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Peter F. The Creole Affair. Arthur T. Guatemala I met a strange gringo [Professor Harold White] who writes stuff about Marxism and has it translated into Spanish. The go-between is Hilda Gadea. I am giving English-Spanish lessons to the gringo. In the evening a talk with Mujica1 and Hilda, and a little adventure with a plumpish schoolteacher. From now on, I'll try to get a little closer to the political reality of Guatemala. A quiet Sunday, until I was asked in the evening to attend one of the Cubans who was complaining of bad abdominal pains. I felt very small when I heard the Cubans making grand assertions with total calmness.

I can make a speech 10 times more objective and without banalities; I can do it better and I can convince the public that I am saying something true. But I don't convince myself, whereas the Cubans do. Mother What I don't want to miss is a visit to the ruins of El Peten. There is a wonderful city there, Tical, and a much less important one, Piedras Negras, where the art of the Mayas nevertheless reached an extraordinary level. I am sure of two things. First, if I reach the genuinely creative period of life around the age of 35, my exclusive occupation, or anyway my main one, will be nuclear physics, genetics or another area that combines some of the most interesting parts of subjects with which I am familiar.

Second, the American continent will be the theatre of my adventures much more than I would previously have thought. Naturally I shall visit the rest of the world. In the morning I go to the health department and work a few hours at the laboratory; in the afternoon I go and study at a library or museum; in the evening I read medicine or something else and attend to domestic tasks. She has a heart of platinum, at least. Her help is felt in everything to do with my daily life. Mother I think of the future with pleasant feelings; my residence permit is going ahead.

I reckon that in a month from now I'll be able to go to the cinema without being trailed by some good-natured fellow. I could become very rich in Guatemala, but by the low method of ratifying my title, opening a clinic and specialising in allergies. To do that would be the most horrible betrayal of the two "Is" struggling inside me: the socialist and the traveller. Dear Mother Five or six days ago the first pirate aircraft from Honduras flew over Guatemala, without doing anything.

On the next and the following days they bombed a number of military installations in Guatemala, and two days ago a warplane machine-gunned the lower parts of the city and killed a girl of two. The incident served to unite all Guatemalans behind their government and all those who, like myself, came here attracted by the country.

The Yankees have finally dropped the good-guy mask that Roosevelt gave them and are now committing outrages in these parts. There is a real climate of struggle. I myself have been assigned to the emergency medical service and have also enrolled in the youth brigades to receive military instruction for any eventuality. I'll send news as soon as I can. Journal: Guatemala I'll soon be safe and sound in the [Argentine] embassy, because I have already asked for and been granted asylum.

The main event was the sound of continuous gunfire from dawn on Monday. Dear Beatriz It's all been great fun here, with shooting, bombing, speeches and other touches that have broken the monotony in which I was living. I leave in a few days I don't know how many for Mexico, where I am thinking of making a fortune by selling little whales to hang around the neck.

Anyway I'll make sure I go the next time something breaks out, and I'm sure it will if there is a next time because the Yankees can't keep going without defending democracy somewhere or other. Big hugs from your nephew-adventurer. Tomorrow I'll take my leave of the people I want to say goodbye to, and on Tuesday morning I'll start the great Mexican adventure. Mexico I have a photographer's job in the parks, so I'll see what comes of it. I'm establishing myself at the hospitals. I've moved to a decent room in the city centre, for which I pay pesos a month.

Right now my intellectual life is non-existent, except for a little that I read at night and a few drops of daily study. I see Hilda tomorrow. My dear Mother I think the best thing that could happen would be for me to get a little unofficial job as a country doctor near the capital; that would enable me to devote my time more easily to medicine for a few months.


I am doing it because I was perfectly aware of how much I learned about allergy. The Communists do not have the same sense of friendship that you have, but it is as strong as or even stronger than yours. I have seen this quite clearly, and in the hecatomb that Guatemala became after the fall - where everyone expected only to fend for himself - the Communists kept their faith and comradeship alive and are the only group still working there. I think they deserve respect, and sooner or later I will join the party myself. What most prevents me from doing it right now is that I have a huge desire to travel in Europe, and I would not be able to do that if I was subject to rigid discipline.

So, Mother, until Paris.

