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.
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.
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
Ciro Bustos was 26 and at his in-laws' house for a barbecue one spring Sunday in 1958 when he first heard the voice. It belonged to a fellow Argentinian, a doctor four years his senior who was fighting alongside Fidel Castro in the mountains of south-eastern Cuba.
As he listened to the radio, the young artist was struck by the contrast between the grandiloquence of the Cuban and the quiet, almost apologetic tones of the Argentinian.
"The way Che spoke, the way he answered questions, was totally different from Castro," says Ciro, whose recollection of the broadcast has not been blunted by the intervening half-century.
"There was no bombast, no prima donna attitude. It was like talking to your brother, so normal and so calm. That was what moved me so much."
The interview Radio El Mundo carried that Sunday proved a siren call. Che Guevara's voice – and the political struggle he embodied – would lead Bustos to Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Algeria and back to Argentina before the disastrous Bolivia expedition of 1967 that would cost Che his life and blacken Bustos's name for four decades.
Until publication of his new memoir, Che Wants to See You, Bustos had been seen by many as the man who betrayed Guevara and his brothers-in-arms by sketching their faces for his interrogators, who caught him after he marched out of the Bolivian jungle on Guevara's orders.