Honorable Mr Ambassador,
On behalf of the Greek-Cuban Association of Friendship and Solidarity of Thessaloniki I extend warm and militant greetings to today's event.
Cuba's national hero, Jose Marti, was writing that “there are men without any dignity but also men who carry in their shoulders the dignity of the whole world”. One of these men, whose name became synonymous of dignity was Ernesto Che Guevara, whose memory and political legacy we honor here today.
It was 55 years ago, on 9 October 1967, when Che was murdered in an abandoned school class in a small Bolivian village. The bullets of the Bolivian Army, which was acting on the roders of the US and CIA imperialists, had brought the biological end of this exceptional revolutionary. But what his assassins didn't know was the fact that Guevara had already passed in the immortality of the people's collective memory, as an eternal symbol of the struggles for a better future, for a world without exploitation of man by man.
Today, 55 years after his assassination, we aren't here to hold another “political memorial”. The communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara doesn't fit in memorials. But we are here to remember, to be inspired, to draw strength and conclusions from the examples and the values for which he himself fought and sacrificed. The values and ideals of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
Che is not a stamp on t-shirts, coffee mugs and key chains. He isn't a poster in a room's wall. He isn't a “harmless icon”, as some want to present him, nor a “saint of the poor” who gives comfort to the oppressed ones. Che is the communist revolutionary of praxis and conscience, who was formed through his contact with the worldview of scientific socialism and his love for man. He is the guerrilla fighter, but at the same time the intellectual, holding the rifle in one hand and the book in the other.
Che is the young man who abandoned a comfortable life in Argentina in order to enter the “furnace” of the battle against exploitation and injustice, against the “capitalist octopuses” as he called the monopolies of the time. He is the communist doctor who, by his example, became the model of the “New Man”, the man born from the bowels of the socialist revolution. A man who, with all his human weaknesses, combines to the maximum extent possible the ideals of internationalism, solidarity, selfless giving, diligence, commitment to the revolutionary process.
All these have a particular importance today, as we live in an age when the crises of capitalism, the wars and imperialist interventions, the full scale attack of the capital against the working class and popular strata of every country, are clear indications of the impasses of a rotten system. A system that is not only unable to satisfy the modern needs of man, but constantly creates problems, thus being essentially an obstacle for humanity's progress.
Those who believed that they got rid of Marx, Lenin, Che, Fidel, with the legacy of the revolutions and the 20th century's socialism, those who thought that the struggle for socialism-communism is a finished story, were wrong! “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot prevent the coming of Spring”, the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote.
So, yes! 55 years later, Che Guevara is today more alive than ever before. Not as a symbol of an abstract rebelliousness. But as our guide and comrade in every manifestation of the class struggle, the struggle against the capitalist exploitative system and imperialism, wherever beats the heart of the struggle for the “humanization of man”, to “turn darkness into light” and “to build a world to the high level of dreams and men”.
Until victory, forever! Thank you."