MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Seeking the Real Fidel
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:039

#7 Sierra Meastra
#8 Power is the Group
#9 The Argentine
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#7 Sierra Meastra
It smarts, how easily we're beaten in a sugar cane field in Algria del Pio; see how our revolutionaries fall like skittles to Batista's men. They hack us into quarters. Twenty dead, twenty-one captured and sent to prison; twenty-one escape and go home, and the rest of us like whipped curs, pissing with fear, tails between our legs, retreat up into the mountains. Beaten by Batista's air force and army. Laughable. We need that discipline. I learn to change, adapt, turn defeat into the first step to success. Peasants support us. We become guerrillas. We train, rehearse, discuss, learn how to be men in a man's world Celia is a man too, more man than I. Lenin's words about the proletariat finally make sense, reading them in the cold mountains, sense they couldn't make in the soft city. I'm sure I dream his dreams. The Revolution is imminent. The Revolution never ends. We engage the enemy on our terms now, strike and flee. The army comes for the summer during the winter we make plans. We weld ourselves into a unit designed and tuned to make revolutionary war. We stake all we've gained on one last battle at the end of the second summer, at Jigue and three hundred rebels defeat ten thousand soldiers. Now I know we have the army.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:039

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#8 Power is the Group
We, the 26th of July leadership team work uneasily with the other factions, Revolutionary Directorate and Second Front; we stay ahead of independent little guerrilla armies by executing them. The enemy has weapons. We take them. We levy tax on goods, mostly sugar; businessmen pay voluntary taxes in advance to fund our revolution. Wealthy landowners beg the Yanquis to stop the fighting in Cuba, support a new rule without Dictator Batista or Communist Castro. At the same time they beg me to let them harvest their sugar. USA withdraws support of Batista's dictatorship; he flees. Denied entry to American territory. I shake hands with the army, two whole troops revolt and join the rebel groups as we enter Santiago. Soldiers, rebels and citizens in a revolutionary coup d'etat. Already the CIA conspires against me and against the army, and all the factions including the communists conspire against each other, and against me. I harness and drive them all for the Revolution. They can't do just as they please. My temper flares violently when I'm opposed. They stop me from setting fire to Santiago; I make it the new capital instead proclaim a new president for Cuba then head down Central Highway, my Sherman tank leading the convoy. Now Batista's forces are defeated I'm already worrying about how to create the next substantial enemy, to keep the Revolution engaged and strong. Yoruba's supreme god blesses me when two doves land on my shoulder.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:039

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#9 The Argentine
What can I say about Che? From the time Raul brings us together, 1955, Mexico City where we're organizing the Revolution he wants to join in, and I'm impressed. He's always in the action, he's a doctor but not mine, knows Marx/Lenin theory and he's a cold-blooded killer too. I swing between pride and jealousy. Always scribbling in his notebooks. He and Raul together are dangerous but I can control Raul. They want Cuba with Communism and I don't want the Revolution to end. It's my Revolution. Che may understand why I keep him running around the world with cases of bribe cigars, the Revolutionary pin-up boy; my only mission is to protect the Cuban people. I mustn't lose control. There's a lot of work to do; I keep him busy. There's no Communist Party of Cuba until 1961, when I need to play the Russians against the CIA and the USA who don't necessarily work together. I won't hand Cuba over to them. Che the brilliant guerrilla commander, men adore him. Latins are always looking for miracle workers to follow; his asthma makes him vulnerable, they love him more. I make deals with anonymous dealers. I am the world's most popular politician, I am Communism's strongest modern icon more attractive, more original than Kennedy but the world's most famous photograph is of him. By the time that Korda picture is sold, cropped and used, Che is already dead. He surrenders to the enemy. A traitor. He has to die. The Revolution needs a martyr. They send his hands. Later they find the rest of his body; beside it the tobacco pouch from his final smoke. I had to give up my cigars. I dream of smoking. I bring his body back from Bolivia eventually.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:039

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#7 Sierra Meastra
#8 Power is the Group
#9 The Argentine

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