Biography of Ernesto Che Guevara, Revolutionary Leader

My dear Mother I am doing two research projects and may start on a third - all in connection with allergy - and I am collecting material for a little book that will appear if ever in a couple of years under the pretentious title "The Function of the Doctor in Latin America". Although I don't know much medicine, I do have Latin America sized up.

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As to the changes in my thinking which, as you see it, are becoming sharper, I assure you that they won't last long. There are two ways of arriving at what you so much fear: a positive way of direct persuasion, and a negative way of complete disenchantment. I arrived by the second way, but immediately convinced myself that it was necessary to continue by the first.

The manner in which the gringos treat the American continent remember that the gringos are Yankees aroused my growing indignation, but at the same time I studied the theoretical explanation for what they do and found that it was scientific. Then came Guatemala and all those things that are hard to relate.

Biography of Ernesto Che Guevara, Revolutionary Leader

I can't say at what moment I stopped reasoning and acquired something like faith, because the road was quite long and there was a lot of turning back. Who knows what will meanwhile have become of your wandering son. Perhaps he will have decided to set up shop in his native country , or to begin a life of real struggle.

Perhaps one of the bullets so common in the Caribbean will put an end to my days this is neither idle talk nor a concrete possibility: it's just that a lot of bullets fly around in these parts. Perhaps I'll simply keep wandering long enough to complete a solid education and take the pleasures I have awarded myself for this life, before seriously devoting myself to the pursuit of my ideal. Things develop with tremendous speed, and no one can predict where they will be next year and why.

I don't know if you got the formal announcement of my marriage and the [imminent] arrival of an heir. Journal: Mexico The last days of the year are approaching and it looks as if some economic change is shaping up. I keep on with my scientific research, working on digested food and preparing to work on blood electrophoresis. At the children's hospital, they want me to do some paid experimental work.

My studies are at a standstill. I haven't made any really worthwhile friendship, either intellectual or sexual. Guevara learned chess from his father, and began participating in local tournaments by the age of Wells and Robert Frost. These included composing analytical sketches of Buddha and Aristotle , along with examining Bertrand Russell on love and patriotism, Jack London on society and Nietzsche on the idea of death. Sigmund Freud 's ideas fascinated him as he quoted him on a variety of topics from dreams and libido to narcissism and the Oedipus complex.

Years later, a declassified CIA 'biographical and personality report' dated February 13, made note of Guevara's wide range of academic interests and intellect, describing him as "quite well read" while adding that "Che is fairly intellectual for a Latino. In , Guevara entered the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine. His "hunger to explore the world" [40] led him to intersperse his collegiate pursuits with two long introspective journeys that fundamentally changed the way he viewed himself and the contemporary economic conditions in Latin America.

For the latter, he took a year off from his studies to embark with his friend Alberto Granado , with the final goal of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo leper colony in Peru , on the banks of the Amazon River. In Chile , Guevara found himself enraged by the working conditions of the miners in Anaconda 's Chuquicamata copper mine and moved by his overnight encounter in the Atacama Desert with a persecuted communist couple who did not even own a blanket, describing them as "the shivering flesh-and-blood victims of capitalist exploitation".

By the end of the trip, he came to view Latin America not as collection of separate nations, but as a single entity requiring a continent-wide liberation strategy. His conception of a borderless, united Hispanic America sharing a common Latino heritage was a theme that recurred prominently during his later revolutionary activities. Upon returning to Argentina, he completed his studies and received his medical degree in June , making him officially "Dr.

Ernesto Guevara". Guevara later remarked that through his travels in Latin America, he came in "close contact with poverty, hunger and disease" along with the "inability to treat a child because of lack of money" and "stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment" that leads a father to "accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident". Guevara cited these experiences as convincing him that in order to "help these people", he needed to leave the realm of medicine and consider the political arena of armed struggle.

In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing the dominion of the United Fruit Company , a journey which convinced him that the Company's capitalist system was a terrible one. She introduced Guevara to a number of high-level officials in the Arbenz government. Guevara then established contact with a group of Cuban exiles linked to Fidel Castro through the July 26, attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. During this period, he acquired his famous nickname, due to his frequent use of the Argentine filler syllable che a multi-purpose discourse marker , like the syllable " eh " in Canadian English.

