Guevara wrote "Notes for the Study of Man and Socialism in Cuba" in the form of a letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha, an independent radical zoeekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay. It bore the dateline "Havana, 1965." In addition to appearing in Marcha, it was printed by Verde Olivo, the magazine of the Cuban armed forces. It is translated in full below.
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Though belatedly, I am completing these notes in the course of my trip through Africa, hoping in this way to keep my promise. I would like to do so by dealing with the theme set forth in the above title. I think it may be of interest to Uruguayan readers. A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokesmen, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the subordination of the individual to the state. I will not try to refute this argument solely on theoretical grounds, but I will try to establish the facts as they exist in Cuba and then add comments of a general nature. Let me begin by sketching the history of our revolutionary struggle before and after the taking of power:
As is well known, the exact date on which the revolutionary struggle began - which would culminate January 1st, 1959 - was the 26th of July, 1953. A group of men commanded by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada barracks in Oriente Province on the morning of that day. The attack was a failure; the failure became a disaster; and the survivors ended up in prison, beginning the revolutionary struggle again after they were freed by an amnesty. In this stage, in which there was only the germ of socialism, man was the basic factor. We put our trust in him - individual, specific, with a first and last name - and the triumph or failure of the mission entrusted to him depended on his capacity for action.
Then came the stage of guerrilla struggle. It developed in two distinct elements: the people, the still sleeping mass which it was necessary to mobilize; and its vanguard, the guerrillas, the motor force of the movement, the generator of revolutionary consciousness and militant enthusiasm. It was this vanguard, this catalyzing agent, which created the subjective conditions necessary for victory. Here again, in the course of the process of proletarianizing our thinking, in this revolution which took place in our habits and our minds, the individual was the basic factor.
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Man and Socialism in Cuba
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