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Che Predicts "Two, Three, Many Vietnams"

While earning his medical degree, Argentine-born Che Guevara (1928-1967) traveled throughout Latin America and saw firsthand the impoverished conditions of the majority of its people. Believing that a Marxist revolution was the only solution to the region's problems, in 1956 he joined Fidel Castro and other Cuban revolutionaries in their guerilla campaign to overthrow Batista Fulgencia. After the Batista regime fell to the rebels on January 1, 1959, Guevara became a key leader in Castro's communist government. In this excerpt from his message to the newly-formed Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Guevara stresses the importance of continuing the revolutionary struggle in oppressed regions throughout the world, and imagines a scenario in which "two, three, many Vietnams" serve to undermine U.S. hegemony.

 ….The fundamental field of imperialist exploitation compromises the three underdeveloped continents: America, Asia, and Africa.  Every country also has its own characteristics, but each continent, as a whole, also presents a certain unity.  Our America is integrated by a group of more or less homogeneous [similar] countries, and in most parts of its territory U.S. monopoly capital maintains an absolute supremacy.  Puppet governments, or, in the best cases, weak and fearful local rulers, are incapable of contradicting orders from their Yankee master….

But almost every country of [Latin America] is ripe for a type of struggle that, in order to achieve victory, cannot be content with anything less than establishing a government of a socialist nature….There is also such a great similarity among the classes of the different countries that an identification exists among them, as an “international American” type, much more complete than that of other continents.  Language, customs, religion, a common foreign master––unite them….And rebellion is ripening swiftly….

We must not underrate our adversary; the US soldier has technical capacity and is backed by weapons and resources of such magnitude as to render him formidable.  He lacks the essential ideological motivation which his bitterest enemies of today––the Vietnamese soldiers––have in highest degree.  We will only be able to triumph over such an army by undermining its morale––and that is accomplished by causing it repeated defeats and repeated punishment….

What a luminous, near future would be visible to us if two, three, or many Vietnams flourished throughout the world with their share of death and their immense tragedies, their everyday heroism and their repeated blows against imperialism obliging it to disperse its forces under the attack and the increasing hatred of all the peoples of the earth!...

Source | Ernesto "Che" Guevara, "Message to the Tricontinental: Create two, three... many Vietnams," (Havana, Cuba: the Executive Secretariat for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America) 16 April 1967; from Robert H. Holden and Eric Zolov, Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 242-43.
Creator | Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Item Type | Article/Essay
Cite This document | Ernesto "Che" Guevara, “Che Predicts "Two, Three, Many Vietnams",” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed November 13, 2018, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/518.

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