτό, μαθαίνοντας τουλάχιστον γαλλικά […]

Έτσι έχω περάσει ένα μεγάλο μέρος της ζωής μου – υποχρεωμένος να ανακόπτω τις στοργικές μου διαθέσεις εξαιτίας άλλων σκέψεων και στόχων κι’ ο κόσμος να πιστεύει πως έχει να κάνει μ’ ένα μηχανικό τέρας. Βοήθησε με τώρα, Αλέϊδα, να είσαι δυνατή και να μη μου θέτεις προβλήματα που δεν μπορούν να λυθούν. Όταν παντρευτήκαμε, ήξερες ποιός είμαι. Πράξε κι’ εσύ το δικό σου καθήκον κάνοντας πιο υποφερτό το δρόμο μου, που είναι μακρύς ακόμη. Να μ’αγαπάς, με πάθος αλλά και με κατανόηση. Ο δρόμος μου έχει ήδη χαρακτεί, κανένας δε θα με σταματήσει παρά μόνο ο θάνατος. Μη λυπάσαι τον εαυτό σου. Όρμησε στη ζωή και νίκησε την. Κάποια κομμάτια της διαδρομής θα τα διανύσουμε μαζί. Αυτό που κουβαλάω μέσα μου δεν είναι καμιά ανέμελη δίψα γιά περιπέτειες με ότι συνεπάγεται, κι’ εγώ το ξέρω. Εσύ θα έπρεπε να το μαντεύεις […]

Μόρφωσε τα παιδιά. Μην τα κακομάθεις, μην τα παραχαϊδεύεις και κυρίως τον Καμίλο. Μη σκέφτεσαι να τα αφήσεις, γιατί δεν είναι δίκαιο. Είναι κι’ αυτά κομμάτι μας.

Σε αγκαλιάζει, με μια αγκαλιά μεγάλη και γλυκιά,

ο Τάτου σου.


Αγάπη μου, ήρθε η ώρα να σου στείλω ένα αντίο με γεύση από κοιμητήριο (από φύλλα νεκρά, από κάτι τουλάχιστον μακρινό και παροπλισμένο). Θέλησα να το κάνω μ’ εκείνα τα αριθμητικά σημάδια που δεν φτάνουν στο περιθώριο και συνήθως τα ονομάζουν ποίηση, αλλά απέτυχα – έχω τόσες εξομολογήσεις γιά τ’ αυτιά σου που η λέξη γίνεται πια δεσμοφύλακας, κι ακόμη περισσότερο όσο αυτοί οι φευγαλέοι αλγόριθμοι αγαλλιάζουν στην παύση του ρυθμού μου. Δεν είμαι κατάλληλος για το ευγενές λειτούργημα της ποίησης. Κι όχι πως δεν έχω πράγματα γλυκά να πω. Να ήξερες μόνο πόσα απ’ αυτά στροβιλίζονται μέσα μου. Είναι όμως τόσο μακρύς ο δρόμος, τόσο περίπλοκο και στενό το κοχύλι που τα περικλείει, που βγαίνουν κουρασμένα απ’ το ταξίδι, κακόκεφα, συνεσταλμένα και τα πιο γλυκά απ’ όλα είναι τόσο εύθραυστα! Κομματιάζονται στο δρόμο κι απομένουν σκόρπιες δονήσεις και τίποτ’ άλλο […]

Μου λείπει η καθοδήγηση, θα έπρεπε να διαλυθώ για να καταφέρω επιτέλους να στο πω. Ας χρησιμοποιήσουμε τις λέξεις με το καθημερινό τους νόημα κι ας φωτογραφίσουμε τις στιγμές. […] Έτσι σ’αγαπώ, με την ανάμνηση του πικρού καφέ κάθε πρωί δίχως όνομα και με τη γεύση της καθαρής σάρκας στην κοιλότητα του γονάτου σου, μ’ ένα πούρο που η στάχτη του ισορροπεί και μια ασυνάρτητη γκρίνια προς υπεράσπιση του πάλλευκου μαξιλαριού […] Έτσι σ’αγαπώ, κοιτάζοντας τα παιδιά σαν μια σκάλα δίχως ιστορία (κι εκεί υποφέρω γιατί οι μεταμορφώσεις τους δε μου ανήκουν), με μια σουβλιά θλίψης στα πλευρά, πολυάσχολος, αποστεφόμενος τη σχόλη, κλεισμένος στο κοχύλι μου […]

Το τωρινό θα ‘ναι ένα πραγματικό αντίο – η λάσπη μ’ έχει γεράσει πέντε χρόνια, δε μένει πια παρά μόνο το τελευταίο άλμα, το οριστικό. Τελείωσαν πια τα τραγούδια των σειρήνων και οι μέσα μου μάχες, δένεται η κορδέλα για τον τελευταίο μου αγώνα δρόμου. Η ταχύτητα μου θα είναι τόση που κάθε κραυγή θα σβηστεί. Το παρελθόν τελείωσε. Είμαι το μέλλον που έρχεται.

