I've been reading a few recently. They all have prologues that mention editing by his widow/daughter/Fidel, so I was wondering do we know how true they are to their original? Could it have been changed for political reasons (i.e. improve his relationship with Fidel)?

It seems in his Congo diary him and Fidel had major disagreements from almost the beginning of the mission, but their relationship seems to not be just cordial, but incredibly intimate/friendly. So are the originals public or do we only have access to the published versions?


2 Answers 2


Seeing as all parties involved live in Cuba, it is in fact quite possible that some editing was done for political reasons. Seeing as his widow and daughter were involved, it is also quite possible that some details were altered (or even removed) to avoid bringing any embarrassment to the family, or that might tarnish his memory in some way.

Some editing of content was certainly done. His daughter admitted as much in a 2004 interview (translated to English here):

Since the 1980's, we - Che's family and others - have been working on his unpublished manuscripts. These were maintained as part of his personal archive, and in large part were and continue to be jealously guarded by my mother. To publish anything written by him that he himself did not intend for publication - as is the case with the notes that became "The Motorcycle Diaries" - serious editing work is required. We can't omit text, but at the same time we can't be completely sure he would have given his permission for the text to be published as it was originally written. That is why we have a commitment to edit what he wrote without changing what he meant - a very difficult task.

Perhaps sometime in the future when all his contemporaries are deceased, the unedited diaries will be allowed to pass into the care of some group that will allow outside historians access to them.

  • 2
    This problem is of course hardly unique to Che. For example, if you read Winston Churchill's autobiography of WWII, its tough to not come away with the impression that the man was practically the savior of Western Civilization as we know it. But of course, that's exactly the impression he was trying to provide when he wrote it. Its important to be a bit cynical when reading any historical account.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 30, 2015 at 1:20
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    And of course anything coming out of government printing houses in states like Cuba where freedom of expression is theoretical at best is bound to be written in such a way as to benefit the state...
    – jwenting
    Apr 30, 2015 at 15:05

I don't know if there is any facsimile edition yet of any of the diaries but I assume that the Che Guevara Studies Center in La Habana (or Aleida?) holds the original copies and perhaps allows scholars to study them directly for comparison, which would reveal major discrepancies between source and edition. Moreover, in the 2006 edition of Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War: Authorised Edition with Corrections Made by Che Guevara (a recollection by Che based on his diaries, after the war) there are a few images showing printed pages from the original version that was edited by Che himself, for a republishment, as stated at the first page:

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This might indicate (at least fot these two pages) that there were some editing, but mostly by the author himself.

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