Home Facts And Lifehacks The history of failure— John Makau

The history of failure— John Makau


That was the first sentence Ernesto Che Guevara wrote as he was holed in the Dar-es-Salaam Embassy of Cuba making his record of his foray to the Congolese civil war after Lumumba was assassinated.

Encouraged by the Algerian war of independence in 1965 Castro decided to send an expedition to eastern Congo to fight western imperialism.

120 Cuban fighters – all black – were dispatched. Che being bored with ministerial duties in Cuba was sent by Castro to lead them. He travelled to Algiers to consult with Ben Bella, China with PM Chou en Lai and Egypt with President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser warned him not to play white Tarzan on the rescue of black men in the jungle.

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Che travelled undercover to Dar-es-Salaam which was received and facilitated by Nyerere and crossed lake Tanganyika to fight alongside a rebel group led by one 26 year old Laurent Kabila, a rebel leader educated in Europe and leader of renegades wanting to liberate mineral rich Katanga region.

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Che and his crack unit travelled to Kigoma in three Mercedes Benz trucks and crossed over to Congo.

He found Kabila’s rebels undisciplined,  disorganized, ridden by tribal rivalry and preferring the bars and brothels of Kigoma than fighting.

Kabila himself only showed up only once laden with copious amounts of whiskey bottles, preferring Dar-es-Salaam and the international diplomatic circuit. “He is addicted to women and alcohol”, noted Che.

Guerilla battles were characterized by fleeing, abandoning weapons, looting and raping villagers.

After seven months weary and discouraged Che organized a retreat of the Cuban battalion to Kigoma.

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