In May , a shipment of infantry and light artillery weapons was dispatched from Communist Czechoslovakia for the Arbenz Government and arrived in Puerto Barrios. On June 27, Arbenz decided to resign. Guevara himself was eager to fight on behalf of Arbenz and joined an armed militia organized by the Communist Youth for that purpose, but frustrated with the group's inaction, he soon returned to medical duties.

Following the coup, he again volunteered to fight, but soon after, Arbenz took refuge in the Mexican Embassy and told his foreign supporters to leave the country. Guevara's repeated calls to resist were noted by supporters of the coup, and he was marked for murder. The overthrow of the Arbenz regime and establishment of the right-wing Armas dictatorship cemented Guevara's view of the United States as an imperialist power that opposed and attempted to destroy any government that sought to redress the socioeconomic inequality endemic to Latin America and other developing countries. The last Latin American revolutionary democracy — that of Jacobo Arbenz — failed as a result of the cold premeditated aggression carried out by the United States.

Its visible head was the Secretary of State John Foster Dulles , a man who, through a rare coincidence, was also a stockholder and attorney for the United Fruit Company. Guevara's conviction that Marxism achieved through armed struggle and defended by an armed populace was the only way to rectify such conditions was thus strengthened. By the time he left, he was sure of this. Hilda later found a poem that Che had dedicated to the old woman, containing "a promise to fight for a better world, for a better life for all the poor and exploited".

During a long conversation with Fidel on the night of their first meeting, Guevara concluded that the Cuban's cause was the one for which he had been searching and before daybreak he had signed up as a member of the July 26 Movement. By this point in Guevara's life, he deemed that U. In this vein, he considered Batista a " U. The key portion of training involved learning hit and run tactics of guerrilla warfare. Guevara and the others underwent arduous hour marches over mountains, across rivers, and through the dense undergrowth, learning and perfecting the procedures of ambush and quick retreat.

From the start Guevara was Alberto Bayo's "prize student" among those in training, scoring the highest on all of the tests given. Guevara then married Gadea in Mexico in September , before embarking on his plan to assist in the liberation of Cuba. The first step in Castro's revolutionary plan was an assault on Cuba from Mexico via the Granma , an old, leaky cabin cruiser. They set out for Cuba on November 25, Attacked by Batista's military soon after landing, many of the 82 men were either killed in the attack or executed upon capture; only 22 found each other afterwards.

With the group withdrawn to the Sierra, the world wondered whether Castro was alive or dead until early when the interview by Herbert Matthews appeared in The New York Times. The article presented a lasting, almost mythical image for Castro and the guerrillas.

Making of a Marxist

Guevara was not present for the interview, but in the coming months he began to realize the importance of the media in their struggle. Meanwhile, as supplies and morale diminished, and with an allergy to mosquito bites which resulted in agonizing walnut-sized cysts on his body, [82] Guevara considered these "the most painful days of the war".

During Guevara's time living hidden among the poor subsistence farmers of the Sierra Maestra mountains, he discovered that there were no schools, no electricity, minimal access to healthcare, and more than 40 percent of the adults were illiterate. As second in command, Guevara was a harsh disciplinarian who sometimes shot defectors. Deserters were punished as traitors, and Guevara was known to send squads to track those seeking to go AWOL. Although he maintained a demanding and harsh disposition, Guevara also viewed his role of commander as one of a teacher, entertaining his men during breaks between engagements with readings from the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson , Cervantes , and Spanish lyric poets.

We would have given our life for him. His commanding officer Fidel Castro described Guevara as intelligent, daring, and an exemplary leader who "had great moral authority over his troops". On one occasion Iglesias recounts the time he had been wounded in battle, stating "Che ran out to me, defying the bullets, threw me over his shoulder, and got me out of there. The guards didn't dare fire at him Guevara was instrumental in creating the clandestine radio station Radio Rebelde Rebel Radio in February , which broadcast news to the Cuban people with statements by the 26th of July movement, and provided radiotelephone communication between the growing number of rebel columns across the island.

