How important was Che’s first tour of Asia and Africa? › World › Granma

How important was Che’s first tour of Asia and Africa? › World › Granma
How important was Che’s first tour of Asia and Africa? › World › Granma

On June 12, 1959, 65 years ago, Che began a tour of ten Afro-Asian countries that were then part of the so-called Bandung Pact. He returned three months later, on September 8 and, as when he left, Fidel is at the airport.

He knows perfectly well the importance of the trip for the future of the external, political and state relations of the Revolution. Together they had conceived it and, therefore, it was urgent to know its results, which – as was later confirmed – opened a page in the history of the nation’s international projection.

Both also knew the historical significance of the Bandung Conference (April 18 to 24, 1955), held in that Indonesian city. In that part of the world, world-class leaders such as Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt), Yawaharlal Nehru (India) and Sukarno (Indonesia), together with those from Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) had achieved that 29 Afro-Asian countries newly decolonized people to unite their plural voices and projects to seek options for cooperative development for their people, as well as a place of respect in the international system that emerged after the Second World War.

Upon his return, Che characterized what happened in Bandung like this: “The power of unity of the people has been greater than the division capacity of the colonial forces and suddenly an event occurs that is the dawn of the recovery of the Afro-Asian peoples, the Bandung Conference.

And then he adds: «(…) there was no unanimity, but there was conjunction. It was not a disciplined bloc that voted as one man on the conference papers, there were attempts at division (…) Common sense was stronger than colonial attempts and the date of Bandung already has historical characteristics.

It was not in Che’s plans to lead the delegation that he had conceived with Fidel. But he and the leading nucleus of the Revolution thought otherwise. A figure of vast culture was needed for her; complex vision of the world of the time; full clarity about the needs of the external projection of the Revolution to deal with a hegemonist neighbor that had already given unequivocal signals that he would not accept an unanswered challenge on his southern border; ability to build broad political and social alliances; and realistic vision to adopt commercial and operational cooperation agreements, adjusted to the country’s capabilities at those moments when the revolutionary project is taking off.

Faced with this picture of expectations, with a weak diplomatic presence of Cuba in Asia and Africa, without all the prior information that today we know is vital for these missions of opening relations, with members of the delegation who were also new to these issues. , one can understand why some authors describe the results by country as unequal. Che also admits and explains it, in a press conference, on September 9, 1959, with his usual honesty and critical and self-critical sense, two vital ethical traits for those days.

Why remember this first international mission of Che? Among other reasons that are also relevant, because it showed in practice how the objectives of the foreign policy of a State in the process of revolutionary transformation, and those related to its external or international projection, can and should be combined in unison.

Evoking these reasons, and specifying their political and state results, also seeks a practical objective: to show the degree of relevance (validity) and, above all, the validity (usefulness) of the style of action and the ability to build wide-ranging relationships. spectrum developed by Che and his delegation, beyond the context that Cuba had in June 1959: a very weak diplomatic and political presence in Africa and Asia, lack of cadres knowledgeable about those still “distant cultures”, and the pressure that felt on their backs, due to the hostility of the United States, as the delegation was able to confirm more than once. The latter is a reality that prevails.

Che’s creativity and ability to perceive what is essential for Cuba in each country; the humility to identify the potential teachings that each of them could contribute; the understanding of the interrelation of interests between former African and Asian colonies with the realities lived in Cuba and Latin America and the Caribbean; the precise identification of the causes that impoverished some and others by virtue of the profits of a few countries; and the resulting conviction that only through united struggle could progress be made in the emancipatory processes, come to life for the Cuban Revolution in the current global geopolitical context.

One of the elements of validity of the mission that is useful to rescue today is the following: the intense political and State agenda carried out by Che and his delegation in ten Afro-Asian countries showed a relationship of strict continuity with the style of doing politics that Fidel Castro had developed successfully during his first international tours through Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and the USA, between January 23 and April 1959.

For them there was no governmental or non-governmental, political or social, business or communication sector of subordinate importance during their respective stops. For both, promoting the ideas of the Revolution, gaining followers and blocking the way for the former’s enemies were objectives of permanent and simultaneous priority. Influencing and adding seemed to be the goals of all-round value.

Such a coincidence was not fortuitous, it resulted from the unity of political and ideological criteria, shared ethical values ​​and convergent styles of action between both leading figures of the Revolution, just when the country’s internal and external policies were in the process of gestation and development. , both in terms of programmatic content, and in the field of searches for the most appropriate institutional forms for its particular historical and geopolitical context.

Fidel and Che – it is key to emphasize this at this point –, since that night in July 1955, when they spoke for the first time and the Argentine became the second Granma expeditionary, they forged a paradigmatic relationship of friendship and unity in action. political, cultured and ethical principles that would be well worth studying and understanding better, especially when analyzing particular situations like the one at hand.

Demonstrating what has been expressed in a summary manner constitutes the central objective of this text. The evidentiary arguments will be provided by Che himself: they are contained in the press conference he offered on September 9, hours after his return to Cuba (Part II), as well as in the testimonies he wrote for Verde Olivo weeks later (Part III /Final), between October 5 and November 16, all conceived with training objectives for the members of the Rebel Army, their prioritized recipient at that time.

However, the final scope or meaning was greater: he bequeathed key experiences for all those who intend to defend the Revolution in the international arena.

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