Camilo Guevara March Always Said "El Che"

Camilo Guevara March Always Said "El Che"
Fecha de publicación: 
31 August 2022
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The merit was never to be the eldest son of Che Guevara and Aleida March. The merit was not to carry through life the name of Camilo Cienfuegos, the commander of the eternal smile, the brother-in-arms of the Heroic Guerrilla Fighter. The merit was not having inherited that face and that voice that reminded him of his father.


The merit was being himself, Camilo, "El Cabe," the jokin Cuban with a sincere smile, and sometimes, at least, a frown due to some annoyance or temporary mishap. Friend of his friends, great father of his daughters, loving husband, obedient and rebellious son of his mother, the brother of his blood brothers and of all those to whom he opened his good heart, the one bent on not beating anymore.


Camilo's greatest merit was being part of that united tribe of the Guevara March family, children who at first did not understand why their father was not there, why Fidel was their uncle, why they had to walk indoors in that family home, almost a fortress, where from time to time some imbecile would pass taking photos to see if he captured one of them as a trophy for the yellow press.


And so, they grew marked by the powerful shadow of Che, and the tremendous efforts of the loving Aleida, so that they would grow as he had asked Fidel in his farewell letter to immortality: «... here I leave (...) the most dear among my loved ones… That I don't leave my children and my wife anything material and I'm not ashamed: I'm glad that's the way it is. That I don’t ask anything for them because the State will give them enough to live and educate themselves…”


That’s how he was. Camilo and his brothers studied like all Cuban children. And they grew up with more first names than last names, sometimes cloaked in the secrecy of their own identities. Little by little, they came to know the truth of their lives, and they read each at their own moment, and in their own way they interpreted that farewell letter:


To my children

Dear Hildita, Aleidita, Camilo, Celia and Ernesto,


If you read this letter one day, it will mean that I am no longer alive. You will hardly remember me, and the smallest among you will have entirely forgotten me.


Your father was a man who acted as he thought best and who has been absolutely faithful to his convictions. Grow up into good revolutionaries. Study hard to master technique, which gives you mastery over nature.


Remember that it is the Revolution which is important and that each of us, taken in isolation, is worth nothing. Above all be sensitive, in the deepest areas of yourselves, to any injustice committed against whoever it may be anywhere in the world.


Yours always, my children. I hope to see you again.

A big kiss and a big hug from Dad.



It’s difficult for Camilo Guevara to remember that man in olive green with a sparse beard who hugged him with so much love in the family photos. He was a pioneer and many times he had to repeat that slogan born in 1967: "We will be like Che." Perhaps at the beginning, at six years old, he couldn't be certain that he promised to be like his own father.


However, he knew how to achieve it with the greatest humility in the world. His unconditional love for Cuba, his love for photography, his dedication to work at Che Guevara Center, run by his mother, and there all the effort to rescue and make known in Cuba and worldwide the incredible photographic work of his father, it was —it is— his best tribute.


"Cabe" (as his closest acquaintances called him) had a fine Creole humor and adoration for children. One of the many times we shared together, about 15 years ago, he played a prank on my Laura, who was very small at the time. When I introduced him to her, a confusion was made and he turned that into a joke: "Camilo and his wife," I said to Laurita, pointing at them, and he, squeezing his eternal tobacco in his mouth and smiling candidly, pointed to Rosa, his wife, and said: «yes, this is Camilo and I am his wife». From that day on, until today, every time we met, Laurita called him Camilo-wife, and he would return her father's unmistakable smile.


Photo of the author during his last meeting with Camilo.


The last time we saw each other was last May at Che Center with a Russian journalist. When arranging the interview, Camilo warned me: "if it’s to talk about the Center and its work, yes, but only for that." During the meeting, the Russian tried several times to talk about "Che's son," and Camilo, who speaks Pushkin's language well, because he studied in Moscow, would not let him finish the question: "Hey, this one got out of line." agreed," he told me, and right there, as Fidel did, he returned to the topic that interested him.


That day, and every time that in one way or another something about his father came into our conversations, I never heard Camilo refer to him in any other way than: "El Che." It's obvious that he always kept his dad well inside. Just for him.


Relax, Cabe. In your own way, without much ado, revolutionary Cuban of this time, you too were like him.

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