About this blog

Venezuela: translating the revolution aims to promote solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution by providing translations of interesting and important Venezuelan news articles and opinion pieces. It welcomes genuine discussion and debate on the posted articles.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Che Guevara - the fourth fool

The following is my translation of a recent article posted on the Un Grano de Maiz blogsite. Un Grano de Maiz articles are also published daily in a very popular column in Diario Vea, a mass, pro-revolution newspaper. The column's frequent reiteration of ethical themes aims at eroding the “egoism” that is both deep and widespread in Venezuelan mass consciousness, primarily owing to Venezuela’s century-long economic dependency on oil exports and the ideological reflection of that dependency in a “rentier consciousness”. 

Readers might be interested to find that there is now an English language version of Un Grano de Maiz, where many, but not all of its recent posts are available (Un Grano de Maiz).

The fourth fool 

Bolivar once said, “Christ, Quixote and I – history’s three fools”. Che Guevara, in the cold Bolivian jungle, could be considered the fourth.
The truth is, the highest rung of the human species, that of the revolutionary, the fool, is reserved for those stubborn about the goal of building worlds for love, for those who in doing so stake their lives.

To be a fool is the highest honour a human being can aspire, reserved for those who reach the highest peaks of revolutionary zeal, it’s a level created by that self same Liberator.

We know not if Che considered himself a member of this select group…. It doesn’t matter. Without a doubt, he is the fourth fool.

Che was an exalted revolutionary. He wanted to change the whole world; his goal was humanity, a goal that outstripped the tiny earth. Asia, Africa, America, Europe, was the theater of operations for his theory and practice. He criticised and struggled throughout humanity, developing theory to change the world.

Great minds think great thoughts. They have the ability to answer the fundamental problems of human existence. They are not limited; their purview is the whole planet.

Courageous Che questioned the ways of “actually existing socialism”, both Soviet and Chinese, but not as an excuse to go back to the shameful refuge of capitalism, but to venture forth into the future. He devised a theoretical compass to guide humanity in this necessary voyage.

His life is an example, his theory an obligatory azimuth. A revolution not deeply steeped in Che’s ideas is unthinkable.

There is no socialism that does not comply with Che’s commandments, which are the same commandments as all the fools:

Love one another. This command of Christ, that comes to us through two thousand years of history and remains just as vital, has guided revolutionaries, fools.

The spiritual over the material. Che based all his theory on the idea that Socialism isn’t a material thing. It’s above all a spiritual act.

Friendship over hate. Che, guided by the teachings of [Cuban independence leader Jose] Marti, emphasized that it is only love that builds. Let’s remember his idea that the true revolutionary is guided by deep feelings of love.

Offering one’s life, loyal to the cause of the poor. Loyalty is an indispensable condition in the revolutionary undertaking - loyalty to principles, and the people who embody them.

A big dose of craziness. Leaping into the void without a safety net. The revolutionary act, essentially unscripted, requires a craziness to dare it, to cut adrift from one’s moorings in habit, and to plunge into the dizzying whirl of high altitude flight.

To aspire more to service than to glory. The revolutionary plays God, while at the same time retaining the humility to recognize they are a part of the whole. 


  1. Very moving. Thanks for sharing that with us Owen. Let this be the yeast that makes the revolutionary bread rise...

  2. I love your blog! Comrade Marce is right. Quite moving. Keep fighting the good fight comrade!

  3. Excellent material, thank you. For those of us wishing to improve our grasp of the Spanish language, would it be possible for you to provide the Spanish originals as well, please?

  4. Thanks for the kind comments, folks. Here is the link to the original: