...excerpts from Nota de Viaje, by Ernesto Guevara, South America, 1951-52
Self-portrait, by Ernesto Guevara, Argentina, 1951.
If everybody already knows that this is the enemy, and if our starting point is knowing that whoever struggles against the enemy has something in common with us, then comes the second part. What are our goals here? What do we want? Do we want the people's happiness or not? Are we struggling for absolute economic liberation or not? Are we or are we not struggling to be a free country among free countries, without belonging to any military bloc, without having to consult any embassy of any great power on earth about any domestic or foreign decision we make? Are we thinking of redistributing the wealth of those who have too much, to give to those who have nothing? Are we thinking here of doing creative work, a dynamic daily source of all our happiness?
"The best form of saying is doing." - Jose Marti
The future belongs to the people, and gradually, or in one strike, they will take power, here and in every country.
The terrible thing is the people need to be educated, and this they cannot do before taking power, only after. They can only learn at the cost of their own mistakes, which will be very serious and will cost many innocent lives. Or perhaps not, maybe those lives will not have been innocent because they will have committed the huge sin against nature; meaning, a lack of ability to adapt. All of them, those unable to adapt - you and i, for example - will die cursing the power they helped, through great sacrifice, to create. Revolution is impersonal; it will take their lives, even utilizing their memory as an example or as an instrument for domesticating the youth who follow them. My sin is greater because I, more astute and with greater experience, call it what you like, will die knowing that my sacrifice stems only from an inflexibility symbolizing our rotten civilization, which is crumbling. I also know - and this won't alter the course of history or your personal view of me - that you will die with a clenched fist and a tense jaw, the epitome of hatred and struggle, because you are not a symbol (some inanimate example) but a genuine member of the society to be destroyed; the spirit of the beehive speaks through your mouth and motivates your actions. You are as useful as I am, but you are not aware of how useful your contribution is to the society that sacrifices you.
- words shared with Guevara by European traveler