1. HOW THESE IDEAS TOOK SHAPE
1. Reloba, De/sobre Mario Benedetti, 128. Unless other wise noted, all translations
2. The School of the Amer i cas (soa) is a combat training school for Latin Amer-
ican soldiers located at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was initially established in Pan-
ama in 1946 but was expelled from that country in 1984 under the terms of the
Panama Canal Treaty (Article 4). In 2001 it was renamed the Western Hemi sphere
Institute for Security Cooperation (whinsec). The soa has left a trail of blood
and suffering in every country where its gradu ates have returned. For this reason
it has been dubbed the “School of Assassins” and has attracted yearly protest
demonstrations. Since 1946 the soa has trained over sixty- four thousand Latin Ameri-
can soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psy-
chological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics. These gradu ates
have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among
those targeted are educators, union organizers, priests, nuns and other religious
workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds
of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “dis-
appeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee status by those trained at the School
3. Idea expressed most explic itly in Che’s 1965 “Socialism and Man in Cuba.”
4. Anderson, Che, 392–94.
5. The July 26 Movement, named for the attack on Moncada Barracks on that date
in 1953, was Fidel Castro’s organ ization. It gained adepts, went on to win the war of
liberation, and eventually morphed, along with members of other progressive organ-
izations, into Cuba’s Communist Party.
6. Randall, Only the Road / Solo el camino.
7. Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) was a Spanish poet murdered during his
country’s civil war. César Vallejo (1892–1938) was born in Peru but lived most of his
life in Paris, where he died of tuberculosis. Pablo Neruda (1904–73) was a Chilean
communist and Nobel laureate who died days after the overthrow of his country’s
three- year socialist experiment. Uruguay’s Mario Benedetti (1920–2009) is one of the
most widely read poets on the continent. Octavio Paz (1914–98) was an impor tant
Mexican intellectual and poet. All ﬁve were radical in their use of language and con-
tinue to be major influences on poetry in Spanish and beyond.