León, Nicaragua, February 2014
I didn’t ever think that I’ll be interested in politics or I’ll even write about it here. A year ago, shortly before my first trip to South America I’ve read “Latinoamerican Fever”, a book written by Polish author, Artur Domosławski. The book made it clear that a trip to South America without touching politics is almost impossible. The topic is really popular there, especially that the times are not stable, transformations still occur and everything happens in a strong leftist rhythm. In short, the situation in Latin America is hot all the time and the times of stabilisation are far ahead of them. And there are people willing to steal a piece of the cake or even take it all.
Last year in Madrid, shortly before my flight to Buenos Aires I bumped into a manifestation ran by followers of Hugo Chaves, who died the day before. Two days later, in the capital of Argentina I ran into the middle of gigantic march. People carried a lot of red flags with communist symbols and leaders painted on. And it wasn’t all about Hugo Chavez, it took place on the 8th of March, which is Women’s Day and the crowd also consisted of opponents of sexism and fighters for working class rights. Shortly after I left Argentina I went through other countries and saw more demonstrations and walls painted with familiar faces. It seems like in Latin America revolution is in fashion at all times.
During my hitchhiking trip along the legendary Route 40 I met few Argentinian hippies who were travelling across the Patagonia. I recall a particular thing that one of them told me: “United States is our eternal enemy. Not people, but the government.”. In the eyes of twenty-year-old Argentinian, the one who said that, I could see some kind of severe determination. His lush beard and short hair made a stunning combination as well, he looked almost like Fidel Castro.
I started to wonder: “How come we (Polish people) hate Stalin so much, while in Argentina they paint his face on banners?”. So I eventually get interested in politics and the question became also “How come we fought communists along with Uncle Sam, the one that is a nightmare for Argentina?”
“Wait, it’s really important for the whole Latin America” – told me socially committed young Argentinian woman, at the moment we were watching the transmission of public speech of Nicolása Maduro, Chavez successor. I also said that the way he is dressed (sweatshirt made of national colours) didn’t make him too convincing. She responded: “The way he dress is really important for everybody here. People need to know that he is one of them”. So I guess you should take a look at his speech on YouTube and get familiar with him and his unique rhetoric.
Down below you can find few pictures with faces from the title. Not going too much into details I’ll only write about Ernesto Guevara, also called Che Guevara, the most interesting figure here. From one side – the fighter and the icon of pop culture, from the other – and the one that not everybody is familiar with – serial killer. His face sells everything starting from clothes to souvenirs and gifts. He featured in a romantic story “Motorcycle Diaries“, as a hero and the soon-to-be liberator of the poor and weak. In the real world – racist known for being against the free speech. Created the new order in Cuba which makes him responsible for the execution of thousands of people (including women and children) of which he supposedly personally killed a couple of hundreds.
Madrid, March 6th 2013, the day after Hugo Chavez death. Loyal followers keep screaming that the revolution is the only way to make things better. The thing is a little bit outdated now, it failed a couple of times already but it looks like there are still some places where it’s on.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 8th 2013. Artur Domosławski writes: “(…) a friend (…) explained me that Argentinians know a lot about Hitler, but nothing about Stalin. Why? Maybe because holocaust survivors came here and told the truth but nobody from Siberia actually could make it.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 8th 2013.
San Salvador, El Salvador, January 2014.
León, Nicaragua, February 2014. Augusto Sandino i Carlos Fonseca were fighting against the influence of the US in Nicaragua. Fonseca also took part in successful revolution in 1979.
León, Nicaragua, February 2014.
Managua, Nicaragua, February 2014.