In Havana's cavernous Blanquita Theater, Ernesto ("Che") Guevara stood calmly before the intense delegates to the First Latin American Youth Congress and waited for the clamor to still. Then he ex plained the Cuban revolution with uncompromising clarity. "What is its ideology? If I were asked whether our revolution is Communist, I would define it as Marxist.
Hear me well, I said Marxist. Our revolution has discovered by its methods the paths that Marx pointed out." He singled out land reform: "No government can call itself revolutionary if it does not carry out a profound agrarian reform. The peasant cannot be given only marginal lands. He must have the productive lands held by private interests who stole them from the peasants ages ago."
Che then explained Cuba's place in the world: "I say here and now, with all my strength, that the Soviet Union, China and the socialist countries and all colonial or semicolonial peoples who have liberated themselves are our friends." The U.S., about whose own revolution and liberating doctrines Che seems to know very little, is the enemy. "There are still governments in the Americas," he added, "that advise us to lick the hand that wants to hit us. We cannot join in a continental alliance with our great enslaver." He urged all Latin American governments to send supporters of dictatorship "to the wall," a method of dealing with opponents that is very familiar to him.
"Old Mr. Herter." The cheers and the chants"Cuba, yes! Yankees, no!"that followed Che's words are the mood of Cuba today. The familiar grey wood shacks with thatched roofs still stand between the moist green of mountains and banana trees and the dazzle of sparkling sea. Inside on the wall, along with stiffly formal photographs of parents and children, there usually hangs a portrait of Fidel Castro. Down the gullied road is a raw-concrete school or a new co-op store of fresh pine.
In the towns, even the slick young men in shiny black shoes and sports shirts stop flirting with their plump, pinch-waisted girl friends as the loudspeakers switch from the new music of the pachanga to news: "Old Mr. Herter is preparing ships and men at the Key West naval station to invade Cuba." At the Esso station, a workman paints the pumps green as a reminder that the revolution has changed Cuba so much that even the gasoline, refined from Russian oil, is different.
So far, the majority of Cuba's peasants appear to be trustingly behind the new regime, though many in the middle class, which helped bring it to power, have long since become disenchanted. The Roman Catholic Church is stirring in opposition. The press has been silenced, but in the streets much vocal dissent is heard. Eco nomic problems have been postponed, not solved. And some kind of dissension is astir in the ranks of the leadership. Fidel
Castro has been largely out of sight for three weeks, with an illness apparently more serious than the announced "touch of pneumonia." Brother Raul rushed home last week from Moscow's flattering and pudgy embrace. Reports inevitably spread that Cuba's ruling triumvirate was caught up in a rivalry for power.