Q: Che Guevara in his book on Guerilla Warfare notes that there need be only a minimal level of “required” conditions present in a given situation, in order to make a revolution. How would you describe the conditions of the current social climate of Latin America in general in regard to Guevara’s statement?
Romero: One can’t generalize. Latin America is a very vast area and with situations of very distinct character. But in general, and in regard to the question, one can affirm that there are certain zones in which a certain type of “dual” society predominates. These are composed of small classes of property-owners, and some popular classes, that are very extensive, of a very low social level, totally dependent economically and socially. Those are regions where, furthermore, (as I have said they are “dual” societies) there are practically no middle classes. It is evident that in these areas a conception of revolution such as that of Che Guevara could have much probability of working. Always, always one must take into account that the expressions of the international model of revolution are modified by the distinct situations, in each country.
Q: In other words, one can’t talk of “Latin America” in general. The economic conditions existing in Batista’s Cuba were entirely different from, say, the conditions today in many of the Latin American countries. For example, in Argentina today, your home land, there is a very large middle class.
Romero: Right. We can’t generalize. In relation to your question and de statement of Guevara, there are some areas –for example, almost all of Central America, almost the whole area of the Caribbean, important areas of Brazil, perhaps Colombia, Ecuador, in a certain way, Peru–, countries in which more or less one can say that there is a dual society. In those areas, the statement of Guevara is admissible. These are areas with revolutionary “preconditions.”
In reality, those revolutionary conditions that one discovers when one analyzes the society of these areas, become modified by the fact that the revolution is not just a dualistic game, a happening between the two directly interested classes: because the propertied groups are going to have an extraordinary support from international elements.
But even so, the revolution as a possibility, in these areas, is disputable, although at a first glance it could seem that the conditions are favorable. There are two analyses that can be made: one is from the point of the local situation; the other is from the point of the international situation that embraces the local. To summarize my thoughts, the strategy of Guevara couldn’t be generalized in Latin America as it has been by the recent O.L.A.S. conclusions. It was the result of the analysis of the conditions of the Caribbean, Central America, and of some other Latin American countries, whose sociological characteristic is still the “dual society” model: the propertied, and the absolutely impoverished popular class. The circumstance changes fundamentally where there is a middle Class. This is the case of Argentina.