To quell the rebellion, Cuban government troops began executing rebel prisoners on the spot, and regularly rounded up, tortured, and shot civilians as a tactic of intimidation. As the war extended, Guevara led a new column of fighters dispatched westward for the final push towards Havana. Travelling by foot, Guevara embarked on a difficult 7-week march, only travelling at night to avoid ambush and often not eating for several days.

In a matter of days he executed a series of "brilliant tactical victories" that gave him control of all but the province's capital city of Santa Clara. Che's eventual victory despite being outnumbered remains in the view of some observers a "remarkable tour de force in modern warfare". This contradicted reports by the heavily controlled national news media, which had at one stage reported Guevara's death during the fighting. The final death toll from the two years of revolutionary fighting was 2, people. Guevara returned to the seaside village of Tarara in June for his honeymoon with Aleida.

The first major political crisis arose over what to do with the captured Batista officials who had perpetrated the worst of the repression. In the revolutionary government extended its application to the whole of the republic and to those it considered war criminals, captured and tried after the revolution. According to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, this latter extension was supported by the majority of the population, and followed the same procedure as those in the Nuremberg trials held by the Allies after World War II.

Some exiled opposition biographers report that he relished the rituals of the firing squad, and organized them with gusto, while others relate that Guevara pardoned as many prisoners as he could. If the only way to "defend the revolution was to execute its enemies, he would not be swayed by humanitarian or political arguments".

The question of revolutionary violence

Along with ensuring "revolutionary justice", the other key early platform of Guevara was establishing agrarian land reform. Almost immediately after the success of the revolution, on January 27, , Guevara made one of his most significant speeches where he talked about "the social ideas of the rebel army". During this speech he declared that the main concern of the new Cuban government was "the social justice that land redistribution brings about".

The two men quickly bonded, as Sukarno was attracted to Guevara's energy and his relaxed informal approach; moreover they shared revolutionary leftist aspirations against western imperialism. During the visit he refused to visit and lay a wreath at Japan's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating soldiers lost during World War II , remarking that the Japanese "imperialists" had "killed millions of Asians".

Upon Guevara's return to Cuba in September , it became evident that Castro now had more political power. The government had begun land seizures in accordance with the agrarian reform law, but was hedging on compensation offers to landowners, instead offering low-interest "bonds", a step which put the United States on alert. This multi-national force, composed mostly of Spaniards and Cubans, but also of Croatians, Germans, Greeks, and right-wing mercenaries, was plotting to topple Castro's new regime.

Such threats were heightened when, on March 4, , two massive explosions ripped through the French freighter La Coubre , which was carrying Belgian munitions from the port of Antwerp , and was docked in Havana Harbor. The blasts killed at least 76 people and injured several hundred, with Guevara personally providing first aid to some of the victims.

Fidel Castro immediately accused the CIA of "an act of terrorism" and held a state funeral the following day for the victims of the blast. Perceived threats prompted Castro to eliminate more " counter-revolutionaries " and to utilize Guevara to drastically increase the speed of land reform. INRA quickly became the most important governing body in the nation, with Guevara serving as its head in his capacity as minister of industries.

Eisenhower sharply reduced United States imports of Cuban sugar Cuba's main cash crop , which led Guevara on July 10, to address over , workers in front of the Presidential Palace at a rally to denounce the "economic aggression" of the United States. Leonardo Tamayo , fought with Guevara in Cuba and Bolivia []. Along with land reform, Guevara stressed the need for national improvement in literacy. Accompanying literacy, Guevara was also concerned with establishing universal access to higher education.

To accomplish this the new regime introduced affirmative action to the universities. While announcing this new commitment, Guevara told the gathered faculty and students at the University of Las Villas that the days when education was "a privilege of the white middle class" had ended. The merit of Marx is that he suddenly produces a qualitative change in the history of social thought. He interprets history, understands its dynamic, predicts the future, but in addition to predicting it which would satisfy his scientific obligation , he expresses a revolutionary concept: the world must not only be interpreted, it must be transformed.

Man ceases to be the slave and tool of his environment and converts himself into the architect of his own destiny. Our revolution has discovered by its methods the paths that Marx pointed out. In defending his political stance, Guevara confidently remarked, "There are truths so evident, so much a part of people's knowledge, that it is now useless to discuss them.