Μη με φωνάξεις, δε θα σ΄ακούσω – μπορώ μονάχα να σε συλλογιέμαι τις ηλιόλουστες μέρες, κάτω απ’ το ανανεωμένο χάδι των πυροβολισμών […] Θα ρίξω ένα βλέμμα λοξό, σαν το σκυλί που στρέφεται γιά τελευταία φορά πριν πέσει να ξεκουραστεί, και θα σας αγγίξω με τη ματιά μου, τον καθένα ξεχωριστά και όλους μαζί.

Αν κάποια μέρα νιώσεις ένα βλέμμα να πέφτει πάνω σου με βία, μη στραφείς, μη σπάσεις τα μάγια, συνέχισε να πίνεις τον καφέ σου κι άσε με να σε ζήσω για πάντα μές στην αιώνια στιγμή.


2 Δεκεμβρίου 1966.

Μοναδική μου,

Εκμεταλλεύομαι το ταξίδι ενός φίλου για να σου στείλω ετούτες τις γραμμές. Θα μπορούσα φυσικά να στις στείλω με το ταχυδρομείο, αλλά μου φάνηκε πιό οικείος ο “μη επίσημος” δρόμος. Θα μπορούσα να σου πω ότι μου λείπεις τόσο που έχω χάσει τον ύπνο μου, αλλά ξέρω ότι δε θα με πίστευες, οπότε συγκρατούμαι. Είναι όμως κάποιες μέρες που η νοσταλγία ορμάει ασυγκράτητη και με κυριεύει. Τα Χριστούγεννα και την Πρωτοχρονιά, κυρίως, δεν ξέρεις πόσο μου έλλειψαν τα τελετουργικά σου δάκρυα, κάτω από τούτον τον ουρανό με τα καινούργια άστρα, που μου θύμιζε πόσο λίγο έχω χαρεί τη ζωή στον προσωπικό τομέα […]

Γιά τη ζωή μου εδώ δεν έχω να σου πω πολλά ενδιαφέροντα, η δουλειά μου αρέσει αλλά απαιτεί απομόνωση και μερικές φορές γίνεται κουραστική. Μελετάω, όποτε μου μένει χρόνος, και πότε πότε ονειρεύομαι. Παίζω σκάκι, δίχως αξιόλογους αντιπάλους, και περπατάω αρκετά. Αδυνατίζω, λίγο απ’ τη νοσταλγία και λίγο απ’ τη δουλειά. Δώσε ένα φιλί στα κεφτεδάκια, και σ’ όλους τους άλλους. Για σένα ένα φιλί έμπλεο αναστεναγμών και λοιπών θλιβερών, απ’ τον φτωχό και φαλακρό σου




Μοναδική μου εσύ στον κόσμο, λαθραία έβγαλα απ’ το αρμάρι του Χικμέτ ετούτον τον ερωτευμένο στίχο μόνο, γιά να σου δείξω το ακριβές μέγεθος της αγάπης μου.

Παρ’ όλα αυτά, στον πιό βαθύ λαβύρινθο του μελαγχολικού κοχυλιού σμίγουν και απωθούνται οι πόλοι του πνεύματος μου: εσύ και ΟΛΟΙ.

Οι Όλοι απαιτούν την αμέριστη αφοσίωση μου, μόνη η σκιά μου να σκοτεινιάζει το δρόμο! Κι όμως, δίχως να ξεγελάω τους νόμους του εξαϋλωμένου έρωτα σ’ έχω φυλαγμένη στον ταξιδιωτικό μου σάκο.

(Σε κουβαλάω στο σάκο μου του ακούρατου ταξιδιώτη σαν τον άρτον ημών τον επιούσιο.)

Πάω να οικοδομήσω τις ανοίξεις του αίματος και του γουδιού κι αφήνω, στο κενό της απουσίας μου, ετούτο το φιλί το δίχως γνωστή διεύθυνση. Δε μου έχουν ανακοινώσει, όμως, την κρατημένη θέση στη θριαμβευτική παρέλαση της νίκης και το μονοπάτι που βγάζει στο δρόμο μου είναι φωτοστεφανωμένο από δυσοίωνες σκιές.

Αν προορίζουν γιά μένα τον σκοτεινό θώκο των τσιμέντων, φύλαξε τον στο ομιχλώδες αρχείο των αναμνήσεων – κατέφυγε σ’αυτόν τις νύχτες των δακρύων και των ονείρων …

Αντίο, μοναδική μου, μην τρέμεις μπροστά στην πείνα των λύκων ούτε στις παγωμένες στέπες της απουσίας, σ’ έχω στο μέρος της καρδιάς και θα πορευτούμε μαζί ώσπου ο δρόμος να σβηστεί …