The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.60/No.9           March 4, 1996 
Political Weapons For Today's Fighters
Remarks by editor of Guevara's `Episodes' at Havana book launching  

The following are the remarks by Mary-Alice Waters presented at a public meeting at the Havana book fair on February 10, which launched two books by Cuban revolutionary leaders. The first title is Pombo: un hombre de la guerrilla del Che (Pombo: A Man of Che's Guerrilla) by Harry Villegas, also known as Pombo, brigadier general in the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba. It was published in Spanish by Editora Política of Havana. The second book is Ernesto Che Guevara's Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, recently published in a new English-language edition by Pathfinder Press of New York. Waters is the editor of Episodes as well as of The Bolivian Diary of Ernesto Che Guevara published by Pathfinder in 1994.


On behalf of Pathfinder I would like to thank Editora Política, compañero Pombo, and all of you, for the opportunity to participate in this launching, an event which is so full of history.

The books that are being launched here today are not what is commonly perceived as history books dealing with the past, however important that past may be. They are political weapons for today and tomorrow. They not only testify to the qualities of the fighters of the past, they also demand to be used by the fighters of the present and future.

Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War and Pombo: A Man of Che's Guerrilla are and will remain weapons for new generations born many years after the battles and struggles in the Sierra Maestra that forged the cadres who were capable of, and - even more important - dared to, lead an armed insurrection of the fighting people of Cuba:

The example Cuba provides the world, both in the past and today, is the capacity of ordinary men and women to transform themselves as they struggle to change the world.

Those who dared to storm heaven
Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, written in Che's clear and eloquent words, is the story of ordinary human beings who dared to storm the heavens, to borrow a phrase from Marx's tribute to the self-sacrificing toilers who brought the revolutionary Paris Commune into being.

So, to those who have been asking us why Pathfinder has published this book today, our answer is simple: because it is needed.

It is needed by working people and youth in countries like the United States who are not only looking for answers to the growing problems they face, who are not only trying to figure out how to resist, to fight back, but also - and most important - to develop the capacities and virtues that will allow them to win. In order to continue that effort day after day they have to know what a revolutionary is; what qualities are at the core of a revolutionary's life.

We live in a world dominated by sharpening competition between the imperialist countries, a blind force that compels them:

We see growing social polarization and the new rise of fascist currents in the imperialist countries, including in the United States.

Sixty thousand troops under the command of the imperialist NATO alliance, dominated by the Yankee colossus, are occupying combat-ready positions in Central Europe, on Yugoslav territory. They are not there to maintain peace; going in was one thing, getting out will be another.

Crisis-ridden imperialism
This is a world where many people - above all a new generation for whom crisis-ridden imperialism in its long and convulsive decline is the only reality they have known - are beginning to look for answers, for better ways to fight back.

And as they do this, they are attracted to those they see vilified, slandered, and embargoed by the same powers they themselves are learning to detest.

Naturally, their eyes begin to turn toward Cuba. Workers on strike in the United States who read the lies in the press about their own fight, and know they are lies, begin to be open to consider the evidence that those same forces also lie about Cuba.

These workers begin to ask themselves why Cuba is so hated by the same people who are trying to crush them, why the Cuban people are the target of economic warfare waged by the empire to the north.

And they want to know how Cuba has been able to resist, to stand up to Washington so effectively, for so many decades.

This is the world context in which books like Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, and Pombo's account of the struggle in Bolivia, are so needed - as much to answer these questions as to show concretely how and why the Cuban revolution triumphed and has endured; to show how young fighters successfully charted a road to power against seemingly insuperable odds.

This book - with its 32 pages of photos, battle sketches, lists of weaponry and orders of battle, extensive political chronology and glossary - captures the reality of the massive social struggle of that time and makes more understandable today this decisive stage of the Cuban revolution.

Without the help of many of you who are present here this afternoon, this book would not have been possible. And for that we thank you profoundly.

Sold at schools, factories, picket lines
In the United States, this book will be sold not only in bookstores but also:

And it will be sold at similar activities in other countries around the world as well.

As the introduction says:

"This book is dedicated to a new generation of fighters around the world for whom the example of the Cuban revolution and the line of march of its victorious Rebel Army still show the way."

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