Talk:Che Guevara

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Che Guevara page.


If you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote from this list please move it to the project page. --Antiquary 20:00, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

  • La revolución no se lleva en los labios para vivir de ella, se lleva en el corazón para morir por ella.
    • The revolution is not carried in the lips to live on, it is carried in the heart for die for.
    • Variant translation: The revolution lives on not in words to live for it, but in one's heart to die for it.
  • No se vive celebrando victorias, sino superando derrotas.
    • Live your life not celebrating victories, but overcoming defeats.
  • El conocimiento nos hace responsables.
    • Knowledge makes us accountable.
  • I was born in Argentina; this is no secret for anyone. I am Cuban as well as Argentinean and, if the highly illustrated lordships of Latin America may not feel offended, I feel such a patriotism for Latin America, for any country in Latin America, that in the moment it might be necessary, I would be ready to yield my life for the liberation of any Latin American nation, without asking anybody anything, without demanding anything, without exploiting anyone.

--This is a translation from a speech in Spanish available on YouTube here: I do not trust my transcription of Spanish, but the YouTube page offers this version (starting at what is translated as " I feel such patritotism for Latin America . . . ."): "Me siento tan patriota de Latinoamérica, de cualquier país de Latinoamérica, como el que más y, en el momento en que fuera necesario, estaría dispuesto a entregar mi vida por la liberación de cualquiera de los países de Latinoamérica, sin pedirle nada a nadie, sin exigir nada, sin explotar a nadie." Ernesto Che Guevara. The quote may also be found on the Spanish Wikiquote page: This is my first time here, but I will attempt to add this to the main page. paulrfrank July 4, 2015

  • No enemy, no forces should be underestimated — for there are no longer any isolated nations. As established by the second declaration in Havana, no nation in Latin America is weak, for it belongs to a family of 200 million brothers who all live in the same poverty and all have the same feelings. They all have the same enemy, they all dream of a better life and they count on the solidarity of all righteous people. This elegy of ours will be written by starving indians, by landless peasants, by exploited workers, by the progressive masses, by honest and brilliant intellectuals of which there are so many in Latin America.

--The quotation above comes from a speech by Ché. I don't know the date, but he was filmed and recorded delivering it. This is the English subtitle for the speech used in the film "Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara?" There is an extract of this speech here: --Rivergod 10:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Under the discredited flag of the United Nations, dozens of countries under the military leadership of the United States participated in this war with the massive intervention of U.S. soldiers and the use, as cannon fodder, of the South Korean population that was enrolled.
  • Words that do not match deeds are unimportant.
  • While envisaging the destruction of imperialism, it is necessary to identify its head, which is no other than the United States of America.

Confirm quote?[edit]

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate." As quoted in The Cuban Revolution : Years of Promise (2005) by Teo A. Babun and Victor Andres Triay, p. 57

This quote is completely out of character, it goes against everything Guevara ever said. Even compare is with other quotes on this page. Please could someone either confirm it of delete it. Thanks.

The quote doesn't appear in any of the major biographies, none of the books by Che, none of his speeches, etc. It doesn't even show up in print until 2005 in 3 attack books of Guevara - who all then cite one another with no original source for the quotes origin. Thus I removed it until some original sourcing can be found. RedThoreau 08:53, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I have restored the quote to the page, creating a "Disputed" section, and stating some of the reasons why there are legitimate questions about the authenticity of this remark:

  • To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.
    • As quoted in The Cuban Revolution : Years of Promise (2005) by Teo A. Babun and Victor Andres Triay, p. 57, without citation of sources; neither original sources nor published occurrences of this statement prior to 2005 have been located.

I have always recommended that such disputed, or in some cases clearly bogus quotes be maintained on the pages, with information regarding them, as a means of contending with or refuting unwarranted claims about them. ~ Kalki 10:40, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Che Guevara's racist remarks[edit]

The following quotes in which Che Guevara is expressing racist thoughts should be included. They are all taken from his own biography; The Motorcycle Diaries:

"The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese."

"The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations."

