PKK’s Engin: “We will continue to be Che’s followers”

PKK Central Committee Member Kasım Engin celebrated the anniversary of the Cuban revolution and saluted the Cuban people. Engin also stated that Öcalan and the PKK are followers and comrades of Che.

PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) Central Committee Member Kasım Engin spoke to the ANF on the anniversary of the great Cuban revolution.

PKK Central Committee Member Kasım Engin stated that the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, Vilma Espin and Celia Sanchez on January 1, 1959 was a historic turning point for all oppressed peoples. Engin said the South American peoples are peoples with great resistance and added that the Cuban revolution must be understood correctly.

Engin stated that Fidel Castro had rejected the Batista regime even back when he was a lawyer, and mentioned Castro’s statement made in a court, “If this court recognizes the Batista dictatorship, it will be declaring itself illegitimate. And that will make the struggle for the revolution legitimate.”

Engin said Castro was also a member of the youth movement and a renowned person back then and added: “Fidel Castro and a group of his comrades attacked the Moncada military barracks on July 26, 1953. Castro made a speech right before the attack and said, ‘A few hours from now, we will either win or lose. Never forget, whatever happens, in the end we will prevail in this struggle.’ With the Moncada attack, their goal was to take control of the military barracks and distribute the weapons to be seized from there to the people to kickstart the revolution. But this attack was broken, and many of Castro’s friends moved on to immortality.”

Engin spoke about the Moncada attack and the developments that came after, and added that Castro never gave up on the struggle. He added that Castro formed a group called the July 26 Movement in Mexico where he went after his arrest, and kickstarted the Cuban revolution on December 5, 1956.

Engin said the movement’s members were ambushed as they crossed into Cuba from Mexico with a group of 82 people, and stressed that most of the group lost their lives there.

Engin stated that despite significant losses during the cross into Cuba from Mexico, the July 26 Movement displayed great courage, daring, faith, will, persistence and resolve and added that he reason for that is the deep loyalty Cuban revolutionaries felt towards the peoples and socialism.

Engin said Che Guevara’s diaries show that only 12 people survived the ambush during their cross from Mexico to Cuba and added the following on the dilemma Che went through during that time: “Che says, ‘That first day in the cross from Mexico to Cuba is one of the turning points of my life. I was a doctor until that day. In that ambush, I felt desperation. I was to choose the medical bag or the bullets. And I made a decision that day. I did away with the medical bag, and chose the bullets. Because those were what was necessary for the resistance.”


Engin said there have been claims of conflict between Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, but these claims are not realistic. Engin stated that Che’s letters to Castro and his diaries during his time in Congo refute such claims.

Engin stated that Che Guevara wanted to set the spirit free and was a great revolutionary who argued that he revolution should not be constrained to only Cuba.


Engin said Che had harsh criticisms to “slogan revolutionaries” and added: “Che thinks it’s not enough to just say ‘Long Live Vietnam, Long Live the people of Vietnam’. He likens this to chanting ‘long live’ for gladiators facing lions in Roman times. It’s not enough to just say things and chant slogans. If you want to defend a people, you have to go down onto the field.”

Engin said these statements are still relevant today and added that Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan stresses a coherence between action and discourse. Engin also said it is a tradition of Che Guevara’s to do what one says one will do, and to stand behind what one does. Engin stated that Che Guevara is a great revolutionary symbol who chased after his utopias and an idol, and added that Fidel Castro is also a revolutionary who chased his utopias but also took the real, practical situation in consideration more. Engin said as socialists, they base themselves on Che Guevara and they will continue to do so in the future.

Engin stated that the Cuban revolution and the July 26 Movement had a great impact on the world and on the generation of ‘68 in particular, and added that what sets the Cuban revolution apart from others is the unique conditions it was made under.

Engin stated that revolutions based on an understanding of party-front-army were made in Russia, China and Vietnam but what happened in Cuba was the opposite of this, that the revolution was made by a narrow guerrilla army.

Engin said the youth of ’68 who left their mark on a whole era in Turkey and Kurdistan were influenced by the struggle of Che Guevara and the guerrilla, and started the attempts at a revolutionary fight and forming guerrillas, and quoted Öcalan: “Recently I tried to, not research, but understand. Due to the 30th anniversary of Che Guevara’s death, there is an attempt to promote his character. Did he have an understanding of life and a new human being close to what we want exactly? He may have aspects that were superior to ours, but the element that brings us together is very striking. There were revolutionaries from Turkey who stood up for a great freedom, they were people we saw for real and we knew, and were glad to have their deep sympathies. We are still loyal to their memory. What can be seen here and what the peoples of the world still remember with great respect is the character that never compromised from principles -the most important of which is freedom for human beings and for peoples- and stands the exact opposite of the system that truly breaks the mind of the human and instates itself, commodifies everything and ties everything up in horrifying personal interest.

I believe the new human being, as I said before, is like what we seek to implement. These are important. A person like this on the other end of the world is still relevant for us, and is our closest friend. We are like typical guerrilla friends of his here. The same spirit, the same understanding of freedom, the same fight, the same search for a new human being.”

PKK Central Committee Member stated that Öcalan and the PKK movement he leads are followers and comrades to Che. He stressed that the guerrilla tradition of Kurdistan is the same as the guerrilla tradition of Che Guevara, and adding that the guerrilla is the only solution to fascism, imperialism, capitalism and all forms of regressive ideologies, called on the youth of Turkey and Kurdistan to join the guerrilla to create a free life, the free human being and a world without exploitation.