One ought to be Marxist with the same naturalness with which one is ' Newtonian ' in physics , or ' Pasteurian ' in biology. Man truly achieves his full human condition when he produces without being compelled by the physical necessity of selling himself as a commodity. At this stage, Guevara acquired the additional position of Finance Minister, as well as President of the National Bank.

These appointments, combined with his existing position as Minister of Industries, placed Guevara at the zenith of his power, as the "virtual czar" of the Cuban economy. Instead of using his full name, he signed the bills solely " Che ". In an effort to eliminate social inequalities , Guevara and Cuba's new leadership had moved to swiftly transform the political and economic base of the country through nationalizing factories, banks, and businesses, while attempting to ensure affordable housing, healthcare, and employment for all Cubans.

Believing that the attitudes in Cuba towards race, women, individualism , and manual labor were the product of the island's outdated past, all individuals were urged to view each other as equals and take on the values of what Guevara termed "el Hombre Nuevo" the New Man. He negatively viewed capitalism as a "contest among wolves" where "one can only win at the cost of others" and thus desired to see the creation of a "new man and woman".

In congruence with this, all educational, mass media, and artistic community based facilities were nationalized and utilized to instill the government's official socialist ideology. There is a great difference between free-enterprise development and revolutionary development. In one of them, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a fortunate few, the friends of the government, the best wheeler-dealers. In the other, wealth is the people's patrimony.

A further integral part of fostering a sense of "unity between the individual and the mass", Guevara believed, was volunteer work and will. To display this, Guevara "led by example", working "endlessly at his ministry job, in construction, and even cutting sugar cane" on his day off. As a replacement for the pay increases abolished by Guevara, workers who exceeded their quota now only received a certificate of commendation, while workers who failed to meet their quotas were given a pay cut.

This is not a matter of how many pounds of meat one might be able to eat, or how many times a year someone can go to the beach, or how many ornaments from abroad one might be able to buy with his current salary. What really matters is that the individual feels more complete, with much more internal richness and much more responsibility. In the face of a loss of commercial connections with Western states, Guevara tried to replace them with closer commercial relationships with Eastern Bloc states, visiting a number of Marxist states and signing trade agreements with them. It was also in East Germany where Guevara met Tamara Bunke later known as "Tania" , who was assigned as his interpreter, and who joined him years later, and was killed with him in Bolivia.

Whatever the merits or demerits of Guevara's economic principles, his programs were unsuccessful, [] and accompanied a rapid drop in productivity and a rapid rise in absenteeism. Stone who interviewed Guevara twice during this time, remarked that he was " Galahad not Robespierre ", while opining that "in a sense he was, like some early saint, taking refuge in the desert. Only there could the purity of the faith be safeguarded from the unregenerate revisionism of human nature ".

On April 17, , 1, U. Historians give him a share of credit for the victory as he was director of instruction for Cuba's armed forces at the time.

Kennedy through Richard N. Before the invasion, the revolution was shaky. Now it's stronger than ever. In short, they seem to prepare the revolution of the toilets. Guevara, who was practically the architect of the Soviet—Cuban relationship , [] then played a key role in bringing to Cuba the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis in October and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Afterward, he denounced the Soviets almost as frequently as he denounced the Americans. In December , Che Guevara had emerged as a "revolutionary statesman of world stature" and thus traveled to New York City as head of the Cuban delegation to speak at the United Nations. Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men—how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?

An indignant Guevara ended his speech by reciting the Second Declaration of Havana , decreeing Latin America a "family of million brothers who suffer the same miseries". To Guevara the conflict was a struggle of masses and ideas, which would be carried forth by those "mistreated and scorned by imperialism " who were previously considered "a weak and submissive flock".

With this "flock", Guevara now asserted, "Yankee monopoly capitalism" now terrifyingly saw their "gravediggers". Guevara closed his remarks to the General Assembly by hypothesizing that this "wave of anger" would "sweep the lands of Latin America" and that the labor masses who "turn the wheel of history" were now, for the first time, "awakening from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected". Guevara later learned there had been two failed attempts on his life by Cuban exiles during his stop at the UN complex.

Afterwards Guevara commented on both incidents, stating that "it is better to be killed by a woman with a knife than by a man with a gun", while adding with a languid wave of his cigar that the explosion had "given the whole thing more flavor". The latter expressed his admiration, declaring Guevara "one of the most revolutionary men in this country right now" while reading a statement from him to a crowd at the Audubon Ballroom.

