The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
The Call to Armed Struggle
Anonymous, Sinclair Thomson, 2018. "The Call to Armed Struggle", The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Sinclair Thomson, Rossana Barragán, Xavier Albó, Seemin Qayum, Mark Goodale
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Che Guevara’s sober, detailed diary of the Bolivian guerrilla campaign is well known. Virtually unknown is another document delineating the political program of his movement. The authorship is somewhat unclear: the text is unsigned and written in the name of a still nameless group. It was drafted before military actions were launched in late March 1967, and before the group had taken the name of the Army of National Liberation (eln). Its content was quite likely shaped by discussions among Che and his other comrades, Bolivian and foreign. General Jaime Niño de Guzmán, the pilot of the helicopter that operated in the antiguerrilla operations, said that after his capture, Che gave him a small booklet containing the declaration, which was written in the guerrilla leader’s own handwriting. A transcription was published for the first time in the weekly Bolivian Times in April 1998. The document is highly significant as it is the most explicit statement of the movement’s political vision and objectives. It reveals that Guevara was aware from the first that the odds were stacked against the guerrillas. It also confirms his broad regional perspective on the struggle. What is most original is the program’s attention to national cultural concerns, for example, to the right of ethnic groups to exercise a role in democratic governance and to the role of education in native languages.