Simone de Beauvoir’s meetings with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba

October 20th, 2009

Simone de Beauvoir, modernité et engagement, Simone de Beauvoir, modern and committed Claudine Monteil, Ed L’Harmattan ISBN 978-2-296-10025-1

I report on the trip Beauvoir and Sartre made to Cuba in and their discussions with Castro and Che Guevara, and analyze their way of looking for a third way of governing between Communism and capitalism.

In this regard, I again had the opportunity to consult the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign and European affairs (equivalent of the State Department in the USA) . I quote the detailed report of the French ambassador in Cuba in March 1960 on statements of Beauvoir and Sartre about their opinions regarding Cuba, and on the comments of Castro and Guevara about Beauvoir and Sartre. It differs from Beauvoir’s recollections in her Memoirs where she was so enthousiastic about their meetings with Castro. According to the French ambassador, Castro and Che Guevara consider Sartre too patronizing and giving too many advices when he actually had never participated in a revolution.

It is important to remember that at the same time the French government was very concerned about Beauvoir and Sartre’s activism supporting Algerian independence. I also analyze the evolution of Beauvoir’s judgement on Castro and Cuba, and her influence on Cuba’s reputation abroad, something that was probably underestimated by Castro himself. Beauvoir was in the end very critical of Castro.


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