(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
20. MAY 1967
By: Ernesto "Che" Guevara
It is over 21 years since the last world war ended and various magazines celebrate in countless languages this event, symbolized by the victory over Japan.
21 years without a world war seems long into an era of severe contradictions, violent clashes and sudden upheavals. But, without analyzing the practical results of this peace we have all been willing to defend, we must ask if it is a reality. An analysis shows that this peace entails poverty, decay and increasing dividends.
It is not the intention here to write history of all the local conflicts that have arisen after Japan's surrender. Nor is it intended to ascertain the extent and number of internal turmoil and civil wars that have taken place during these years of peace. For us, it is possible to use the wars in Korea and Vietnam as arguments against the blue-eyed optimism.
1. Korea: After the Korean War, the northern part of the country lay back as a victim of systematic destruction unparalleled in modern war history, bomb-shattered, without factories, schools or hospitals – without the opportunity to give ten million people a head. Here, the United States intervened with all forms of weapons of extermination. New chemical and bacteriological weapons were tested. On the US side, the forced-release South Korean population struggled as gunfire. Against the United States stood the Korean People's Army as well as volunteers from China, supported materially by the Soviet Union.
Viet Nam: The Vietnamese people have waged an uninterrupted war against three imperialist powers: Japan, France and the United States. During that same period there have been unsuccessful attempts at revolution in the South American continent. The Cuban people broke this continent's impotence, invoking the wrath of the imperialists, defending their shores and beaches – first during the invasion of Pig Bay, then during the October crisis.
The loneliness of the Vietnamese. The main contradictions now lie on and around the Indochinese peninsula. Viet-Nam turned the area into a blast that can detonate at any moment. It's been almost two years since Americans began to systematically bomb the Viet-Nam Democratic Republic. In the beginning there were isolated bombings, masked as reprisals against so-called provocations from the north. Today, the bombing has become a systematic slaughter of the North Vietnamese population – a systematic destruction of their civilization. The tragic fact is this: Viet-Nam, which represents the hopes of the laid-back world, stands bitterly alone. Alone against the atrocities of American technology, almost betrayed in the south, with some defense capabilities in the north – but always alone. It is not enough to want victory for the Vietnamese, we must run the same risk as them, stand with them – in death as in victory.
What role should we, the exploiters of this world, play?
The miserable peace that defeats us. The imperialist crimes of North Americans are spreading across the globe. Also guilty are those who, in the decisive moment, hesitated to make Viet-Nam a part of the inviolable socialist realm – a decision which, of course, would have led to the danger of World War II, but which would have also forced the US imperialists to make a decision. .
Guilty are also those who carry on the ongoing battle between the two socialist great powers with slander and scorn. We ask in the hope of an honest answer: Is – or is not – Viet-Nam isolated in the balance of these great powers?
What courage, what calm do not these people own? What example is not its struggle for the world? An insufficient number of defense weapons is all these wonderful soldiers have when they draw from the love of the Fatherland, the faith of their community and a courage that transcends all boundaries.
What role should we, the exploiters of this world, play?
The people of three continents learn from Viet-Nam. Every day the United States threatens the world with total war, their attitude becomes firmer: We do not fear this war! The tactics of the popular movement are to attack continuously and increasingly hard.
The people of the three continents:
Latin America. The imperialist exploits affect three areas fundamentally: Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each country has its own characteristics, but the continents as a whole have many common features. In Latin America, Americans have dominion over virtually the entire territory. The vassal governments, which are weak and fearful at best, cannot resist the orders of the American superpowers, whose power has reached a climax that makes any political change a setback. Their struggle to preserve the conquered is then also reduced to brutal violence against all social movements of whatever character. These crimes are committed without fear of countermeasures. The OAS (Organization of American States) is a convenient scapegoat, the UN is ineffective until the ridiculous or the tragic. In all Latin American countries, American troops are prepared to intervene wherever the existing order falters, supported by the National Army. The international of crimes and treason is a fact.
On the other hand, the original bourgeoisie has lost all opportunity for opposition to imperialism. They form its rear body. There are no longer any other steps to take, no more changes are possible. Either the socialist revolution or the caricature of a revolution!
Asia. Asia is a continent with different characteristics. Liberation battles against the European colonial powers produced a number of more or less progressive governments. The weak political position of the European powers made Asia a favorable area of expansion for US capital interests. The Indochinese came to play a vital role in the US military strategy that involves encircling China through South Korea, Japan, Formosa, South Viet-Nam and Thailand. In this dual role as both a strategically and economically important continent, whose natural resources are not yet fully utilized, or dominated by American capital, this area represents one of the most explosive regions in the world today, despite the apparent stability outside of Viet-Nam.
As part of this continent, but with its own contradictions, the Near East is close to the boiling point – without being able to say how far this war between Israel, supported by the imperialists, and the progressive Arab states will develop.
Africa. Africa is the continent where the United States is least engaged, economically, militarily and politically. But the continent's natural riches make it a virgin area for neo-colonial invasion. There have been certain upheavals that have forced the colonial powers to abandon old claims of absolute power. But when development happens smoothly, the successor of colonialism becomes neo-colonialism, which is just as total in its economic exercise.
In the long run, it is clear that Africa forms a huge reservoir for the US economic strategy. Their investments are currently only of greater importance in South Africa, but they are gaining ground in the Congo, Nigeria and other countries where they compete fiercely (but still peacefully) with other imperialist powers.
All this causes us to ask the question of the possibilities of the liberation movement in the short or longer term.
When we analyze Africa, we see that it is fighting bravely in Guinea, Mozambique and Angola, with the greatest success in the former. Furthermore, there are occasional battles in the Congo between old supporters of Lumumba on the one hand, and Tshombe's old co-conspirators on the other. This fight is currently in favor of the latter, who have successfully managed to pacify much of the country. But here the war lurks latently.
Despite certain signs to the contrary, in political and social Africa we cannot see a continental situation. Until now, there have only been a number of palace revolutions in which one group of officers replaces another.
Identity between classes. In Asia, the situation as we have determined – is explosive. The fighting is not only obvious in Viet-Nam, it also takes place in Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia – and of course in Indonesia, where we do not believe the last chapter was written, despite the annihilation of the Communist Party in the country. In addition to this comes the Near East.
In Latin America, the armed struggle has begun in Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia. The first guerrilla groups have appeared in Brazil.
In Latin America, class consciousness is so clear that one can almost speak of a South American international. This unit is so clear i.a. because there is one spoken language – Brazil not included. For a long time we have realized that the struggle in Latin America may take continental dimensions.
The mutual contradictions. Let's develop a true internationalism. Let's form international armies of proletarians, who have the liberation of humanity as a banner. Dying for Viet-Nam, Venezuela, Laos, Guinea, Colombia, Bolivia and Brazil is just as honorable for an African, an American and a European as for an Asian. Every drop of blood given in the struggle for a land that is not one's own is an experience that will survive and be used in the liberation of one's own country. Now we have to fight our own disagreements and move on to fight the enemy. In our goal: destruction of imperialism through struggle – we must be relentless. How brilliant our future would be, if a number of Viet-Nam wars flourished out of the hatred of our earth. Were we willing to stand together then – how magnificent would not tomorrow be and how close.
We are proud to have learned from the Cuban Revolution and its supreme leader. It is he who has asked us this question: "What significance are the dangers or sacrifices a single man or individual must undergo, when the whole destiny of humanity is at stake?"
also read The guerrilla leader who became a brand.
This letter was first
published in Havana April 16, 1967. Translated into Norwegian and
abbreviated by Orienterings and Ny Tids redaksjon.