CHE IN CONGO

A DREAM OF LIBERATION

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Luis Mariano Musteilier (General/retired)

CODENAME: Positivo

 

On his role in the rescue mission

I am very proud that I was chosen as one of the people to rescue Che. I was happy to have done that. Even when we escorted him from Kigoma to Dar Es salam. I have never spoken about this, I’ve never made an interview about it. I saved this story deep in my soul, in my heart. So now I am talking with you, because Manolin called me. I am proud to be one of the men. One of the few Cubans to have the opportunity.

 

On Che Guevara

Che was a very humble, very simple, very modest person. Dedicated to work, dedicated to fight. Dedicated to improve the life of others. That was him....That's the point of a leader, if a leader wants to help the people, restore values with this people, to share with this people he has to behave like that. This is the only way.

 

When they arrived to Dar es salam, Che was lying in bed, he was having an asthma attack. We were watching to keep the place safe, but at the same time we would go inside to ask him if he needs anything. Just to be of help. During my turn on duty, I went inside to ask Che if he needed anything, some help? And Che said he needed a tea. I said, ‘well I don't know how to make it, but if you show me how, I will do it’. So Che told me the way to make the tea and I went out and brought him back the tea I had made. When I returned later I asked ‘how was the tea?’. Che said ‘magnificent! You are promoted to Corporal!’. And from that moment I have the rank of Corporal!

 

On Congo today

Now I think about Congo and about Che who helped Kabila... he wanted power for the people. But he was killed. Now it's the son, Kabila’s son who is taking the power there...I hope he will not turn into a demagogue.

 

At that time we were not in a position to make any reflections, we were there to help, to fight for that country. With the desire to turn this country in a way that they deserve... Africa has always been screwed by the foreign powers. All the regions are being exploited by foreign transnationals, from Europe, from United States, from England. This country is in a position to be exploited by all the powers. And you have to feel sad when you look at it. In Egypt they are saying take out the military government. And we want a leader that responds to the people. It's happening in many places...they are asking questions, organising, making meetings, big meetings in the United States. Even the Harvard students are supporting the Occupy movement of Wall Street. So this is happening in the world, people want better things.

 

On global politics

Brazil is a leader, it’s rising...Brazil is built up out of transnationals, Lula, love for the land and people; he’s done a lot for the poor but they cannot improve conditions further because economic power is in other hands. They have the political power, which is one way [to make change], but economic power is in the hands of transnationals. So this is difficult to grow.

 

We have to be aware about China. China has an interesting behaviour – it has two economies. One socialist, one capitalist, mainly in Hong Kong. But they are getting up and we have to follow. I don't know how they manage these two kinds of economy  but it's something that we have to follow and see what is going to happen...In the beginning they thought the baby tiger is sleeping but now this tiger is awake and the same tiger is not made of paper. People have to be careful. China is becoming very strong, now it's the second largest economy. And it's fighting for first position. So this means a lot for many countries in the world.

The Interviews in Cuba

CAPTION (TOP): Portrait of 'Positivo'. Foto: Jan-Joseph Stok

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