At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
– Ernesto Che Guevara
40 years? Really? I am amazed at how the time flies. I was sitting with friends when the news came. I felt the breath go out of me when I heard. I was 16 years old, and the fall was coming on, while it was spring in Bolivia…
There had been much talk over the summer about the effort going on by Che and his band. Friends that I had who were part of what would later become the Venceremos Brigade were preparing to go to Cuba for the harvest. I had been invited to go earlier in the year with another volunteer group with other goals.
‘CIA’ everyone agreed they had hunted him down. Whether true or not, it was a fact that afternoon.
We all sat back, thinking our thoughts. We were silent for a very long time. It was not the best of days. Finally, I rolled a number, went out and watched the sun set over the Pacific sitting on the rocks overlooking the surf. The night descended in all its beauty, and the stars came out overhead.
Here is to you Ernesto, may your writings and your spirit survive.
by Raúl Rivero
What are these gentlemen looking for
in my house?
What is this officer doing
reading the sheet of paper
on which I’ve written
the words “ambition,” “lightness,” and “brittle”?
What hint of conspiracy
speaks to him from the photo without a dedication
of my father in a guayabera (black tie)
in the fields of the National Capitol?
How does he interpret my certificates of divorce?
Where will his techniques of harassment lead him
when he reads the ten-line poems
and discovers the war wounds
of my great-grandfather?
are examining the texts and drawings of my daughters,
and are infiltrating themselves into my emotional networks
and want to know where little Andrea sleeps
and what does her asthma have to do
with my carpets.
They want the code of a message from Zucu
in the upper part
of a cryptic text (here a light triumphal smile
of the comrade):
“Castles with music box. I won’t let the boy
hang out with the boogeyman. Jennie.”
A specialist in aporia came,
a literary critic with the rank of interim corporal
who examined at the point of a gun
the hills of poetry books.
in my house
with a search order,
a clean operation,
a full victory
for the vanguard of the proletariat
who confiscated my Consul typewriter,
one hundred forty-two blank pages
and a sad and personal heap of papers
the most perishable of the perishable
from this summer.
Quotes from Ernesto….
We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.- Ernesto Che Guevara
Hasta la victoria siempè! (Until victory always — Struggle until victory forever!) – Ernesto Che Guevara
If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine. – Ernesto Che Guevara
Words that do not match deeds are unimportant. – Ernesto Che Guevara
Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel! – Ernesto Che Guevara
I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill a man. – Ernesto Che Guevara (just before he was shot and murdered)
by Pablo Neruda
An odor has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the coconut palms the graves are full
of ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.
The delicate dictator is talking
with top hats, gold braid, and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the blue mouths freshly buried.
The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
Hatred has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ghastly water of the swamp,
with a snout full of ooze and silence