Apostilla sobre el Che / Oswaldo Barreto

Annotation About Che

In the text published by Tal Cual about my conversations with Che Guevara in Algeria (Monday, October 8th), surely because of limited space, no mention is made of a few of my observations that, so as to not implicate Che Guevara or the journalist who interviewed me in any way, I now consider convenient to publish here in my Pórtico column:

“President Chávez only incorporated the figure and myth of Che Guevara in his rhetoric a short time ago, just when he announced that he’d made the decision of imposing the construction of socialism on Venezuela. With all the scandalous liberties Chávez takes in order to use history, mythology or religions, it was an uphill climb for him to associate the image of Che with what has been his style of governance and the means he employs in order to achieve his political goals. Che’s behavior in his public life was not only identical to the one he led in his private life but it was also what he demanded of all the revolutionaries of the world and, above all, of the Cubans. He was markedly austere and discrete in everything, whether this was learned or natural, I don’t know: in his speech, his way of dressing or when he spoke of his past, his ideals or personal ambitions. He managed to portray himself as just another person, not as a chosen being and much less a Messiah or savior. That was one side of him, and on another, Che wasn’t looking to seduce anyone with material goods, nor with any other type of resources beyond reasons, ideas or moral principles. That refusal to manipulate individuals or peoples with material resources marked his life, not only in front of Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries, but in front of the entire world. One felt that Che was always looking to raise the consciousness of his interlocutors, not trying to turn them into accomplices, much less into dependents or servants of any type. His figure would not lend itself, then, to legitimize either ostentation or self-aggrandizement, just like it wouldn’t help legitimize the “revolutionary” use of petroleum resources for buying people’s consciousness. But instead, anyone who swears themselves to the purpose of changing the mentality and behavior of individuals or entire peoples can claim to use Che, who also believed, it seems in very good faith and with very noble reasons, that this was possible.”

{ Oswaldo Barreto, Tal Cual, 10 October 2007 }

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