Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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9781644211649

This classic anthology on Latin America shows the Argentine-born revolutionary's cultural depth, rigorous intellect, and intense emotional engagement with a continent and its people.

In a letter to his mother in 1954, a young Ernesto Guevara wrote, “The Americas will be the theater of my adventures in a way that is much more significant than I would have believed.”

In The Awakening of Latin America we have the story of those adventures, charting Che’s evolution from an impressionable young medical student to the “heroic guerrilla,” assassinated in cold blood in Bolivia. Spanning seventeen years, this anthology draws on from his family’s personal archives and offers the best of Che’s writing: examples of his journalism, essays, speeches, letters, and even poems. As Che documents his early travels through Latin America, his involvement in the Guatemalan and Cuban revolutions, and his rise to international prominence under Fidel Castro, we see how his fervent commitment to social justice shaped and was shaped by the continent he called home.

Nearly half of this book is published for the first time and pre-dates Che’s arrival in Cuba with Fidel Castro’s guerrilla expedition in 1956. Also included are his notes for his unfinished book, The Social Role of Doctors in Latin America.

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9781644211649

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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