Com­rades and broth­ers

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

was worth the pos­si­bil­ity of “mil­lions of atomic war vic­tims”.

In 1965 Che dis­ap­peared from Cuba and spent a brief and un­suc­cess­ful pe­riod con­duct­ing guerilla ac­tiv­i­ties in the Congo. In late 1966 he joined a guerilla cam­paign against the Bo­li­vian regime but was cap­tured and killed by gov­ern­ment troops in Oc­to­ber 1967.

Che’s brother quotes from a farewell let­ter that Che wrote ear­lier to his par­ents: “This let­ter might be the last. I do not seek death but it is part of the log­i­cal cal­cu­lus of prob­a­bil­i­ties. If so, may this let­ter be a last embrace.”

Che, My Brother is in part a fam­ily his­tory, go­ing back sev­eral gen­er­a­tions, and con­tains many photos from Che’s child­hood and ado­les­cence. His brother was 15 years younger and ob­vi­ously idolised Che, although he is on stronger ground when deal­ing with the facts than in set­ting up his sib­ling as a po­lit­i­cal philoso­pher: “The Marx­ist bea­con of the 21st cen­tury will be Che. He iden­ti­fied and sig­nalled the events that have since oc­curred, the cur­rent un­re­solved calami­ties. He is a thinker of the fu­ture de­spite the fact that he died in 1967.” Not so, as it turns out.

This book is nat­u­rally hos­tile to the US but it must be ac­knowl­edged that the poli­cies of suc­ces­sive US ad­min­is­tra­tions to­wards the Cas­tro regime were hardly mod­els of com­mon sense, and is not sur­pris­ing Cas­tro re­sented a se­ries of at­tempts to have him as­sas­si­nated dur­ing the John F. Kennedy pe­riod.

One in­ter­est­ing part of the book con­cerns the au­thor’s im­pris­on­ment for eight years in Ar­gentina from the mid-1970s.

Af­ter the mil­i­tary coup in March 1976 there was in ef­fect a civil war, al­beit a rather one-sided one, with some­where be­tween 10,000 and 30,000 peo­ple killed by mem­bers of the armed forces. Martin and his wife, who was also in prison for the same pe­riod, were lucky to sur­vive; her par­ents did not.

On the sub­ject of in­car­cer­a­tion, Stephen

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