Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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9781644210727

Che's diary of his revolutionary struggle in Congo alongside Cuban guerrillas.

Features an introduction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and a Foreword by Aleida Guevara March.

"Che Guevara's feats in our continent were of such magnitude that no prison or censorship could hide them from us. His life is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom." —Nelson Mandela

"Che Guevara at the prime of his life and the height of his fame, went off to fight in the Congo. In that fleeting, anonymous passage through Africa, Che Guevara was to sow a seed that no one will destroy." —Gabriel García Márquez

In April 1965, Che Guevara set out clandestinely from Havana to Congo to head a force of some 200 veteran Cuban soldiers to assist the African liberation movement against Belgian colonialists, four years after the assassination of the democratically elected socialist president of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Because this diary deals with what Che admits was a "failure," he examines every painful detail about what went wrong in order to draw constructive lessons for planned future guerrilla movements. Unique among his books, Congo Diary gives us Che's brutal honesty and his story-telling ability as he recounts this fascinating episode of guerrilla warfare unblinkingly and without sugar coating or jargon. Considered by some to be Che's best book, it is also one of the few that he had a chance to edit for publication after writing it.
 

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9781644210727

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ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA is profoundly radicalized when, as a young doctor traversing Latin America for the second time, a journey he later describes in Latin America Diaries/Otra Vez, he witnesses first the Bolivian Revolution, and then, in Guatemala, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jacobo Árbenz by U.S.-backed forces. After escaping to Mexico, Guevara meets up with a group of Cuban revolutionaries exiled in Mexico City led by Fidel Castro and immediately enlists in their planned expedition to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The Cubans nickname him "Che," a popular form of address in his native Argentina. The group sets sail for Cuba on November 25, 1956, aboard the yacht Granma, with Che as the group's doctor. Within several months, Fidel appoints him a commander of the Rebel Army, though he also continues to minister to wounded guerrilla fighters and captured Batista soldiers.

After General Batista flees Cuba on January 1st, 1959, Che becomes one of the key leaders of the new revolutionary government. He is also the most important representative of the Cuban Revolution internationally, heading numerous delegations and earning a reputation as a passionate and articulate spokesperson for Third World peoples. In April 1965, Che leaves Cuba to lead a guerrilla mission of some 200 Cuban soldiers to support the revolutionary struggle in Congo, a mission he recounts in Congo Diary. The book is characterized by Che's brutal, disciplined honesty, as he recounts the succession of failures and dead ends that characterized the mission, analyzing each one, and never losing sight of his innate optimism and clarity of mission. After returning to Cuba in December 1965, Che prepares another guerrilla force, this time to Bolivia, where he arrives in November 1966 with a small guerrilla force, intending to challenge the country's military dictatorship. He is captured there by U.S.-trained counterinsurgency forces on October 1967, and murdered in cold blood the next day. His Bolivian diaries were later edited and published as The Bolivian Diary/El Diario de Che en Bolivia. Che's other works include Reminisces of the Cuban Revolutionary War/Pasajes de la Guerra Revolucionaria, I embrace you with all my revolutionary fervor/Te abraza con todo fervor revolucionario, and The Motorcycle Diaries/Diarios de Motocicleta. More of his political writings are collected in the Che Guevara Reader/Che Guevara Presente.

Other books by Ernesto Che Guevara