A plaque marking a special place in Venezuela where Che Guevara himself set foot in the early 1950s, on the Collado del Condor in the Venezuelan Andes, was unveiled today, on the 84th anniversary of his birth, and the 60th anniversary of that day in 1952 when the young Eresto, who was not yet widely called Che, came to this spot on the same journey he recorded in The Motorcycle Diaries. Here’s what it reads:
He passed through here, he went in the footsteps of Bolívar, riding on the back of his same dreams, he bore the same hurricane in his wake. He passed through here, retracing his own steps, seeking the Revolution, even though he did know he carried it in his heart. He came from the land of the gaucho, he carried in his footsteps the groan of the wounded Inca, and on his forehead the mark of those who love Humanity. An immense tree grew, its roots feed upon America, and one day with its branches it filled the world with hope. With this monument we remember Che and we follow in his footsteps. This monument might be destroyed a thousand times by infamy, but, we are sure, there will always be an honest man who will erect it again, and this will be the sign that there is still hope for Humanity.
The line about how “this monument might be destroyed a thousand times by infamy” refers to an ugly incident in 2007, when unidentified vandals destroyed a sculpture of Che that used to be located on the same mountain. Let’s hope this bronze plaque proves harder to deface. In any event, what it says is true; Che’s imprint on the world will never be erased, no matter what infamies are concocted to desecrate his memorials.