[Marxism] Frei Betto: Message for Che's 80th on June 14

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 10 09:51:08 MDT 2008

June 10, 2008

Message for Che's 80th on June 14


Che Guevara would have turned 80 on June 14. His political
activism among us ended when he was 39.

But they were unable to kill him. Today he is more alive
than during the four decades of his life. Few
revolutionaries like Mao and Fidel himself live to grow
old. Many shed their blood at an early age to contribute to
the project of a world of freedom, justice and peace:
Jesus, at 33; Marti, 42; Sandino, 38; Zapata, 39; Farabundo
Marti; 38, just to name a few examples.

The enemy must be tearing their hair out because today Che
is more present than during the period in which they
thought they could murder his ideas. They tried to condemn
him to obscurity; they severed his body and hid his parts
in different places; they made up all sorts of lies about
him; they prohibited the circulation of his writings in
many countries. Like an obstinate phoenix, Che lives on in
photos, music, theater pieces, movies, poems, novels
sculptures and scholarly texts. Even a beer was given his
name, the Unique Garden, and his image from the famous
photo by Korda hangs in many living rooms.

When they saw that chains don't imprison symbols, nor
bullets kill examples, they wrote up false biographies to
try and slander him. But it was in vane. Even at soccer
matches the fans hold up signs with his face. Not a cent is
spent in the propagation of his image, whose only
importance is to reflect the ideas that made him a
revolutionary. None of that is thanks to marketing. They
are spontaneous gestures of those that want to emphasize
that the ideal of utopia remains alive.

Today, summarizing the legacy of Che and celebrating his
80th demands of us to maintain our hearts and eyes focused
on the worrisome state of our planet, where hegemony and
neoliberalism prevail. Multitudes, especially young people,
are drawn by individualism and not community spirit; by
competitiveness instead of solidarity; by excessive
ambition and not the fight to eradicate misery.

So much is said about the failure of socialism in Eastern
Europe and almost nothing about the inevitable failure of
capitalism for two thirds of humanity, the four billion
people that live below the poverty line.

Environmental degradation also troubles us. If the world's
leaders had listened to the alert from Fidel at the 1992
Rio Summit perhaps the devastation wouldn't have reached
the extreme of provoking recurring tsunamis, tornados,
typhoons and hurricanes as never before, not to mention the
global warming and the melting of the poles and the
desertification of the forests. The devastation in the
Amazon is alarming.

A barrel of oil costs US $10 at the well and more than $120
on the market. It's sad to see the large areas of farmland
reserved for ethanol production to feed 800 million
vehicles that circulate in the world and not the 824
million hungry mouths threatened with an early death. 
Faced with this world in which financial speculation takes
precedence over the production of goods and services, in
which the stock market serves as a thermometer of people's
supposed happiness, what do we do?

Bolivar must be happy with the democracy blossoming in
South America. After the cycles of military dictatorships
and neoliberal governments, now the peoples elect
governments that are rejecting the Free Trade Area of the
Americas, approving the ALBA and strengthening the South
Common Market (Mercosur), while condemning the US invasion
of Iraq and its blockade against Cuba.

What's the best way to commemorate 80 years of Che? 
I think the best present would be to see the new generations
believing and struggling for a better world, where
solidarity is a habit not a virtue; where the practice of
justice is an ethical demand, and socialism the political
name for love.

Building a world without environmental degradation, hunger
and social inequality!

With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution
we should increasingly carry it as a project of the future,
not a thing of the past.


     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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