Che, More Valid than Ever

Atilio Borón

Today, on the occasion of a new anniversary of the birth of “Che” it seems appropriate to reproduce some paragraphs of his famous “Message to the Peoples of the World through the Tricontinental” of April 1967. At that time Che was in Bolivia, and a few weeks before this document was published, he said in his diary:

“TUESDAY 7 MARCH. 4 months. People are more and more discouraged, seeing the end of provisions, but not the end of the road. Today we advanced between 4 and 5 kilometers along the river bank and at the end we came up with a promising trail. The food: three birds and the remaining ½ palmito, from morning, tin peeled, a third per head, for two days, then milk which is the farewell. For the Ñacahuasu, two to three days must be missing.”

Despite these difficult conditions, the heroic guerrilla was able to write some pages in which he described with extraordinary lucidity -and with astonishingly premonitory passages of what would later happen- the outstanding features of the international situation, the crucial role that the resistance of the Vietnamese people would play in its resolution in the face of the aggression of U.S. imperialism, and the tendencies that would later, with the natural variations imposed by the passage of time, continue to be present in Latin America.

I will therefore confine myself to reproducing his diagnosis of the situation prevailing in our countries in the mid-1960s. An radiography that is still essentially valid today, even though the course of more than half a century witnessed significant changes in the anatomy and functioning of contemporary capitalism and the appearance of new instruments and strategies of domination that could not have been foreseen in his time and that today, faithful to the open and receptive spirit of Che, we must incorporate into the analysis.

This is what Che wrote on that occasion:

“The fundamental field of imperialist exploitation encompasses three backward continents, America, Asia and Africa. Each country has its own characteristics, but so do the continents as a whole. America constitutes a more or less homogeneous whole and in almost all of its territory the North American monopoly capitals maintain an absolute primacy”.

(Commentary: This situation has been partially modified, especially in some economic activities, where North American companies face competition from European, Chinese, Japanese and South Korean capital.)

“The puppet governments at best, weak and fearful, cannot impose themselves on the commands of the Yankee master.”

(Commentary: In fact, the abject subordination of some current governments to White House mandates is even more pronounced than it was when Che was writing these pages. Cases from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peña Nieto’s Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and so on).

“The Americans have almost reached the pinnacle of their political and economic domination. Any change in the situation could become a setback in their primacy.”

(Comment: That was precisely what happened from 1999 when Chávez assumed the presidency of Venezuela and the “domino effect” was produced that gave rise to the cycle of progressive and left-wing governments that even today, although with diminished impetus, survive in some countries of the region, to which must be added the late incorporation of Mexico with the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. We cannot forget that the primacy of the United States was seriously weakened in Mar del Plata, in November 2005, when the FTAA was rejected. The empire’s counteroffensive was not long in coming, which is what we are currently experiencing).

“Its policy is to maintain the conquest of all Latin American countries. The line of action is reduced at the present time to the brutal use of force to prevent liberation movements of any kind”.

(Commentatry: Here we should add something that appeared long after Che’s assassination: the outbreak of the Fifth Generation War, and its new weapons: media terrorism, lawfare, fake news, neocortical manipulation of the will and conscience of citizens, political neuromarketing, metadata, social networks, the role of some NGOs and Pentecostal churches as tentacles of the empire, and so on. Lethal innovations that, of course, Guevara could not have foreseen).

“Under the slogan “we will not allow another Cuba” …

(Commentary: Today it would be said that we will not allow another Bolivarian Venezuela either).

… “the possibility of violent aggressions is concealed, such as the one perpetrated against Santo Domingo or, before that, the massacre in Panama,”

(Commentary: He refers to the U.S. invasion of Santo Domingo in 1965, with the purpose of preventing Juan Bosch from resuming the government of that country and to the massacre that U.S. troops perpetrated against Panamanian students who attempted to raise the Panama flag in the Panama Canal Zone, which occurred in January 1964).

“and the clear warning that U.S. troops are willing to intervene anywhere in America where the established order is altered, endangering their interests.”

(Commentary: This has been repeated tirelessly by the heads of the Southern Command, high officials of the Pentagon and the State Department, and the thugs who swarm the White House today when they reiterate that, in the case of Venezuela, “all options are on the table.)

“That policy has almost absolute impunity; the OAS is a comfortable mask, however discredited it may be”.

(Commentary: If something happened with the OAS it is that under the leadership of Luis Almagro its discredit increased extraordinarily, beyond what Che could have imagined).

“The UN is inefficient, ridiculous or tragic; the armies of all Americas are ready to intervene to crush their peoples”.

(Commentary: Not all of them anymore. The fiasco of the ” Lima Group “, very belligerent at the beginning, forced to revise that bravado and discard the military option to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela. But in the absence of military, the empire and its pawns appeal to the “paramilitaries,” to mercenaries, to “advisors,” and so on.)

The international of crime and treason has in fact been formed.

(Commentary: Note well what it says here: “international crime and treason”. The Condor Plan had not yet been born but Che had already foreseen its appearance. Some paradigmatic figures in the present moment synthesize that phrase of Che: Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto in a Mexico immersed in a bloodbath; and Iván Duque and the endless, daily massacre suffered by social fighters in Colombia. And as far as treason is concerned: Lenín Moreno, the supreme and corrupt traitor of the Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador).

“On the other hand, the autochthonous bourgeoisies have lost all their capacity to oppose imperialism and only form their caboose”.

(Commentary: Correct. It makes no sense to speak of “national bourgeoisies” in the age of the internationalization of capital and of reloaded imperialism characterized by what Fidel described as the global predominance of an “imperial bourgeoisie” that deploys its strategies of accumulation and domination across national borders. As Che correctly points out, these “autochthonous bourgeoisies” are classes that are national only in name. They are inserted in the periphery of the system and are totally subjected to the dynamics imposed by transnational big capital).

“There are no more changes to be made; either socialist revolution or a caricature of revolution.”

(Commentary: And where the socialist revolution for now, as Chávez said, proves to be unviable, the least that should be demanded of the popular and progressive forces is the constant radicalization of the transforming processes underway. Wherever it stops, without organizing or raising consciousness among the popular masses, it will be inevitable that the right will recover the government. That is why the “moderation” that in some cases those governments cultivated was the sure passport to their defeat. It requires, as Danton demanded in revolutionary France: “To defeat the enemies of the revolution, we need audacity, even more audacity, always audacity. And in Our America those enemies respond with a bloodbath not only when they are threatened by a revolution. A modest reformism is enough for their criminal tendencies to emerge with unprecedented violence).