"The episode upset us a little because the poor man, apart from being homosexual and a first-rate bore, had been very nice to us, giving us 10 soles each, bringing our total to 479 for me and 163 1/2 to Alberto."

"The first person we hit on was the mayor, someone called Cohen; we had heard a lot about him, that he was Jewish as far as money was concerned but a good sort."

--BobbyGalt 23:29, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

I actually find nothing all that notable about these quotes; though they may be legitimate, I myself have no interest in adding them to the article, and perceiving them to have relatively little significance as quoted, might have some objection to them being added without significant context — though I have restored this comment, after someone removed it as mere trolling — I consider it a valid suggestion — but not one I agree with. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 05:04, 29 May 2011 (UTC),
There are an array of problems with BobbyGalt's original suggestion and implication ... (since this issue has come up before on the main Wikipedia article, I am going to reuse parts from those discussions)
(1)   The last two comments are not even "racist" – which shows that the original poster (this was his first and only edit ever to Wikiquote) is just copying and pasting something he obviously found on a blog etc. As for the "Jewish" comment, biographer Jon Lee Anderson on pg 33-34 of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life points out how the young Guevara belonged to an "anti-fascist" cell during WWII with his Jewish friend Raul Melivosky and that Ernesto was the only student to stand up to a "notoriously pro-Nazi history professor".
(2)   As for the first two comments, they are actually part of an incomplete passage (out of an 150 pg diary) that is not only taken out of its textual context – but its historical context with its implication that this is a view that Guevara held throughout his life. In fact biographer Jon Lee Anderson on pg 92 of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life addresses this passage and explains how his views evolved in the preceding months following this July 17, 1952 diary passage which Guevara wrote as a 24 year old. According to Anderson, Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado had just arrived in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, which at this time was "swollen with migrants" as a result of the nation’s oil boom. As a result the hillsides were draped with "squalid worker slums" comprised of a mostly Afro-Hispanic (black) population. Anderson goes on to state how Guevara up to that point, except for a few brief instances in his life, had never "been around black people" (which were a rarity in his native Argentina) especially for someone of Che’s economic & social class. On this occasion Guevara after meandering through a local "barrio" (slum) made a written "observation" that Anderson states was "reflective" of the "arrogance and condescension" of a "stereotypical white Argentinean" (especially in 1952). The full diary passage that Anderson includes is as follows:
"The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have conserved their racial purity by a lack of affinity with washing, have seen their patch invaded by a different kind of slave: The Portuguese. These two races now share a common experience, fraught with bickering and squabbling. Discrimination, and poverty unite them in a daily battle for survival but their different attitudes to life separate them completely: the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead, even independently, of his own individual aspirations."
(3)   Of importance however, Anderson notes two pages later [pg 94] how after visiting the U.S. for a brief time (30 days in Miami), directly after he made this observation, Guevara complained to friends about "white discrimination against blacks" that he had witnessed.
(4)   This coincides with the end of Guevara’s journey 3 months later (after the "indolent" remarks), when Guevara then states that he "is not the man he once was" and declares himself a transformed individual.
(5)   As for whether this remark makes Che racist, what we do know from his later life is that, (a) Che pushed for racially integrating the schools in Cuba, years before they were racially integrated in the Southern United States. (b) Che's friend and personal bodyguard shown here (who accompanied him at all times after 1959) was Harry "Pombo" Villegas, who was Afro-Cuban (black). Pombo accompanied Che to the Congo and to Bolivia, where he survived and now lives in Cuba. Of note, Pombo speaks positively of Guevara to this day shown here. (c) When Che spoke before the U.N. in 1964, he spoke out in favor of black musician Paul Robeson, in support of slain black leader Patrice Lumumba (who he heralded as one of his heroes), against white segregation in the Southern U.S., and against the white South African apartheid regime. (d) When Guevara ventured to the Congo, he fought with a Cuban force of 100 Afro-Cubans (blacks) shown here including those black Congolese fighters who he fought alongside against a force comprised partly of white South African mercenaries. This resembled the fight in Cuba, where Che's units were also made up of mostly mulattos and blacks. (e) Later Guevara offered assistance to fight alongside the (black) FRELIMO in Mozambique shown here & here, for their independence from the Portuguese. (f) Per this --> BBC article we have the recent remarks by Che's black Swahili interpreter in the Congo (Dr. Freddy Ilanga) that the later Guevara "showed the same respect to black people as he did to whites." (g) Lastly, in August 1961 (9 years after his "indolent" remark), Guevara attacked the U.S. for "discrimination against blacks, and outrages by the Ku Klux Klan", which matched his declarations in 1964 before the United Nations (12 years after his "indolent" remark), where Guevara denounced the United States policy towards their black population, stating:
"Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?"
Now despite all of these issues, could Che have still been racist against blacks or secretly found them "indolent?" I guess so, but these actions (as his biographers Anderson, Castaneda and Taibo note) especially in the 1960’s do not resemble a man with racist attitudes towards black people. Most biographers, claim that this unfortunate early "observation" by Guevara, represented his opinion as a young 24 year old venturing out amongst other races for the first time, and do not represent the man whom the world would later know as Che.
(6)   Now is it worthy of inclusion in this Wikiquote article? I don’t believe so and agree with Kalki. Redthoreau 08:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
If Che was anti-semite or homophobic, its debatable. But acording to solid sources, he did had racial sentiments.

