[LECTURE] Latin America Upstream: Following Che Guevara from Patagonia to Cuba

Jasen Boko: Latin America Upstream – Following Che Guevara from Patagonia to CubaDear friends and visitors,

it is our great pleasure to invite you to a multimedia lecture Latin America Upstream – Following Che Guevara from Patagonia to Cuba by the award-winning Split playwright, travel writer and biographer Jasen Boko. The lecture will take place on Friday, 10 July at 9 pm at the Stari Grad Museum (garden of the Biankini palace).

Excellent book Latin America Upstream deals with the icon of the left movements, guerrilla leader and a revolutionary – Che Guevara. In four months, the author has travelled 50,000 kilometres and changed more than 200 means of transportation to visit all the key places in the development of this legendary personality. Who really was Che Guevara and how he went from a hedonist to a revolutionary and what he means to the inhabitants of this turbulent continent today are the questions he asked himself.

Guevara, a hero of the poor, and a mass murderer for those who profit from social inequalities, still feeds the disenfranchised around the world today with his vision of a more just society. He is a man of exceptional charisma, uncompromising and often brutal in the realization of the revolution, so he offers himself as an interesting and provocative template for prose. Paradoxically, the great fighter against imperialism and consumer society today is the marketing icon from which capitalism shamelessly profits: from beer mats to beach towels, Guevara’s face is everywhere. Not for the purpose of changing the world, but to boost product sales.

On a continent where military coups and dictatorships are frequent and largely the result of US interventions imposing the interests of its multinational companies there, impoverished residents still believe they have nothing to lose and often protest loudly in the streets against social injustice, protests against poor economic conditions or abolition of social services. In a conversation with them, Boko reveals how widespread corruption and crime are, how they live, what they believe in and what they fight for, and at the same time investigate where and when Che met American imperialism, profit-making and abusing natives and the poor, and how he decided to change state. However, politics is not the only topic of this book. At the same time it is a classic travelogue, exciting encounters with regular people and their lives and a reminder of the civilizations that existed in this part long before the arrival of Columbus and attempts to eradicate everything that preceded the conquistadors.

Searching for traces of Che Guevara from Tierra del Fuego to Cuba, from end to end of the continent and using exclusively local means of transport, Boko enters the heart of South America, discovering not only a continent little known to Europe, but also the history of exploitation and destruction of its inhabitants by conquistadors, and then American imperialism.

As in previous books, Boko’s prose reveals an experienced traveller, who knows the logic and rules of the genre well, but plays with them, so instead of the classic travelogue his manuscript reveals the original prose form, a kind of romanticized travelogue about South America, but with references to global relations.

Join us on Friday and let us follow the trail of Che Guevara legend together!

Jasen Boko worked in gold mines in Australia and a fish factory in northern Norway, picked raspberries in Quebec, studied in New York, hitchhiked in Burma and Iran, climbed the Himalayas, swam in the Titicaca, carried explosives in a quarry, tore down old chimneys in factories, descended through canyons… There is more: he travelled the Silk Road by local transport, met Odysseus on Mljet (well, almost), searched for Alexander among the Taliban in Afghanistan, Diocletian in Turkey and Che Guevara throughout and across South America, sailed Ganges and Mekong, climbed freestyle, travelled, travelled, travelled…

He also has a serious part of life. He graduated dramaturgy and world literature, was an independent artist, playwright, editor, journalist, director of the Drama of the Croatian National Theatre in Split, theatre producer … His dramas have been performed in about twenty theatres in four countries. He has published thirteen books, of which five (or six?) are travelogues, and has been translated into a number of exotic languages (Azerbaijani, Turkish, Spanish, and even Croatian!). He has earned a number of awards for his writing, the most important being Kiklop for the best publicist writing in 2012 for the book In the footsteps of Odysseus and Marin Držić for the drama On Cabbage and Gods in 2010.

He has also given hundreds of lectures on his travels and books in several countries (even in Paris!), and his books, the publisher says, are selling well. By profession, at least in his soul – he is a nomad.