A visit to Camilo Guevara
Camilo Guevara, son of Ernesto Che Guevara, works at the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara. I visited him at his parents' house across the street from the Centro, spoke to him and took a few pictures.
Che Guevara was only 39 years old. On Sunday October 9, 1967 at ten past one in the afternoon, Ernesto Guevara was assassinated in Bolivia. Shortly before that he was shot in a fight with the Bolivian army and had to surrender. However, President Barrientos feared a public trial and had Comandante Che Guevara shot.
Eight years earlier, El Che and his guerrillas had done the improbable and defeated Batista's army in Cuba. Batista himself fled to the United States at the time.
Camilo Guevara was just 5 years old when his father died.
52 years later I meet him at his childhood home, a beautiful old mansion with a leafy courtyard and a flat roof in Miramar, a quiet and leafy suburb of Havana. I imagined the house to be bigger and more luxurious. The rooms were rather modest, minimalistic and functionally furnished. I immediately felt at ease because of the calm that radiated from everything.
I was very awestruck and sadly didn't take a lot of pictures of the house, had I asked Camilo would probably have given me permission. In hindsight, that annoyed me.
Camilo is an avid photographer himself, no wonder. So was his father. And so I was allowed to photograph him during the conversation. In addition to my digital Fuji, I also had an old Minolta with me, which I used to take a few analogue portraits of him. And because Camilo was interested in my X-T3, he asked me to show it to him and then took the portrait of me.
Camilo Guevara and Friedhelm, called Fidel
Kinda funny, I fly as
tourist Photographer for 3 weeks in Cuba and suddenly I'm sitting in front of Camilo. He wasn't really waiting for me.
I have to thank Dr. phil. Friedhelm Böcker, whom I met with his wife before checking in for our flight to Havana. In Cuba they call him Fidel and now I know why.
Friedhelm had known Camillo for a long time and had paid him a friendly visit. The two have talked about possible new projects coming from the Cuba Aid Dortmund can be supported with. An example suggested by Camillo was solar panels for schools, which students can use to experiment and bring up a topic that is also important in Cuba.
I was allowed to photograph the conversation and also recorded parts of the interview in video sequences. For me, Camilo was particularly interesting as a person and he really captivated me. Outwardly quite similar to his father, he came across to me quite differently from Comandante Che. Camilo is a calm, matter-of-fact, easy-going, warm and friendly conversationalist who took an interest in us.
Towards the end of the conversation he showed us pictures of Che and a Milan exhibition in which he had worked in his study. But I could only focus on it with one eye and constantly had the feeling that I had to pinch myself now. Just to wake up from the dream that I'm here with Camilo Guevara in his office and I'm being told a story by his father.
A very sad occasion makes me update the article.
Camilo Guevara died in Caracas on August 29, 2022.
Even though I was only able to spend maybe 2 hours with him, the moment, the place and his words are etched deep in my heart and memory. Camilo seemed to me to be a very modest but also very funny, committed, idealistic and solidary person with a very strong and very pleasantly warm charisma.
In the conversation, he talked about a major concern, namely to explain the advantages of renewable energies to the students in the villages of Cuba in an age-appropriate way and with practical examples. I hope the project can be completed in its spirit.
Camilo left us way too soon! I found the short time together to be extremely enriching and I'm sure many people felt the same way. My thoughts are with you and your family!
8 Comments on “Ein Besuch bei Camilo Guevara”
Friedhelm Böcker (Fidel)6. February 2021 at 04:45
A nice and good memory, thank you Dietmar
Dietmar Sebastian Fischer2. May 2021 at 16:28
Hello Fidel, nice to hear from you!
I hope you're fine!
When are we going to Cuba again?
Boecker, Dr. phil. Friedhelm31. July 2021 at 20:43
…. It was an interesting encounter and I was happy to take Dietmar with me to the interview and good photos came out of it. Now we are preparing an exhibition and in the middle of it Camilo Guevara. More about us on our website: www.cuba-dortmund.de
Dietmar, in friendship, friedhelm ( Fidel )
Dietmar Sebastian Fischer18. March 2022 at 15:24
Yes, indeed, I often and very, very fondly look back on that time!
And if the the Exhibition 8001 became a child of this meeting, then it's a good guess, right?
Muchos Saludos de Heidelberg!
Yerba Buena11. September 2022 at 02:36
Miramar is not a suburb, but a district of Havana (administratively belongs to the Municipality of Playa).
In addition to this small, formal correction, I am more interested in expressing my astonishment, to put it mildly, as in the "(Cuba) revolutionary romantic" West, all this myth - Che, Fidel, Cuban Revolution etc. - so unreservedly, uncritically up to is maintained to this day. I knew a Cuban who also knew Che directly through work contexts and who told me other things that were definitely questionable. But even without such personal, direct contact, it has long been easy to form a more differentiated picture of this "character" and the whole history that is to be questioned. Just 1 example: https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/50-todestag-che-guevara-was-vom-mythos-uebrig-blieb-100.html
And of course, institutions such as CUBA SÍ, CUBA-HILFE-DORTMUND and whatever they are called, which certainly also provide practical Cuba aid that is not to be despised, all hide everything that is fragile about (so-called) socialism with an already “impressive” consequence: You can read about the fact that human rights are being systematically violated in Cuba (which can be “managed” with or without an embargo), and that the former HUMANITARIAN values of the revolution have long since been betrayed in every Amnisty International report.
Stumbled upon your site today in connection with the death of Camilo Guevara, of whom it is absolutely impossible to find out where (in Argentina) he was actually born, how long he has been living in Cuba, etc.
Dietmar Sebastian Fischer15. September 2022 at 11:17
Yerba Buena is the mint in the mojito. I don't know how to address you.
Thanks for the correction to the suburb or better district of Miramar.
I don't consider myself uncritical, I don't think everything that the revolution brought to Cuba is great, but I think it was the best thing that could have happened to the country.
Cuba has few resources and a government that acts in solidarity, which makes mistakes, but has also ensured that people have to live with dignity and not in the misery that is unfortunately widespread on the neighboring islands. Only those who do nothing make no mistakes!
Yerba Buena12. September 2022 at 02:18
Yes, of course - and already censored. Exactly THAT is how “freedom of speech” works in Cuba itself. Thank you for this meaningful "outing"!
Dietmar Sebastian Fischer15. September 2022 at 11:24
I have deactivated the automatic activation of comments because there are many bots that would otherwise place advertising in the comments unhindered.
I'm fine with every opinion here. I wouldn't even suppress a comment from an embittered Cuban exile in Florida who votes for even the most complete dork in an election, as long as he presents himself as a downright right-wing anti-communist and would like to shoot anyone who thinks differently to hell.