Bolivian Diary – Ernesto Che Guevara


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I finished reading Ernesto Che Guevara’s Bolivian Diary. It is an exciting book about the guerilla life and how Che enjoys the very hardships he comes across in the mountainous jungles of Bolivia. He admits once he had a bath after 6 months despite continuous presence of streams and rivers. Che and his guerilla cadres eat horsemeat by killing the very horses that helped them to take their stuff, kill birds, fish, cows, and what not! They steal corns from corn farms and take farmers hostages till they take their supplies. Though Che wants to maintain discipline in the team, there are instances of some cadres going against the rule and eat beyond the approved quota in secret. Che gets very angry in such instances. There are silly in fights among the cadres too. Suffering from asthma and running out of medicines, Che finds it extremely difficult to continue but never gives up the struggle.

Though most of the fights are limited to just setting ambushes and killing few soldiers, the team’s bravery in fighting the government army that was assisted by the Americans is unbelievable. But I feel that fighting a conventional government army with around 100 guerillas is a losing battle from the inception. Besides, the movement is not well trained and they are not committed enough to the goal. The revolution takes place before the time is ripe. Che must have been greatly inspired by the revolution against Batista in Cuba which he played a great part but his involvement in the Bolivian revolution is not an intelligent move. After reading his own accounts of the events in Bolivia what I feel is that Che is an adventurist more than a revolutionary in Bolivia and that very sentiment cost him his valuable life too. He should have been involved in a better revolution elsewhere and if there wasn’t one he should have remained in Cuba and helped develop it.

Hope many would be against my remarks in this post and I welcome the counter points. I wrote this just by reading the Bolivian Diary and I have not read in detail about Che or Cuban revolution. I have read only one Sinhala translation about Che before and that didn’t help me much to understand Che better.

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