Address of Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz, Prime Minister of the Communist Party of Cuba and Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana on October 3rd, 1965Published on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Che’s assassination for the CIA, on October 9th, 1967

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The farewell letter of Commandante Ernesto Che Guevara was read by Fidel Castro on October 3rd, 1965 in Havana, in front of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and before the cameras. After his return from Africa in February 1965, the Che disappeared from the public scene without official explanation, causing questions in Cuba and especially abroad. The rumors evoked disputes between Fidel and the Che, and even a real purge. This letter, written by the hand of the Che, proves the unfounded character of these calumnies, which the reactionaries (and pseudo-revolutionaries) continue to propagate to this day in order to discredit Cuba.

Even before the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, Che, a convinced internationalist, had pledged himself alongside Fidel Castro on the condition of being free to pursue his revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggle under other heavens after the Victory in Cuba. His experiences in Congo and Bolivia were known only after his death, with the publication of his War Diaries by the Cuban government.

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[…] There is an absence in our central committee of one who possess all the merits and all the virtues in the highest degree to belong to it and who, however, is not along the members of the central committee. 

Around this the enemy had been able to weave a thousand conjectures. The enemy has tried to confuse and to sow discord and doubt. And patiently, because it was necessary to wait, we have waited. That is the difference between the revolutionary and the counterrevolutionary, between the revolutionary and the imperialist. We revolutionaries know how to wait. We know how to have patience. We never despair and the reactionaries, the counterrevolutionaries, the imperialists continue in perennial desperation.
They live in perennial anguish, in a perennial lying of the most ridiculous, of the most childish. When we read some of the things about those officials, come of those Yankee senators, one asks: “But how is it possible that this gentlemen is not in a stable instead of belonging to what is called a “Congress.” (applause) Some of them speak veritable barbarities. Any they have a tremendous habit of lying. They cannot live without lying. They live in anguish. If the revolutionary does something, which is what Cuba was always going, such as that to which I referred at the beginning, they see truculent things, terrible things, a plan behind all that. How ridiculous. In what fear, they live.
One asks oneself: “Do they believe that?: “Do they believe that?: “Could they believe all they say?” “Do they have a need to believe all they say or can they not live without believing all they say or do they say all that they do not believe?” It is difficult. It would be a question for doctors and psychologists. What do they have in this minds? What anguish is that? They see a maneuver in everything, a truculent, dark, terrible plan. And they do no know that there is not better tactic, nor a better strategy than to fight with clean weapons, than to fight with the truth, because those are the only weapons which inspire trust. They are the only weapons which inspire faith. They are the only weapons which inspire safety, moral dignity. And it has been with those weapons that we revolutionaries have been vanquishing and crushing our enemies.
You will never here a lie from the mouth of a revolutionary. There are weapons which do not benefit any revolutionary, and no serious revolutionary needs to resort to lies–ever. His weapon is reason, (word indistinct), the truth, the ability to have an idea, a purpose, a position; in short, the moral spectacle of our adversaries in truly lamentable. And thus, the diviners, the interpreters, the specialists in Cuban affairs, and the electronic brains have been working incessantly to solve this mystery, whether Ernesto Guevara has been purges, (applause) whether Ernesto Guevara was ill, whether Ernesto Guevara had had differences, and other questions of the same ilk.
Naturally, the people have confidence. The people have faith, but enemies will say these things, especially abroad, to slander him and the communist regime, dark, terrible things: men disappear, they do not leave a trace; they do not leave prints; there is no explanation; and we told the people at this time, when the people began to note this absence, that in due time we would talk. We would have some reasons to wait, we are developing surrounded by the forces of imperialism.
The world is not living in normal conditions. As long as the criminal bombs of Yankee imperialists are falling on the people of Vietnam, we cannot say that we are living under normal conditions. When more than 100,000 Yankee soldiers land there to try to smash the liberation movement, when the soldiers of imperialism land in a republic which has equality of rights, judicially, as do all the rest of the republic of the worlds, as in Santo Domingo, to trample its sovereignty, (applause) the world if not living under normal conditions. When around our country, the imperialists are training mercenaries and organizing vandalic attacks, in the most unpunished manner, as in the case of (few words indistinct), when the imperialists threaten to intervene in any country of Latin America or of the world, we are not living under normal conditions.
And when we were fighting in clandestine conditions against the Batista tyranny, we revolutionaries did not live in normal conditions. We had to adjust to the struggle. In the same way, although the revolutionary power exists in our country, in regard to the realities of the world, we do not live in normal conditions, and we shall have to adjust to this situation. And to explain this, we are going to read a letter here, in handwriting, here copied by typewriter, from Comrade Ernesto Guevara, (applause) which is self-explanatory.
I thought of telling the story of our friendship and our comradeship, how it began, under what conditions it began and how it developed, but it is not necessary. I am going to restrict myself to reading the letter. It says:
Havana–The date was not written down because this letter was to be read at the moment we felt it most convenient, but keeping to strict reality, it was delivered on 1 April of this year, exactly six months and two days ago, and it says the following:

Havana, Year of Agriculture [1965].


At this moment I remember many things: the day I met you in the house of Maria Antonia, when you asked me to come with you [to participate in the Cuban Revolution] and all the tension of the preparations.

One day they came by to ask who should be notified in case of death, and the real possibility of this (death) struck us all. Thereafter, we knew it was true, and that in a revolution one triumphs or dies, if it is true. Many comrades fell on the road to victory.

Today, everything has a less dramatic tone, because we are more mature; but the event repeats itself. I feel like I have accomplished the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban revolution in its territory, and I take my leave of you, of the comrades, of your people who is now also mine.

I formally resign my positions in the leadership of the Party, my position as Minister, my rank of Commander and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me no longer to Cuba, except the links of another kind that cannot be broken, unlike titles or ranks.

Reviewing my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient honesty and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only fault of some seriousness, is not having had more confidence in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra and not having been able to discern quickly your qualities of leader and revolutionary.

I have lived magnificent days, and I felt at your side the pride of belonging to our people in the luminous yet sad days of the Caribbean [Missile] crisis. Rarely, a head of state was as bright as you were in these circumstances. I am also proud to have followed you without hesitation, to have fully adhered to your way of thinking, and to have been able to see and appreciate the dangers and principles the way you did. 

Other nations of the world summon my modest efforts of assistance. I can do what is denied to you due to your responsibility at the head of Cuba, and the time has come to part.

Know that I do it with a mixture of joy and pain. I leave here the purest of my hopes as a constructor and the dearest of all the ones I love. And I leave a people who adopted me like a son. It tears a part of my soul. On the new battlefields, I will bring the faith that you inculcated me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of accomplishing the most sacred of duties: fighting against imperialism wherever it may be. It comforts and heals advantageously the deepest wounds.

I repeat once again that I free Cuba from all responsibility, except that which emanates from its example. If one day, in other lands, occurs to me the fateful hour (of martyrdom), my last thought will be for this people and especially for you.

Thank you for your teachings and your example to whom I will try to stay true to the last consequence of my actions. I was always in total agreement with the foreign policy of our Revolution, and I still am. Wherever I find myself, I will always feel upon me the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary, and I will behave as such. I leave nothing material to my children and to my wife, and this does not grieve me. I am happy that it is so. I ask nothing for them, because I know that the State will give them what they need to live and get an instruction.

I have much to say to you and to our people, but I feel that it is useless, because words cannot express what I would like to say, and it’s not worth blackening more paper.

Until victory, always.

Homeland or Death !

I embrace you with all my revolutionary fervor.

(Signed 🙂 Che.”