Fidel on Che

by Mark Chmiel

He had a gift for people. He was one of those people that everyone immediately cares about—it was his naturalness, his simplicity, his sense of comradeship and all his virtues. He was a doctor; he was working at a Social Security Institute center doing some sort of research, cardiac something or other, or allergies, because he himself was allergic. 173

When we were still a very small group, whenever a volunteer was needed for some job, the first to volunteer would always be ‘el Che.’ 176

He’d be the first for any difficult mission; he was characterized by an extraordinary bravery, an absolute contempt for danger, but also, he’d sometimes propose that we do very difficult, very risky things… I’d tell him, ‘No.’  177

Every Sunday he’d go off to do volunteer labor—one day in agriculture, another day to test some machine or other, another day in construction. He’d do a little bit of everything. 250

… he knew you needed tremendous physical stamina, physical strength, you needed to be a certain age, and although he overcame all his own shortcomings and had a will of iron, he knew that if he waited much longer he wouldn’t be in the best physical condition. 297

The thing about Che was his super-honesty, his super-integrity. He was super-honest, super-upright, and the word ‘diplomacy,’ I won’t try to mislead you, the word ‘shrewdness,’ probably disgusted him. 303

Che didn’t fall defending any cause or interest but the cause of the exploited and the oppressed of Latin America. He didn’t fall defending any cause but the cause of the poor and downtrodden of the earth. Che’s cause will triumph; Che’s cause is triumphing today. 306

What did he leave behind? I believe the biggest thing is, really, his moral values, his conscience. Che symbolized the highest human values, and he was an extraordinary example. He created a great aura, a great mystique. I admired him a great deal, and loved him. It always produces a great deal of affection, that admiration. 307

–Fidel Castro, My Life

With Ignacio Ramonet

 

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