[Marxism] Che Guevara and the Cuban Trotskysts

Jorge Martin jorge at marxist.com
Sat Aug 25 06:13:25 MDT 2007

just as a matter of historical record, Gary Tennat's Thesis, which is
available on-line (http://www.cubantrotskyism.net/) has this to say about
the attitude of Che Guevara towards the repression against Cuban Trotskyists
(including Idalberto Ferrera who still lives in Cuba and travelled to
Caracas for the Trotsky conmemoration meeting) after 1964. Some of it is
fact, some of it is Tennat's interpretation of these facts:

"At this point in 1964, the fate of the Cuban Trotskyists imprisoned in this
first round of political trials was conditioned by the intervention of Che
Guevara. Guevara had attempted to justify the suppression of the Cuban
Trotskyists in 1961, loyally repeating the criticisms of the pro-Moscow PSP
members. However, his disillusionment with the Soviet Communist Party and
the 'Sovietisation' of the direction of the Cuban Revolution had become
increasingly apparent in the period following the Missile Crisis of October
1962. Not only had he vented his anger at the USSR's unwillingness to fulfil
their commitment to send and, if necessary, use the nuclear
he had partially broken with Stalinism over the issue of 'peaceful
coexistence' and spreading the revolution to other countries. As described
in Section 3.4.2, Guevara's criticisms of the Soviets' strategy led the more
ardent pro-Moscow communists to characterise him privately as a Maoist if
not Trotskyist."

"As it became evident that Fidel Castro was beginning to align Cuba with the
Soviet Union in the Sino-Soviet dispute, at the same time as Guevara's
economic strategy was also losing ground in favour of the policy options
desired by the pro-Soviet wing of the Cuban leadership, so Che's personal
position towards the Cuban Trotskyists softened. A number of Latin American
Trotskyists had been incorporated into his various guerrilla
Guevara simply no longer had any need to support the suppression of
dissident Trotskyist communists in order to defend a wider political
position which he had evidently lost. Ricardo Napuri, a Peruvian who worked
with Guevara in Cuba between 1959-64 in his various guerrilla projects, has
gone so far as to argue that Guevara initially supported the suppression of
the Cuban Trotskyists more out of the need to avoid losing positions in the
leadership in the face of pressures from Moscow and the advance of the
pro-Moscow PSP members in the G-2, the State Security services, and other
revolutionary institutions, rather than out of any personal anti-Trotskyist

"Disillusioned with Moscow and finding himself on the losing slope in the
internal leadership struggles, Guevara increasingly expressed and acted upon
his own personal convictions. No longer having any particular axe to grind
against the Trotskyists, who themselves shared Guevara's sympathies for the
Chinese in the Sino-Soviet dispute, he was instrumental in freeing a number
of the POR(T) members imprisoned in *La Cabaña* jail in Havana.
RobertoTejera was released on the orders of Guevara the day after he
had been
interviewed by Che personally about his supposed
Similarly, Armando Machado was released from prison in Havana on Guevara's

"In Havana, Roberto Acosta was also arrested in early 1965 after a
mimeographed version of Trotsky's *The Revolution Betrayed* with a new Cuban
introduction was printed in his
Guevara returned from Africa he apparently became aware of Acosta's
arrest and detention because of the Trotskyist's absence from his post in
the Ministry of Industry. Having already lost the strategic arguments over
revolutionary strategy, Guevara convened a meeting with
According to Roberto Acosta, although the meeting took place in the presence
of officials from G-2, Guevara expressed the view that Acosta was a
revolutionary, that if the Trotskyists thought they were right then they
should continue the struggle to obtain what they were fighting for, and that
at some point in the future Trotskyist publications would be
As Guevara said, "Acosta, you can't kill ideas with
Assuring Acosta that he would be freed
Guevara apparently closed the meeting with an embrace and the words: "See
you in the next

"A few days later, officials of G-2 returned with the proposal that all the
Trotskyists would be released on condition that they agreed to cease all
organised activity and refrain from publishing any
While during previous periods of imprisonment the Trotskyists had carried
out political work amongst other prisoners, drawing up re-educational plans
which defended the Revolution at the same time as defending their own
programme and the POR(T)'s right to legal
political considerations appear to have taken precedence.
Specifically, with questions being raised about Guevara's whereabouts as his
disappearance from public life became evident, the Trotskyists knew that
they no longer had any protection from the prospect of lengthy periods of

(footnotes can be found here: http://www.cubantrotskyism.net/PhD/chap7.html)

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