"He (Che Guevara) despised blacks... He always was in conflict with Juan Almeida Bosque, who he used to call el negrito..." "...then, he despised indians, he used to said -the illiterate indians of mexico-" (Miguel Sanchez "el coreano" - Che Guevara, el falso heroe Documentary)

"...They said that because he (Che Guevara) called thing for their names, and he used to said negro with no doubt, negro for luck o misfortune, but negro and not of color, of what color?" (Dariel Alarcon - Interview)

If the wikiquote include racist quotes of Abraham Lincon, why not about Che Guevara? -- 16:35, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Restoration of a few quotes[edit]

Several quotes were recently removed, originally with the rationale that there should not be two quotes by the same person — I rejected that rationale and restored them, after which they have were again removed with the summary statement that even without such a rule, they should be removed because "these say similar things to the ones present." I do not accept that as an entirely valid reason either, but list the quotes I am once again restoring here — along with other statements by the authors which were retained by the removal.

  • Che is a figure who can constantly be examined and re-examined. To the younger, post-cold-war generation of Latin Americans, Che stands up as the perennial Icarus, a self-immolating figure who represents the romantic tragedy of youth. Their Che is not just a potent figure of protest, but the idealistic, questioning kid who exists in every society and every time.
These remarks are significantly different than: I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed "an innocent". Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath: desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder.
This is significantly different than Castro's statement: "Why did they think that by killing him, he would cease to exist as a fighter? ... Today he is in every place, wherever there is a just cause to defend."
I see no strong reason to remove this though I acknowledge that part of this one is somewhat similar in theme to: "What I appreciated most was his honesty — and his ability to transform negative things into positive things. ... he was not compromising. It wasn't easy unless you shared his vision and believed in it."
  • We feel sick about this grand show that goes on every year on the anniversary of his death. Rather than honour a man who came to invade the country, we should honour the armed forces, the soldiers who defended the country.
This is significantly more extensive criticism than : The myth of the holy Che must finally be destroyed.
  • Che Guevara executed dozens and dozens of people who never once stood trial and were never declared guilty … In his own words, he said the following: "At the smallest of doubt we must execute." And that's what he did at the Sierra Maestra and the prison of Las Cabanas.
    • Armando Valladares, in "‘Che’ spurs debate, Del Toro walkout" in The Washington Times (27 January 2009)
This is significantly more extensive and notable criticism than: He was a man full of hatred.

I have restored the quotes in question, and do not see any strong reason to remove any of them, and the only one I can agree could be removed as perhaps repetitive is "He always did what he said he was going to do, That's why he is still timely." ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 11:00, 29 May 2011 (UTC)