The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was murdered 54 years ago yesterday. We commemorate his struggle with excerpts from "Message to the Tricontinental", sent from his jungle camp in Bolivia (1967)
What role shall we, the exploited people of the world, play?
The peoples of the three continents focus their attention on Vietnam and learn their lesson.
Since imperialists blackmail humanity by threatening it with war, the wise reaction is not to fear war.
The general tactics of the people should be to launch a constant and a firm attack in all fronts where the confrontation is taking place.
In those places where this meager peace we have has been violated, what is our duty?
To liberate ourselves at any price.
The struggle for liberation has not yet been undertaken by some countries of ancient Europe, sufficiently developed to realize the contradictions of capitalism, but weak to such a degree that they are unable either to follow imperialism or even to start on its own road.
Their contradictions will reach an explosive stage during the forthcoming years - but their problems and, consequently, their own solutions are different from those of our dependent and economically underdeveloped countries.
The fundamental field of imperialist exploitation comprises the three underdeveloped continents: America, Asia, and Africa.
Every country has also its own characteristics, but each continent, as a whole, also presents a certain unity.
Our America is integrated by a group of more or less homogeneous countries and in most parts of its territory U.S. monopolist capitals maintain an absolute supremacy.
Puppet governments or, in the best of cases, weak and fearful local rulers, are incapable of contradicting orders from their Yankee master.
The line of action, at the present time, is limited to the brutal use of force with the purpose of thwarting the liberation movements, no matter of what type they might happen to be.
The slogan "we will not allow another Cuba" hides the possibility of perpetrating aggressions without fear of reprisal,.
This policy enjoys an almost absolute impunity: the OAS is a suitable mask, in spite of its unpopularity; the inefficiency of the UN is ridiculous as well as tragic; the armies of all American countries are ready to intervene in order to smash their peoples.
The International of Crime and Treason has in fact been organized.
On the other hand, the autochthonous bourgeoisies have lost all their capacity to oppose imperialism — if they ever had it — and they have become the last card in the pack.
We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism — and it must be defeated in a world confrontation.
The strategic end of this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism.
Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capitals, raw materials, technicians and cheap labor, and to which they export new capitals — instruments of domination — arms and all kinds of articles; thus submerging us in an absolute dependance [sic].
The fundamental element of this strategic end shall be the real liberation of all people, a liberation that will be brought about through armed struggle in most cases.
It is probable, of course, that the last liberated country shall accomplish this without an armed struggle and the sufferings of a long and cruel war against the imperialists — this they might avoid.
But perhaps it will be impossible to avoid this struggle or its effects in a global conflagration; the suffering would be the same, or perhaps even greater.
It is absolutely just to avoid all useless sacrifices.
For us, the solution to this question is quite clear: the present moment may or may not be the proper one for starting the struggle, but we cannot harbor any illusions, and we have no right to do so, that freedom can be obtained without fighting.
And these battles shall not be mere street fights with stones against tear-gas bombs, or of pacific general strikes; neither shall it be the battle of a furious people destroying in two or three days the repressive scaffolds of the ruling oligarchies.
The struggle shall be long, harsh, and its front shall be in the guerrilla's refuge, in the cities, in the homes of the fighters - where the repressive forces shall go seeking easy victims among their families — in the massacred rural population, in the villages or cities destroyed by the bombardments of the enemy.
They are pushing us into this struggle; there is no alternative: we must prepare it and we must decide to undertake it.
The beginnings will not be easy; they shall be extremely difficult.
All the oligarchies' powers of repression, all their capacity for brutality and demagoguery will be placed at the service of their cause.
Our mission, in the first hour, shall be to survive; later, we shall follow the perennial example of the guerrilla, carrying out armed propaganda (in the Vietnamese sense, that is, the bullets of propaganda, of the battles won or lost — but fought — against the enemy).
The great lesson of the invincibility of the guerrillas taking root in the dispossessed masses.
Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine.
Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.
We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war.
And let us develop a true proletarian internationalism; with international proletarian armies; the flag under which we fight would be the sacred cause of redeeming humanity.
Each spilt drop of blood, in any country under whose flag one has not been born, is an experience passed on to those who survive, to be added later to the liberation struggle of his own country.
And each nation liberated is a phase won in the battle for the liberation of one's own country.
The time has come to settle our discrepancies and place everything at the service of our struggle.
We all know great controversies rend the world now fighting for freedom; no one can hide it.
We also know that they have reached such intensity and such bitterness that the possibility of dialogue and reconciliation seems extremely difficult, if not impossible.
However, the enemy is there; it strikes every day, and threatens us with new blows and these blows will unite us, today, tomorrow, or the day after.
Owing to the virulence and the intransigence with which each cause is defended, we, the dispossessed, cannot take sides for one form or the other of these discrepancies, even though sometimes we coincide with the contentions of one party or the other, or in a greater measure with those of one part more than with those of the other.
In time of war, the expression of current differences constitutes a weakness; but at this stage it is an illusion to attempt to settle them by means of words. History shall erode them or shall give them their true meaning.
Regarding our great strategic objective, the total destruction of imperialism by armed struggle, we should be uncompromising.
This means a long war.
And, once more we repeat it, a cruel war.
Vietnam is pointing it out with its endless lesson of heroism, its tragic and everyday lesson of struggle and death for the attainment of final victory.
There, the imperialist soldiers endure the discomforts [sic] of those who, used to enjoying the U.S. standard of living, have to live in a hostile land with the insecurity of being unable to move without being aware of walking on enemy territory: death to those who dare take a step out of their fortified encampment.
The permanent hostility of the entire population.
All this has internal repercussion in the United States; propitiates the resurgence of an element which is being minimized in spite of its vigor by all imperialist forces: class struggle even within its own territory.
How close we could look into a bright future should two, three or many Vietnams flourish throughout the world with their share of deaths and their immense tragedies, their everyday heroism and their repeated blows against imperialism, impelled to disperse its forces under the sudden attack and the increasing hatred of all peoples of the world!
And if we were all capable of uniting to make our blows stronger and infallible and so increase the effectiveness of all kinds of support given to the struggling people — how great and close would that future be.