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Che Wants to See You: The Untold Story of Che Guevara

Riveting memoir of revolution in South America by Che Guevara’s Argentine lieutenant

Ciro Bustos was Che Guevara’s Argentinian lieutenant, fighting beside El Comandante in Bolivia. Here, for the first time, Bustos tells his story.

As a young man, with plans for a career as an artist, he was inspired by the Cuban example, and in particular by the bravery and revolutionary zeal of his compatriot Che Guevara. Bustos went to Havana, was recruited to the cause, and returned to Argentina determined to foment revolution, an ambition that resulted in the disastrous Salta expedition of 1964, in which most of the guerrillas were killed or captured. Bustos’s account of the debacle finally sets the record straight; he was lucky to get out alive.

It was not until 1966 that Bustos was contacted by the Cubans once again and told, ‘Che wants to see you.’ Travelling under false papers, Bustos crossed the border into Bolivia, where Che was in hiding with his guerrilla forces. Che made Bustos his confidante, revealing to him his plans for a continental revolution. The two men shared the hardships of life in the jungle, as the Bolivian forces and the CIA closed in on their camp.

When fighting began, Bustos attempted to escape with Régis Debray only to be captured by local forces and interrogated by the CIA. In this fascinating memoir, Ciro Bustos reveals what really happened in Bolivia in 1967 and who was responsible for Che’s execution.

Reviews

  • “The account of an extraordinary period in contemporary history in which thousands of young men and women around the world, inspired by Che Guevara and his Cuban comrades, believed they could change the world through armed revolution … the journal of a life lived to the limit in pursuit of an ideal, with all of its consequences.”
  • “The last vital element that completes the jigsaw of Che Guevara’s extraordinary life. This long-awaited book is both an important contribution to history and a gripping read.”
  • “With insights and recollections that are useful in filling gaps in the Guevara legend, this volume will be valuable for comprehensive collections on Guevara and the revolution he sought …”
  • “Bustos's powers of observation and critical commentary make this required reading for both historians of revolution and future world-changers.”
  • “A former Cuban intelligence operative and member of Che Guevara's ill-fated Bolivian insurgency … Bustos extols Guevara's sacrificial utopianism and historical fatalism.”
  • “A fascinating read, a beautifully written and melancholy tribute to the energy and madness that drove Che to help Castro to overthrow Batista in Cuba and led to his death in Bolivia... Bustos does something else, too: he writes with real passion about what it was to be a child of the revolution in South America - the excitement, the glamour, the allure of trying to bring down capitalism - in that time as red in tooth and claw as can be”

Blog

  • An interview with François Maspero: ‘A few misunderstandings’

    In commemoration of the death of author and publisher François Maspero, who passed away on Saturday, April 11 at the age of 83. Verso presents this translated interview with the founder of Éditions Maspero, the publishing house which has served as an inspiration for radical left publishing since the fifties.

    François Maspero (19 January 1932 – 11 April 2015)

    We see the publisher François Maspero as having played a leading role in ‘smuggling across’ the communist and anti-colonial thought of the postwar period and preserving its heritage. Indeed, Éditions Maspero is an unavoidable reference point for any discussion of critical publishing in France. Maspero’s output was the theatre of important debates on the far Left in the 1960s and 1970s, and played a pioneering role in many fields. It was Maspero who published Fanon, the political writings of Baldwin, Malcolm X and Che, anthologies of classic labour-movement works, Althusser’s ‘Théorie’ collection, the journal Partisans… We wanted to ask him about his project and the editorial ambitions that he had at the time. Here we reproduce what he calls an ‘attempt at a response’ to our questions.

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  • Uprisings in South America: A reading list



    As neoliberal policies and monetary hegemony continue to dominate around the globe, protests for democracy and against the political elite are widespread. With the start of the World Cup in Brazil it is, yet again, kicking off everywhere.

    Riot police fired percussion grenades and teargas at anti-World Cup protesters in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday as the countdown to the kick-off was marred by demonstrations in at least 10 Brazilian cities. Just hours before the opening ceremony at the Itaquerão stadium, about 100 protesters started fires and threw rocks at police in an apparent attempt to block a road leading to the venue.

    The "Our Cup is on the Street" protests are targeting the high cost of the stadiums, corruption, police brutality and evictions. "The World Cup steals money from healthcare, education and the poor. The homeless are being forced from the streets. This is not for Brazil, it's for the tourists," said Denize Adriana Ferreira in this Guardian report.

    The following reading list from Verso suggests books to help us understand the multifaceted histories of uprising in Central and South America, as well as the anti-world cup protests.

    Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague

    by Marc Perelman


    What does hosting the World Cup really mean for Brazil? Marc Perelman explores this, and more, in Barbaric Sport.

    Boycott Football and Fifa - read his piece on the world cup here.

    Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of A New Architecture
    by Justin McGuirk


    Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving. 

    'We want FIFA standard schools and hospitals' - what the World Cup means for Rio: read an extract from Radical Cities here.

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  • 2013 Highlights from Verso Books

    From scaling the very highest rooftops to political scandal through the eyes of Alexander Cockburn, we bring you our seasonal highlights for 2013.

    THE CITY / URBAN EXPLORATION



     
    Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
    Bradley L. Garrett

    "Garrett perceives the city like no one else I know. Seen through his eyes, it is newly porous, full of “vanishing points”, “imperfect joinings” and portals – service hatches, padlocked doorways – that you wouldn't usually notice... The city's accessible space extends far down into the earth (sewers, bunkers, tunnels) and far up into the air (skyscrapers, cranes), with the street level only serving as a median altitude." – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian 

    "[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places." – Rowan Moore, The Observer Architecture Books of the Year

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