MY FRIEND CHE by Ricardo Rojo


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An exasperatingly sloppy but fascinating informal memoir of Che Guevara. The author is a lawyer and professor who met Che in 1953 when they were both quasi-exiles from Argentina. Together they toured the Caribbean ""combat zone,"" meeting Betancourt and Bosch as well as young Castroites. Rojo depicts Che as a brilliant doctor interested in archaeology, quite apolitical though already convinced that ""the highest forms of human solidarity arise among lonely and desperate men."" He never analyzes Che's development into a Marxist revolutionary, which he was when they met again in Mexico. After the revolution, Rojo visited Cuba, predictably admiring Che's humility in his position of power; unfortunately his discussion of Che's policies as Minister of Industries is excessively brief. He describes maneuvers at Punta del Este. Cuban preparation for an invasion. . . and ""the darkest period"" in Che's life, 1965, without clearly defining his conflict with Castro, just stressing Che's fear of a U.S.--Soviet detente which would make Russia impose an agricultural economy on Cuba. The chronicle of the Bolivian campaign provides some helpful background (Rojo represented Bustos, Regis Debray's co-defendant); but the book remains sketchy and superficial. Certainly worth reading, nonetheless, for those with a prior disposition.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1968
Publisher: Dial