I am coming to you early this week because today is an important day - the 50th anniversary of the murder of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in the little town of La Higuera, Bolivia. Near where Che was killed sits a statue, erected in 1997, which is said to be the shrine of Santo Ernesto, as the local townspeople call him (see below). The town has become a shrine not only to Che, but to the industry around Che - the cult of the martyr, the commodities to be sold. It would disgust Che. But then he would have to realize that for many people he stood for something. This celebration is not only for him personally but for what he means to so many people.
The picture at the very top - taken by a Bolivian army man - is said to be the last picture of Che before he was killed. He was shot by a soldier - Teran Salazar - who was trembling. It is reported that Che said to Teran Salazar, 'Pongase sereno y apunte bien. Va a matar a un hombre' (Calm down and take good aim. You're going to kill a man). Of course Teran Salazar was not killing a man alone. He was killing someone who had already become a myth, who already symbolized commitment and sacrifice and - as he put it - the ridiculous idea that a 'true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love'.
In today's The Hindu, thanks to Mini Kapoor and the team, I have a short essay on the death of Che Guevara and on his meaning. You can read it here. The key point I make is that Cuba, for Che and Fidel, was never to be a showcase of socialism. It was too poor for that. It would, however, be its 'living example'. One illustration of that is in the life of Teran Salazar - as I recount in the final paragraph.
For a good introduction to Che, here's a volume of selections from his writings, published by us at LeftWord Books.
My favorite image (below) of Che - by the brilliant Orijit Sen, Che as Chai Guevara, brewing revolution on every street corner.
Hasta siempre companero!
Two quick videos to share with you, both done for the Real News Network and both conversations with Sharmini Peries:
(1) On Trump's promise to 'decertify' Iran in the nuclear deal, which is a silly idea since this is not a bilateral deal but a deal sanctified by a UN Security Council Resolution. It is a short video, which you can watch here.
(2) Based on my reporting of the Kurdish referendum, here is a slightly longer conversation with Sharmini on the politics of it and the fate of this long dream of the Kurdish people - which can be watched here.
Finally, one more important guest post by John Pilger on the Labour Party and its foreign policy entanglements. You can read that here.
See you later this week.