ERNESTO “CHE” GUEVARA 1st time in Lima. (info from La Pastera “Museo Del CHE”) blog links
In Peru, Guevara was impressed by the old Inca civilization, forced to ride in trucks with Indians and animals after “The Mighty One” broke down. As a result he begins to develop a fraternity with the indigenous campesinos.
In March 1952 they both arrived at the Peruvian Tacna. After a discussion about the poverty in the region, Guevara refers in his notes to the words of Cuban poet José Marti: “I want to link my destiny to that of the poor of this world.” In May they arrived in Lima, Peru and during this time Guevara met doctor Hugo Pesce, a Peruvian scientist, director of the national leprosy program, and an important local Marxist. They discuss several nights until the early morning and years later Che identified these conversations as being very important for his evolution in attitude towards life and society.
Hugo Pesce (17 June 1900–26 July 1969) was a Peruvian physician and left-wing activist.
Pesce was born in Tarma, and studied medicine at the University of Genoa in Italy. He first practised in rural parts of the Peruvian Andes, where he was radicalised by his experiences of the debilitating effects of poverty. He later specialised in treatment of leprosy. He and other Latin Americans disagreed with the recommendations of the 1938 World Leprosy Congress in Cairo, and agreed a different process in Três Corações, which Pesce implemented successfully at Andahuaylas in 1938 and the Apurímac Region in 1940. The 1948 World Leprosy Congress in Havana endorsed the Latin-American strategy; Pesce was later a member of the World Health Organization’s expert committee on the disease. In 1945 he joined the faculty of the National University of San Marcos, where he was professor of tropical medicine from 1953 till his retirement in 1967. In 2002, Pesce was among four individuals and two groups named as “Heroes of public health in Peru”
“The character that wrote these notes died when he stepped on Argentine soil again, the one who orders and improves them, “me”, is not me; at least, not the same inner me. This wandering through our “Majuscule America” has changed me more than I had ever thought it would”.
“Entendámonos” from “Notas de viaje”
“To doctor Hugo Pesce, without knowing it perhaps, provoked a great change in my attitude towards life and society, with the same adventurous spirit as always, but channeled toward goals that are more harmonious with the needs of America. Fraternally.” Ernesto Guevara
In May, Guevara and Granado leave for the leper colony of San Pablo in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, arriving there in June. During his stay Guevara complains about the miserable way the people and sick of that region have to live. Guevara also swam once from the side of the Amazon River where the doctors stayed, to the other side of the river where the leper patients lived, a considerable distance of two and a half miles. He describes how there were no clothes, almost no food, and no medication. However, Guevara was moved by his time with the lepers, remarking that:
“All the love and caring just consist on coming to them without gloves and medical attire, shaking their hands as any other neighbor and sitting together for a chat about anything or playing football with them.” Ernesto Guevara