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The prodigious image of Che Guevara in the eyes of Lezama Lima

Published: 2017.09.27 - 16:07:20   /  miguel.dario@renciclopedia.icrt.cu  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /luis.amador@renciclopedia.icrt.cu
  

The prodigious image of Che Guevara in the eyes of Lezama LimaThe very brief prose text that the Cuban poet and essayist José Lezama Lima writes about Che Guevara gives rise to various analysis and multiple readings according to each recipient. Under the name "Ernesto Guevara, Comandante Nuestro," the work is recorded in the context of the death of the Commander of the Revolution in La Higuera, on October 9, 1967, and in him Lezama reiterates the idea of his participation in history.

Throughout the text, this notion of the "participating metaphor in history" prevails, which Lezama developed in essays such as ¨La expresión americana¨ (1957) and ¨La cantidad hechizada¨ (1966).

Nevertheless, this conception touches the figure of Guevara in a modern form that seems to glimpse the contemporary displacement towards a culture centered in the myth, image or icon.

The exploration of the concept of mythology according to Roland Barthes, and how postmodernity strips Che Guevara of its history, creates an image not of a possibility but of dreams.

That is to say, for Lezama Lima the figure of the Heroic Guerrilla man according to his historical theories becomes a myth: "in an associated image", acting in the past as in the present and in the future.

Such a specific influence originates as in Greek or Roman mythology or others with a similar cosmovision from nothing, from emptiness, and from there a myth is generated, as it reads in the text: "Wherever there is a stone, said Nietzsche, there is an image. And its image is one of the beginnings of the prodigies, of the sowing in the stone, that is to say, the growth as it appears in the first theogonies, depositing the region of the strength in the empty space."

For this myth the best elements are conjured up: the complete Latin American man of the lineage of Tupac Amaru - a hero who carried out the greatest indigenous revolution in the American continent - , the essences of Potosí and the most outstanding amongst the Inca gods: Viracocha.

Like a New Viracocha, Lezama saw Che, that is, a new man who fulfills an expectation of Latin American people because "all the arrows of possibility were expected from him and now all the wonders of dreaming are expected."

During his lifetime, the Heroic Guerrilla man demonstrated with his action that utopias could become realities, work-based chimeras were possible and now after his death these "arrows of possibility" point to each person, towards each revolutionary, who sees a path in his image and myth.

Each person creates his myth or image of Che, a vision that inspires them to live inspired by the life and beliefs of the Commander of the Revolution, so the hour of the death of the Hero of Santa Clara does not interrupt his action, his influence, that is to say, death has clear Christian connotations, since from it the revolutionary does not finish his task but rises prodigiously and his myth grows with each generation that puts "stone on stone", because that stone is growing in the alive fire of history.

Ernesto Guevara, Comandante nuestro - José Lezama Lima

Girded by the last test, a pebble stone of the beginnings to hear the inaugurations of the verb, death went after him, but he jumped from one tree to another, from a talking horse to a hammock where an Indian woman, with her pitcher that coagulates dreams, brings and carries him. Man of all beginnings, of the last test, of staying with one death, of particularizing himself with death, stone upon stone, stone growing fire. The meetings with Tupac Amaru, the Bolivarian epaulettes on the silver of Potosí, awakened his beginnings, the secrets of staying forever. He wanted to make the Andes uninhabited, the house of secrets. The spindle of the course, the oil dawning, carbuncle trading in the magic soup. What was hidden and visible was nothing less than the sun, surrounded by Inca media lunas, mermaids of Viracocha's entourage, mermaids with their great guitars. The media luna Viracocha transforming the stones into warriors and the warriors into stones. Raising by the dream and the invocations the city of the walls and the armor.

Nuevo Viracocha, all the arrows of the possibility were expected from him and now all the prodigies of the dream are expected.

Like Anfiareo, death does not interrupt his memories. The aristocracy, the protection in combat, always had at the time of the cries and the rage of the neck, but also the hoarding, sacrifice, and eagerness of the holocaust. Sacrificing in the funeral pyramid, but before giving the terrible tests of his size for transfiguration. Wherever there is a stone, said Nietzsche, there is an image. And its image is one of the beginnings of the prodigies, of the sowing in the stone, that is to say, the growth as it appears in the first theogonies, depositing the region of the force in the empty space.

José Lezama Lima: "Ernesto Guevara, Comandante nuestro", en Imagen y posibilidad. Colección crítica, Ed. Letras cubanas, La Habana, 1981, pp. 22-23.

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