(October 12 ) – Forty-nine years ago, on October 9, 1967, a vile hired assassin, a terrorist, contracted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, believed he had killed a man in Bolivia. But what the bloodthirsty executioner Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía didn’t know then was that his crime actually immortalized his victim. Che continues to be a threat, a challenge, an insurmountable impediment to imperialism.
An example cannot be killed, ideas cannot be assassinated. Che lives on, as the revolutionaries of the world bring him to life. Socialist Cuba, with 58 years of anti-imperialism, is a reminder of this.
“If we want to express what we expect our revolutionary combatants, our militants, our people to be, we must say, without hesitation: let them be like Che! If we want to express what we wish the men of future generations to be, we must say: let them be like Che! If we want to say how we wish our children to be educated, we must say without hesitation: we want them to be educated in Che’s spirit! If we want a model of a man, a model of a man who does not belong to our time but to the future, I say from the depths of my heart that such a model, without a single stain on his conduct, without a single stain on his action, without a single stain on his behavior, is Che! If we want to express what we wish our children to be, we must say from our very hearts as ardent revolutionaries: we want them to be like Che!”
So expressed Fidel on October 18, 1967, at the solemn ceremony in his memory, at the Plaza de la Revolución. So the young pioneers in our schools repeat. But in order for the “Heroic Guerilla” to live on, we must do more than just evoke him; today we must bring him to the classroom, to factories, into our human relationships, the society we are building, the processes that we are leading.
On speaking then about his qualities as a leader, the Comandante en Jefe stated “Che was an insuperable soldier. Che was an insuperable leader.” Today, Cuba is perfecting its economic and social model, with the participation of all the people, and this requires leaders with guiding qualities, as Che himself explained in his article “El cuadro, columna vertebral de la revolución” (The Cadre: Backbone of the Revolution), published in 1962 in the magazine Cuba Socialista.
A cadre “is an individual of ideological and administrative discipline, who knows and practices democratic centralism and knows how to evaluate the existing contradictions in this method to make the most of its many facets; who knows how to practice the principle of collective discussion and to make decisions on his own and take responsibility in production; whose loyalty is proven,” Che wrote.
Often during an analysis we call for discussion and we find it hard to listen to or recognize each other’s opinion. Che said that one of the qualities that a leader should have is that of being “always willing to face any debate.” As such, among his or her distinguishing features, the cadre must have two that Fidel identified in Che: “an extraordinarily humane man, extraordinarily sensitive.”
Raúl, who the Comandante en Jefe himself noted was, together with Che, one of the first expeditionaries of the Granma yacht, has also insisted on this frank exchange of opinions. On December 18, 2010, at the close of the Sixth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the Seventh Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, referring to the discussions on the then draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution, Raúl stated: “We should not fear differences in opinion and this directive, which is not new, should not be construed as only applicable to debate on the Guidelines. Differences of opinion, preferably expressed in the proper place, time, and way, that is, in the right place, at the right moment, and in the correct manner, shall always be more desirable than false unanimity based on pretence and opportunism. Moreover, this is a right no one should be denied. The more ideas we are capable of inspiring in the analysis of any given problem, the closer we shall be to an appropriate solution.”
But the Argentine, who was Cuban by right and conviction, must not live on only in cadres. If the student, the worker, the soldier, the scientist, the intellectual, all act with the same sensitivity as he expressed when telling his children to “Grow up as good revolutionaries. Study hard to master technology, which allows us to master nature. Remember that the revolution is what is important, and each one of us, alone, is worth nothing. Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world…” Che will continue to be a challenge to imperialism, the most feared man. And they will not be able to kill him, because his example is immortal.