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Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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I recovered the rum and cigars

Whoa, my backpack, lost on the way from Cuba, got found. Apparently instead of being held by Cuban communists, German customs was the real culprit.

90% of the things inside were dirty laundry.

I noticed that all things in the backpack were shifted. And on top there was a paper sheet which listed all backpack contents with German scrupulosity:

Amazing, now Germans count my dirty laundry. Never had that before.

The rum, cigars and the vital ipod connector were there, but they seem to have confiscated Cuban coffee… and the batteries, for some reason.

Anyway, hopefully it’s the last time I flew with Condor Sheisselinie. 26h hour delay and lost luggage, for which they didn’t even do home delivery.

Lessons learned from Che

I’m sorry to admit, but as a side product of the Cuban trip I continue to find myself fascinated with Che’s life and undertakings.

As mentioned before, I found Cuban revolution interesting due to the notion in which a group determined individuals could turn the tables on a (seemingly) much stronger opponent (lesson of persistence).

Particularly inspiring are the following events from struggle in Cuba: almost a total initial defeat just after the expedition’s landing, continuous desertions of guerrilla fighters losing faith in the struggle or giving up to the hardships of life in the jungle, gradual build-up of critical mass due to a sequence of small victories – sometimes achieved in a very accidental manner – which nevertheless resonated within the society.

Having said this, success of the revolution and the fighting concept that it employed (focus on rural areas, no support from a strong political party, etc.) was determined by number of factors specific to Cuba, which revolution leaders could be ignorant of.

In the end Che paid with his life for this ignorance in Bolivia. He overestimated influence of his leadership and failed to appreciate Bolivian specifics in applying the template of Cuban revolution.

Conclusion: no success is possible without alignment with external factors, and since many of them are unknown ex ante – it all boils down to luck and intuition. On the other hand, no amount of luck in setting the initial course will substitute persistence in following it.

All this is more entertaining because through the diaries one can emphasize with Che’s evolution as an individual, from the motorcycle journey, through Cuba, to the Bolivian failure (even though unfortunately I don’t have the copy of Bolivian diaries yet).

Revolution (Cuba)

I’m back from Cuba.

The return flight was delayed one day, I had to pay for connecting flight (and it seemed to be charged twice to the credit card), and the Cubans have either lost or confiscated by backpack (maybe it’s because of rom and cigars inside…?)

But these logistic difficulties aside, Cuba was surely a memorable experience!

Be sure to go there before it changes, ie. starts to be a normal country again.

One thing which seems known, but which I saw in new light is the Revolution itself. On the airport I had lots of time for reading Che’s memories, which were actually the only books available.

Che’s account from his fighting next to Fidel present valuable lessons. The main one is that of persistence.

Then the Cubans, amazing social products of the Revolution experiment they are forced to be subject to. Revolution is an economic disaster, but it creates unique social environment (unique even comparing to communist Poland).