When they found out, the television [station] came to ask me about the Lynch genealogy, but in case they were horse thieves or something like that, I didn't say much. During this voyage, he wrote a letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of a Uruguayan weekly, which was later retitled Socialism and Man in Cuba. He also laid out the reasoning behind his anti-capitalist sentiments, stating:.

The laws of capitalism, blind and invisible to the majority, act upon the individual without his thinking about it. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists, who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller —whether or not it is true—about the possibilities of success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller , and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.

Guevara ended the essay by declaring that "the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love" and beckoning on all revolutionaries to "strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into acts that serve as examples", thus becoming "a moving force". In Algiers , Algeria, on February 24, , Guevara made what turned out to be his last public appearance on the international stage when he delivered a speech at an economic seminar on Afro-Asian solidarity.

He proceeded to outline a number of measures which he said the communist-bloc countries must implement in order to accomplish the defeat of imperialism. As revealed in his last public speech in Algiers, Guevara had come to view the Northern Hemisphere , led by the U. He strongly supported Communist North Vietnam in the Vietnam War , and urged the peoples of other developing countries to take up arms and create "many Vietnams".

In Guevara's private writings from this time since released , he displays his growing criticism of the Soviet political economy, believing that the Soviets had "forgotten Marx ". Guevara wanted the complete elimination of money, interest , commodity production , the market economy , and " mercantile relationships ": all conditions that the Soviets argued would only disappear when world communism was achieved.

Two weeks after his Algiers speech and his return to Cuba, Guevara dropped out of public life and then vanished altogether. His disappearance was variously attributed to the failure of the Cuban industrialization scheme he had advocated while minister of industries, to pressure exerted on Castro by Soviet officials who disapproved of Guevara's pro- Chinese Communist stance on the Sino-Soviet split , and to serious differences between Guevara and the pragmatic Castro regarding Cuba's economic development and ideological line.

Still, rumors spread both inside and outside Cuba concerning the missing Guevara's whereabouts. On October 3, , Castro publicly revealed an undated letter purportedly written to him by Guevara around seven months earlier which was later titled Che Guevara's "farewell letter". In the letter, Guevara reaffirmed his enduring solidarity with the Cuban Revolution but declared his intention to leave Cuba to fight for the revolutionary cause abroad. Additionally, he resigned from all his positions in the Cuban government and communist party, and renounced his honorary Cuban citizenship. In early , Guevara went to Africa to offer his knowledge and experience as a guerrilla to the ongoing conflict in the Congo.

According to Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella , Guevara thought that Africa was imperialism's weak link and so had enormous revolutionary potential. As an admirer of the late Lumumba, Guevara declared that his "murder should be a lesson for all of us". Over the course of seven months, Ilanga grew to "admire the hard-working Guevara", who "showed the same respect to black people as he did to whites".

As an additional obstacle, white mercenary troops of the Congo National Army , led by Mike Hoare and supported by anti-Castro Cuban pilots and the CIA, thwarted Guevara's movements from his base camp in the mountains near the village of Fizi on Lake Tanganyika in southeast Congo. They were able to monitor his communications and so pre-empted his attacks and interdicted his supply lines.

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Although Guevara tried to conceal his presence in Congo, the United States government knew his location and activities. Guevara's aim was to export the revolution by instructing local anti- Mobutu Simba fighters in Marxist ideology and foco theory strategies of guerrilla warfare. In his Congo Diary book, he cites the incompetence, intransigence and infighting among the Congolese rebels as key reasons for the revolt's failure. Guevara stated that he had planned to send the wounded back to Cuba and fight in Congo alone until his death, as a revolutionary example. But after being urged by his comrades, and two Cuban emissaries personally sent by Castro, at the last moment he reluctantly agreed to leave Africa.

During that day and night, Guevara's forces quietly took down their base camp, burned their huts, and destroyed or threw weapons into Lake Tanganyika that they could not take with them, before crossing the border by boat into Tanzania at night and traveling by land to Dar es Salaam. In speaking about his experience in Congo months later, Guevara concluded that he left rather than fight to the death because: "The human element failed.